REDMOND, Wash., March 18, 2002 — Modern technology can’t bring a mountain to the climber. It can’t keep a life-threatening monsoon from halting even the most prepared team. And it can’t supplant the thrill of reaching the summit.
But America’s leading high-altitude mountaineer, Ed Viesturs, has found a way for technology to help him reach a personal goal of climbing the 14 highest mountains in the world — each above 8,000 meters — without supplemental oxygen. Viesturs calls this quest Endeavor 8000. He has successfully climbed 12 of the 14 peaks to date and is on the way to being the first American to top all 14.
In April 2002, Viesturs and a multinational team of climbers will convene in Nepal to attempt No. 13, the 8,091-meter (26,545-foot) Himalayan massif Annapurna — notorious as the deadliest mountain in the world. 1 Team members are using Microsoft® Office XP and SharePoint™
technologies to organize and plan for the climb, and when they are thousands of miles away attempting the summit, technology will enable them to communicate with family and friends. They also will transmit audio and video dispatches home, enabling climbing fans around the world to experience their journey firsthand at http://www.annapurna2002.com/ .
A Transcontinental Meeting Place
Collaboration among climbing team members from four countries is made easy and instantaneous through use of a SharePoint Team Services Web site, hosted by VitalStream Inc., which serves as a central place for the team to communicate, share and store information. Using SharePoint Team Services technology, the team is less affected by differing time zones and the resulting costs and delays associated with international phone calls and faxing. The site can be accessed from any PC connected to the Internet and was customized with the FrontPage® 2002 Web site creation and management tool to fit the team’s specific needs and preferences. All the team’s important files and documents are stored on the site, which also serves as a place to hold discussions and conduct surveys to get feedback from team members on topics such as mountain cuisine and proposed routes, even the type and amount of rope to take along on the trip. The team is also storing its travel documents and climbing permits digitally so if they are lost they can be retrieved from any computer connected to the Internet.
“I never expected technology to have such an impact on the way I plan a climb,”
“I used to accept the fact that it took days to share a single document or idea between members of my team and that I would spend a fortune on long-distance bills while finalizing everything. But with Office XP and SharePoint, we can do it all online. Team members can log on no matter where they are so we are always in touch. This saves us all time and money.”
Overcoming Historical Barriers
Office XP has simplified many of the traditional tasks associated with planning an expedition and has reduced the need for pen and paper. For example, the team is using Excel 2002 to create a master gear list. This list can be imported directly into the team site, and team members can indicate which items they will be responsible for as well as any expenses incurred as they gather equipment for the climb. They also are using the
“Send for Review”
feature in Word 2002 for routing documents, lists and itineraries to collect team members’ comments and/or changes. Word then automatically merges those changes back into the original. Because they aren’t writing information by hand, the risk of misreading one another’s comments and making a mistake is diminished. And if multiple languages become a hurdle for the international team assembled from Spain, France, Finland and the United States, they can use the Office XP translation tools to ensure every instruction, update and question is clearly understood.
After the climb, Office XP will continue to play a role when Viesturs hits the road for speaking engagements. He will take advantage of the PowerPoint® presentation graphics program to create presentations about his experiences that go beyond images by incorporating sound, video and animations with stunning photography. These technologies have lightened his load, eliminating the need to travel with slide carousels and hundreds of 35mm slides.
Follow This Leader
Around the world, people can follow Viesturs and the team as they make their way up Annapurna by logging onto http://www.annapurna2002.com/ , a Web site created with FrontPage 2002. Fans can access audio and video dispatches, as well as photos from the expedition that will be updated regularly during the climb and published to the Web site using Producer for PowerPoint. The site also will serve as a place where the public can learn more about how the team is applying technology to stay connected halfway around the world.
About Ed Viesturs
Born in Rockford, Ill., Ed Viesturs moved to Seattle in 1977 to be among the mountains. After reaching the summit of Mount St. Helens, he realized he had found his calling. Holding a degree in veterinary science, he was forced to decide between being a veterinarian and being a climber. He chose the mountains. In his career, Viesturs has reached the summit of Mount Rainier 187 times and the summit of Mount Everest five times, as well as the summits of 12 of the highest peaks in the world. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.
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1 Ratio of number of deaths to number of successful ascents
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