The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Prayer in thin air

Climber returns to summit of Everest after fall

Mike Gibbons has had plenty of tough times during his ascents on the world's highest mountains, but few were as rough as his trek up Mount Everest. Feeling banged up and exhausted at an altitude of 22,000 feet, the experienced climber wasn't sure he could continue and asked God for guidance. Less than an hour later he fell into a crevasse and thought he broke his arm.

What might seem to some like God saying it was time to give up, Gibbons took as a sign to keep going. Twenty days later he was on top of the world — 29,000 feet.

Gibbons, a member of Messiah Lutheran Church, Yorba Linda, Calif., has been climbing most of his life, including guiding ELCA Pacifica Synod Bishop Murray Finck to the top of Mount Whitney. But it wasn't until the mid-1990s when he took it to the next level.

Mike Gibbons began an expedition to
Mike Gibbons began an expedition to climb Mount Everest in Nepal on March 23. Despite a fall, he completed his trek on May 24.

"I sold a company in 1993, so I had enough money to go beyond climbing in the Sierras and the Rockies," Gibbons said. "I went to the Andes, and then I started meeting other climbers. Someone said, 'Come with us to climb Kilimanjaro.' Then it was just one mountain after another."

Finally, Gibbons and a team headed to Everest. The excursion takes many weeks.

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