Friday, June 2, 2006

More on Mt. Everest

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

I had an interesting feedback on my article last week on Mt. Everest from Rock Olofernes (, who seems to be an expert on mountaineering.

“I am Rock M. Olofernes. I was a freelance and disillusioned mountaineer in the early ’90s. At present, I am a program director of New Hope Recovery, an institution that treats alcoholism and drug addiction in Cebu City.

“I agree with you when you wrote that climbing Mt. Everest should not be commercialized and is no big deal. A decade ago, many of us were dying to climb Mt. Everest but it would cost each climber P400,000 to P500,000 for the Sherpa guide alone, excluding supplies, plane tickets and gizmos.

“If they want to commercialize mountaineering, they should consider my advice. First, they should scale Mt. K2 (Karakorum) ‘The Savage Mountain’ in Pakistan. It is the second tallest mountain in the world (28,250 feet) and the third deadliest mountain. Compared to Mt. Everest, where almost 2,000 climbers have reached its summit, K2 has less than 200 climbers who reached its summit with a 23 percent fatality rate. It was first climbed by Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli on July 31, 1954.

“Second, in order to have more thrills, they should climb Mt. Annapurna. It is the tenth tallest mountain in the world (26,545 feet) but it is the second deadliest mountain. Mt. Annapurna was climbed first by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal on June 3, 1950. Lachenal lost all his toes because of frostbite, while Herzog lost all his fingers and toes.

“Third, and the most exciting of them all, is that they should climb Mt. Nanga Parbat, ‘The Man Eater’ or ‘The Mountain of the Devil.’ It is the ninth tallest mountain in the world but the most difficult to scale and the deadliest mountain to climb. Mt. Nanga Parbat is in Pakistan and was first scaled by Hermann Buhl of Austria on July 3, 1953.”

I agree with Rock that the challenge is in these mountains not Everest anymore.

Now back to chess.

MAY CHAMPION. Jongjong Melendrez defeated veteran Felix Balbona in the fifth and final round to score a rare five-straight win run to snare the monthly handicapping tournament of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association at Stella Maris last weekend.

Percival Fiel prevailed over Maggi Dionson to garner second place with four points. While new member Manny Abucay also had the same score with a fine performance against Mike Banebane but had to settle for third spot via the winner-over-the-other rule.

Just as we were celebrating at Handuraw Cafe in Mabolo over our fine wins over Ecuador, 3-1, and Iceland, 3.5-0.5, we were devastated by the news that we were almost whitewashed by China, 3.5-0.5, in the eighth round. I can’t recall a worst defeat before.

Apparently, the Chinese prepared for us. The last time we won, 2.5-1.5. We made a comeback in round nine with a draw against favored Romania and thrashed Malaysia, 3.5-0.5, in round 10.

It is e-mail this columnist looks forward to:

“Thanks to your Chessmoso. I have really enjoyed reading your column for quite sometime. I am a Filipino from Oroquieta City now residing in Florida, USA. I’ve been playing since I was a kid. I am not really good. I play only for relaxation. When I chance upon your column in the Internet, it revived my interest in chess again. You are very good and knowledgeable on chess. Chessmoso is worthy of great chess literature. Carry on, Frank. I am proud of you as a Filipino.

“Arturo V. Ello ( Jacksonville, Florida.”

Thanks Art.

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