Rite of Passage: One Father's Gift of a Lifetime to His 7-Year-Olds
The author with his son Dylan: creating a family tradition and building a legacy with a special father-son time. (Photo: Mike Allsop)
Adventure is part of my life. I’ve traveled all over the world and encountered things few people have ever seen. I survived an “unsurvivable” plane crash in the Pacific early in my flying career. These days I am a father of three and a captain for Air New Zealand. But I am still, forever, an adventurer — and I like pushing myself to my limits.
The most extraordinary adventure of all, however, was climbing Everest. That was more than seven years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday: the final ridge before the summit, the highest point on planet Earth, and the most difficult part of my journey, looming before me. I had seen this ridge many times, immortalized in photographs, and I always wondered what it would be like to actually set foot on it. I came to Hillary Step, a steep section of rock and ice, and knew I would be at the summit soon.
In hindsight, the thought was premature.
Everest this way. A signpost on the hiking route. (Photo: Thinkstock)
I became weary, exhausted from the climb. I collapsed. I was confused and scared, but my loyal Sherpa, Lakpa, knew why: I had depleted my life-giving supply of bottled oxygen. Gratefully, my dear friend quickly changed my bottle and ultimately saved my life. If it weren’t for him, I might still be on that mountain today.
I stood on the summit of Mount Everest at 8:45 a.m. on May 24, 2007, for 15 minutes. From that moment on, my life was changed forever.
You never forget standing atop the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest. (Photo: Thinkstock)