This interview with Bill Burke is part of an ongoing series of interviews I do each season with Everest climbers. Not the famous, sponsored ones who get plenty of publicity but the regular people, who have full time jobs, full time families in many cases and climb for the love of climb. Please send me your suggestion for an interview. Now here’s Bill:
I have come to know and admire one Everest climber for several years now, Bill Burke. He epitomizes determination and optimism like few other climbers. Here are some stats: 69-years old, has been to Everest every year since 2007, summited from the South in 2009 at age 67, thwarted three times–once on the South and twice on the North–well you get the idea. Oh, and he is returning in 2012 at the ripe young age of 70 not for one summit but for TWO!
As if all this is not enough, in 2008, he rode, solo, round trip from Southern California to Banff Park, Canada on his Harley Davidson Road King Classic–a 37-day trip of over 6,200 miles.
Who is this wild man? Bill calls himself an “amateur mountaineer”. He started climbing, well how do I say this–let’s try “late in life”, after reaching age 60 and has now climbed the highest mountain on every continent making him the only person to climb the 7 Summits (8 if you include the Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea), after reaching age 60. The rock in his life is his wife Sharon, whom he has been married to for 49 years and the inspiration for his training is his grandson, Ollie. More on Ollie later.