That is because Jeff Mathy did not have to dream or plan for long to get here. He is 23, far closer to his Boy Scout years in Fullerton, Calif., than his golden years. In fact, Mathy is well on his way to becoming the youngest person to reach the seven summits, the highest mountains on each continent, of which he has climbed five. It is an adventure now financed by an American corporation to the tune of about $150,000.
In Mathy's own expedition is the 71-year-old Al Hanna, trying to become the oldest man to climb the 29,029-foot Everest and complete the seven summits. This is his fifth attempt at reaching the top of Everest, which is located on the border of Nepal and Tibet. "What an incredible guy," Mathy said.
The idea was born on the top of Mount McKinley in Alaska, 20,320 feet above sea level, previously Mathy's most ambitious climb. That is when he decided to try for the seven summits. His goal was to eclipse Joby Ogwyn, a native of Shreveport, La., who was 26 years 107 days old when he finished the feat in December 2000. Mathy had been raising money since he graduated from college to finance what had been a hobby, but he knew if he was going to try to reach all seven as the youngest ever, he would have to train full time and either win a lottery or find a sponsor.
A tea company made sense because that is what mountain climbers drink, believing it keeps them better hydrated than water. Sherpas, the Himalayan natives who live at these extreme altitudes, drink it almost exclusively. But no one knows why.
Lipton seized the opportunity, setting up a team to study hydration on Everest a crew has been studying about 30 people, including Sherpas, at base camp and hoping to use Mathy to refreshen its image. "In the U.S., tea is thought of as an old-fashioned drink," said Jennifer Aspen, Lipton's program director for tea and health, who is coordinating the study. "Jeff is a young, vigorous guy who drinks Lipton tea to stay hydrated."
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/05/sport ... r=MOREOVER
Considering this climb was promoting Lipton Ice Tea, this has to be an embarrassing way for the expedition to end. It's interesting they say it was ice tea and not lemonade that caused problem.
Mathy had been trying to reach the top of his fifth mountain the highest of them at 29,029 feet on his way to being the youngest to climb the tallest summits on all seven continents. At 23, he had everything going for him: youth, strength, determination and a sponsorship from Lipton that paid for the whole thing.
But on a day when his climbing team, 11 Americans and eight Sherpa guides, was resting low on the mountain, Mathy drank some lemonade made with unpurified water. By the next day, his expedition was over.
Without Mathy, who stayed at base camp desperately trying to recover, most of the rest of his team, an expedition guided by a company called Alpine Ascents, succeeded with their summit try on May 24.
They have all since returned safely. Mathy is recuperating at his parents' house in Fullerton, Calif.
The only other climber on Mathy's team who didn't make it to the top was 71-year-old Al Hanna, who was making his fourth attempt at becoming the oldest to reach the summit of Everest and to complete the Seven Summits.
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/09/sport ... r=MOREOVER