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Calgary man first Canadian to climb Everest, swim English Channel

By Deborah Tetley, Montreal Gazette

2653 days ago   Article ID# 1019049
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Calgary HandiBus Association

MONTREAL, CANADA (Montreal Gazette) - Bill Borger made it to the top of the world and into the record books Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Calgarian summited Mount Everest under a clear blue sky and in intense wind, making him the first Canadian to conquer both the English Channel and the world's tallest peak, said his spokesman.

"We (the Sherpas and I) pushed through the wind to get to the summit and the second I got there I felt like I was going to be blown right off the ridge into Tibet," Borger said after reaching the peak, according to spokesman David Howse, in Calgary.

"Bill is tired, but he is strong, safe, lucid, and the first Canadian to swim the English Channel and Summit Mount Everest," said Howse, adding everyone at base camp was said to be "jumping up and down."

At press time, Howse was awaiting more details on the final leg of the climb, but he was having trouble with radio and satellite communication to Nepal.

"Bill's family is brilliantly excited and incredibly proud of him," Howse said, based on information he was receiving from a friend at base camp.

While the journey to the top of Everest has been quite an adventure for the chartered accountant and married father of two, it hasn't been easy.

Lack of oxygen has taken a toll on Borger's body, causing him to lose 27 pounds in just over a month, putting his weight at 160 pounds.

He also had to leave his climbing partner behind after he was struck by illness.

Borger did the climb with a Sherpa after his partner John Furneaux, a professional mountain guide from Squamish, B.C., had to turn back.

Furneaux would become the first Canadian to summit Everest three times, if he's able to summit.

Borger left for Nepal at the end of March and started his ascent of Everest earlier this week.

On Tuesday he started the trek from Camp 3 (7,350 metres) to Camp 4, which is a 450-metre elevation gain.

Borger, who swam the English Channel in 2000, was motivated to try to make it to the top of Everest for many reasons, not the least of which is raising money for charity.

The climb has helped to raise $376,800 for the Calgary HandiBus Association, which provides transportation for Calgarians with special needs, including the elderly, terminally ill and those with physical or mental disabilities.

To learn more about Borger's journey, visit his website at www.borgerpeakandpond.com.

Copyright 2018 Montreal Gazette   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 2653 days ago   Article ID# 1019049

Calgary HandiBus Association    Visit Website

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