TOLEDO, Ohio — Kris Brickman has a lot of passions in life, but climbing Mount Everest is something that has been on his mind for a while. In March, that dream became a reality.
"Since I was still physically in good shape and I felt that I could potentially condition myself to the point of realizing this dream that I had in the back of my head that someday maybe I could take a shot at pretending I'm a mountaineer," said Brickman. "All the stars kind of aligned that allowed me to do that."
So, he began training. It took almost two years of preparing his body for this grueling physical and mental test.
"You're literally functioning in an entirely different atmosphere and in a different world there," said Brickman. "You can't simulate that atmosphere at all in Ohio. It does take an extended amount of training and conditioning. The thing you can't really train for though that becomes a problem is the climatization because no matter what you try to do, you can't really simulate what it's like to be on Mount Everest here in Ohio."
For eight weeks, the challenge took its toll. There are no easy stops along the way. You’re sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag in the freezing cold for eight long weeks and there are certainly no amenities from home on Mount Everest.
"You don't have a bathroom to go to and yet you're drinking massive amounts of water and fluids to try to keep up with hydration," said Brickman. "You're not there for just a couple days like camping and you got a couple cold days. You're there for 50 and 60 days."
The diet consisted of carbs and the occasional vegetable. Brickman lost 22 pounds during the course of the trip.
"It was only at the end of the trip and I was back at Kathmandu that I looked at myself for the first time and I saw my arms were about half the size they were when I left," said Brickman. "It was pretty shocking."
Brickman’s love for Nepal stems from a mission trip following the devastating earthquakes. After that, the University of Toledo built an academic affiliation with Kathmandu University.
He’s returned multiple times per year to hold workshops and he’s helped develop emergency medicine in Nepal. During his journey, he helped fundraise for two organizations. Heart for Africa and Hope Rises which he created.
"I knew this was a one-time shot," said Brickman. "I just didn't want this opportunity to go by without trying to do something to give back to Nepal."
At the end of his trip, he saw how the devastation of COVID-19 was tearing the country apart and felt the need to help.
"They didn't have airway equipment. People were dying," said Brickman. "That's really where it kind of led me, at the end of the trip, I felt I would be better suited to help them out in Kathmandu and help out some of the hospitals. We purchased airway equipment to help supply their emergency departments and help train some of them on developing that."
Brickman actually detailed every step of his journey on his website Brickmanoneverest.com – you can also help donate directly through his website.
No, Brickman didn't make it to the top of Mount Everest. Not many people do, but he did have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and help out a ton of people in Nepal along the way.