NEWSLETTERS - Everest Spring 2010

Newsletter 18 Jo Drnek Interview28 April 2010

Interview with Jo Drnek

Those, who know Jo Drnek, might have wondered why his profile had not been put up on the website so far. For some bizarre reason, Jo and I did not meet in Kathmandu and as I only got the chance to interview him here at Everest base camp it took quite a while for us to put up his profile. I would like to apologise for the delay, especially to those who have been waiting for Jo’s turn on the Himex Website.

Jo is a retired builder from the United States and is married with four children. The 65-year-old has a stepdaughter (38), a son (30), a daughter (28) and an adopted son (23). It is his first time in Asia and the highest mountain he has climbed so far is Aconcagua in Argentina.

How did you first come across Everest and who inspired you to climb it?

I am old enough to remember when Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first summitted Mount Everest, which really had an impact on me. I have spent a lot of time in the mountains since I was a kid, I was three months in Alaska on my own and I crossed the Sierra Nevada on my own. I guess, I feel most alive when I am in the mountains and when I noticed that I actually had the financial means to climb Mount Everest, I went ahead and signed up with Russell Brice.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

My wife and my family.

How well are you mentally prepared for not making it to the summit?

I don’t think I would have problem if I don’t make it, but I cannot really answer that.

How do you think Everest will change your life?

I don’t think Everest will change my life. There are many people out there who don’t understand how I could possibly spend so much money on an Everest expedition. Maybe these people will look at me differently when I come back. However, climbing Everest is something I am doing for myself and that’s what counts.

What will you carry to the summit?

A few years ago, I found a flag of the Boy Scouts, which I carried to the summit of Mount Whitney in the United States in 1958. I will take this flag to the summit and a copy of the “Beach Reporter”, our local newspaper. The paper has a column called ‘People on Vacation’ and they feature people holding the newspaper somewhere on their holidays. I thought that would be quite fun. And then, of course, I will carry a picture of my family.