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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Born to climb

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Paul Sinclair and his wife DeeAnne are outdoor enthusiasts. Which explains why this week they are embarking on an adventure of a lifetime – trekking Mount Everest.

“We are always on some trail discovering,” said artist and photographer Paul Sinclair, 61.

His interest in climbing came through an unexpected way. After finishing his undergrad education at Anderson University he moved to Indianapolis in 1975. At the time he was an artist and tennis coach, but he siad no one would hire him as a coach in the state of Indiana because he was Black.

“So I found a job in Maine teaching tennis. There I would go across to Canada. I started noticing how much wilderness was in Canada. The more I saw the more I liked. Then we started camping and trekking glaciers,” he said.

Trek is a long, adventurous journey undertaken on foot. Hiking is an outdoor activity, which consists of natural environments often in mountainous or other scenic terrain.

According to Sinclair, going on a glacier is a completely different environment and experience.

“We got a chance to start discovering God’s creation,” he said. “As you start to discover what God created, you just want to see more. From there we went to Canada to Alaska and I had the chance to photograph mountains, and walk on a few glaciers and it just became habitual.”

As a couple they’ve climbed the Canadian Rockies comprised of the North American Rocky Mountains range. Located at the eastern part of the Canadian Cordillera, extending from the Interior Plains of Alberta to the Rocky Mountain Trench of British Columbia. The elevation is 12,972 feet.

Mount Everest is the Earth’s highest mountain, with a peak of 8,842 meters above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangar section of the Himalayas. Elevation is 29,029 feet.

The escapade came about through the Geology Department at Ball State University. The university invited the alumna to explore the mountain with other students and professors.

“My husband and I looked at each other and said, ‘yes we will do it,’” said DeeAnne Sinclair, 54. “We have no intention of slowing down.”

They left for their voyage Feb. 28 and will return March 17.

To help their agility and strength, the couple had to prepare through exercising their upper and lower body. This training helped prepare their cardiovascular system as well.

According to DeeAnne Sinclair, they can’t prevent acute mountain sickness caused by climbing at high altitudes and the body not properly adjusting. But they can prepare their bodies to become stronger.

Her training took a year while her husband’s was three months. Not only do they have the potential to get sick, but they also have to avoid who lives in the mountains as well – specifically wildlife. Grizzly bears, lynxes and cougars are some of the carnivorous animals on the trail.

“I have to admit I’m a little nervous, because I don’t know what to expect. You hope you don’t get sick or anything like that. But I’m mostly excited to see what happens,” she said.

The Sinclairs have been married 26 years. They’ve been hiking, camping, trekking and touring since they were married.

“We’ve always done this together. We are each other’s best friend. As a Christian, my feelings are I have the opportunity to see the world God created. That’s a valuable thing,” Paul Sinclair said. “This is just our next big adventure. We are going to accept it, appreciate it and value it for what it is.”

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