Orange County Register,
The (Santa Ana, CA)
|Story appeared in Sports section
on page Venture
Climber looking for more
January 18, 2005
And for his next trick, skydiving at the North
James Clarke, the Costa Mesa climber who turned 41 at
the South Pole last month, has been back from Antarctica for a
few weeks now, having achieved mountaineering's greatest feat
-- climbing the Seven Summits.
Even as he closed in on this accomplishment, completed
just before Christmas with the summit of Vinson Massif,
friends would repeatedly ask, "What next?"
He deliberately put off answering the question until
his Seven Summits goal was reached. It took him
seven years, but now Clarke can start contemplating
"I want to definitely keep a physical challenge as a
component of my life," he said. "I want to maintain that
"I've really come to appreciate having a challenge in
the physical or natural world. So I want to find another one."
A skydiver, Clarke is looking into the potential of
taking his hobby to the North Pole.
He probably has finished with the high-elevation
climbing, though if an expedition to K2 came up, he would
consider it. K2 is the second-tallest mountain at 28,251 feet
and a tougher climb than Mount Everest.
Otherwise, Clarke plans to shift to more technical
climbing. For now, he said he is "not in any hurry to run off
on a long journey."
In climbing the 16,027-foot Vinson Massif, Clarke
encountered brutal conditions.
"It was very cloudy, near whiteout," he wrote in his
post-climb dispatch. "We couldn't see more than 50 yards. The
winds subsided somewhat and it became rather quiet, almost
surreal. I remembered one by one the summits of the
After 15 minutes, his expedition started down.
Clarke said it was "not that big a deal" that they
didn't have a great view. The climb wasn't about the scenery
but the achievement.
"I feel so thankful," he said. "So many people have
given me wishes of good will. It's been something I did for
myself, but I was still able to share with others. You can't
ask for anything other than that."
A cry for help: Christian Rodriguez, who has donated
many hours helping on 976-Tuna Youth Fishing Program charters,
More than a month ago, Rodriguez underwent surgery in
his native Costa Rica to remove a brain tumor.
He can't work, so there is no income for his wife and
3-year-old daughter, or funds to pay for treatment.
A dinner/silent auction/ raffle to benefit The
Christian Rodriguez Fund is Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Knights
of Columbus Hall in Redondo Beach. Adults are $25, kids under
12 $15. A $2,000 cruise for two is the grand prize. Call (310)
328-8426 for reservations. Donations can be sent to The
Christian Rodriguez Fund at P.O. Box 2825, Torrance, CA 90509.
Mountain roads reopen: Highways 330 and 18 through
Running Springs to Big Bear Lake reopened Sunday.
They had been closed because of weather-related
mudslides and road damage.
(714) 796-7809 or firstname.lastname@example.org