2018-06-13 / Sports

Part I: A voyage to the top of the world

BY KELLY SNOW
COURIER-TIMES SPORTS EDITOR


Person County native Robin Moore took to mountaineering and has climbed six of the Seven Summits, the highest peaks in each continent. She reached the top of Mount Everest last month. 
SUBMITTED Person County native Robin Moore took to mountaineering and has climbed six of the Seven Summits, the highest peaks in each continent. She reached the top of Mount Everest last month. SUBMITTED This is the first in a multi-part series detailing the story of Dr. Robin Moore’s voyage to Mount Everest and climb to the summit of the world’s highest peak. This story is the prelude to her first effort to reach the peak of Mount Everest.

It was a brutally cold, windy morning, just before 6 a.m. Nepal time, roughly 8,000 miles away from her hometown of Roxboro, North Carolina and the culmination of more than a month of climbing and four years worth of effort were about to reach its peak.

Person County native Dr. Robin Moore and her team of climbers and guides were standing on top of the world at the summit of Mount Everest.

Moore’s journey to highest peak in the world, nearly five and a half miles above sea level, didn’t just begin to take shape when she stepped off the plane in Nepal. Her adventurous spirit has roots in her Person County upbringing and has taken her all over the world.

THE START OF THE DREAM

Conquering mountains wasn’t something that Moore did as a child growing up on Flat River Church Road. She did a lot of horseback riding, cheerleading and dancing and was an outstanding student — good enough to get her bachelors from UNCChapel Hill before medical school at East Carolina.

But it was a trip to Spain as a 16-year old exchange student that put her on her globe-trotting path.

“I immediately got the travel bug and knew that I wanted to travel the world and see different countries,” Moore said.

She eventually settled into a career as a doctor specializing in emergency medicine and was drawn to the warm weather and beaches of Miami, but she was still determined to see the world.


Robin Moore trains extensively year-round. She competes in Ironman Triathlon events that include long distance swimming, running and biking. In the final weeks before going on a mountain climb, she adds stairs to her training regime. She climbs 25 flights of stairs carrying a 50-pound bag. 
SUBMITTED Robin Moore trains extensively year-round. She competes in Ironman Triathlon events that include long distance swimming, running and biking. In the final weeks before going on a mountain climb, she adds stairs to her training regime. She climbs 25 flights of stairs carrying a 50-pound bag. SUBMITTED Moore was plenty adventurous, often going paragliding, hang gliding and skydiving, but four years ago her thrill-seeking spirit, desire to see the world and physical fitness pursuits intersected at mountain climbing.

The first goal was to take on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania — an ambitious undertaking for a rookie mountaineer.

Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa at a little more than 16,000 feet above sea level, but Moore made it to the peak.

And her love for mountaineering was born.

“I climbed that mountain with no intentions of ever climbing another one,” Moore said. “I just wanted to try something fitness-related in another country. I fell in love with it and was completely addicted to the teamwork, the camaraderie, and the goal setting of reaching the summit.”

The night she made it down from Kilimanjaro, Moore made her travel plans for her next mountain climbing adventure. Three months later, she reached Everest Base Camp, 17,000 feet above sea level, but still more than two miles away from the world’s highest peak.

Moore was still a relatively inexperienced mountaineer, but what she saw at base camp set into motion a new goal.

“You could see people who were trying to climb (Everest) all the way to the summit and it just seemed like such an extreme goal and there was no way I could do that. Or could I?,” Moore said. “What would I need to accomplish that? It was a dream. I could tell it was underneath my skin that I was just going to have to do it. I just had to push for it. I always knew that was the goal.”

EITHER WORKING OR TRAINING

Moore is a successful doctor working at a couple of hospitals in Miami — but the flatlands South Florida isn’t exactly conducive to training for climbing the world’s largest mountains.

Her plan of attack was to be in the best physical shape possible.

On days off from the hospital, she would workout several hours in the morning, maybe some running or weight training in the afternoon and more running in the evening. When Moore had to work a 12-hour round that she said routinely turned into 14 or 16, she would leave directly from work and head immediately to the gym.

She said that training to climb mountains, as well as her other fitness pursuits such as marathons or triathlons, require that she never stops trainings. That year-round effort makes those triathlons that include 26-mile runs, 11-mile bike rides and 2.4-mile swims possible — and prepares her to tackle mountains.

“Most of the people who climb mountains live in places like Colorado where there are these gigantic mountains and just climb every weekend,” Moore said. “I don’t have that option so I have to find other endurance sports to keep myself ready.”

During the final few weeks of training before going on a climb, she adds another layer to her training — the stairs.

She lives in a high-rise overlooking the beach in Miami and uses what she has at her disposal to prepare herself for the 8-12 hours of solid climbing when she gets to the mountain.

Moore climbs up the 25 flights of stairs with a 50-pound 10 times in a session as many as three times of week during the last month of preparation. Those combined 250 flights of stairs takes approximately two hours because she has to take the steps at a slower pace because of the weight of the bag.

‘THAT GIGANTIC GOAL’

When Moore made her first trip to Everest Base Camp the goal was in fresh in her mind — get to summit.

From that point on, she prepared for that climb by tackling several other mountains throughout the world.

Her adventures took her to Kalapathar in Nepal, Mount Rainer in Washington state, Gran Paridiso and Monte Rosa in the European Alps. She twice climbed to the top of Aconcagua in Argentina, Mount Elbrus in Russia, Denali in Alaska and even Mount Vinson in Antarctica.

In her preparation to reach the top of the world, Moore climbed the largest mountains in five continents.

“(Everest) was that gigantic goal that was out there. I set the next four years (after climbing Kilimanjaro) to reach that goal,” Moore said. “I climbed smaller mountains that got bigger and bigger and more technical each time and trained throughout the whole time to get to Everest.”

Moore’s family back home had grown accustomed to her thrill-seeking pursuits but her mother made one request — don’t climb Everest.

“I couldn’t promise her that because in the back of my head, it was already a dream,” Moore said. “She wasn’t very happy, but of course, she’s going to eventually support me. My family will always support me.”

She said that her mother couldn’t watch the videos posted on Facebook during her 2017 and 2018 climbs on Everest because she was too frightened for her daughter — but many people followed along on her voyage, including friends and family from Roxboro.

EVEREST FACTS

— Based on 1954 ground measurements, Mount Everest stands at 29,029 feet, but when a satellite measured the height in 1999, it found that it was 6-feet taller. There are no grounds to prove the satellite’s measurement is accurate.

— Everest grows 4mm higher every year due to geological uplift

— The mountain is named after Surveyor General George Everest. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1827 and knighted in 1861. The world’s highest peak, which had been called Peak XV, was renamed in his honor in 1865.

— More than 4,000 people have attempted to climb Everest

— Natives of Tibet call Mount Everest “Chomolungma” meaning “Mountains Mother Goddess” and natives of Nepal call it “Sagarmatha”, which translates into “Sky’s Forehead”

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