Their Maine inspiration was at home


It’s been nearly 53 years since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa, made the first ascent of 29,035-foot Mount Everest.

In the intervening years, more than 2,000 others have stepped foot on the highest place on Earth. Lest you think it’s an easy climb, bear in mind that nearly 200 people have also died on Everest – six so far this season alone.

Now we can add the name of John Bagnulo to the list of successful summiters. And put Bill Yeo’s name next to it, with an asterisk if you’d like.

Bagnulo, of New Vineyard, celebrated his 36th birthday on the summit of Mount Everest last week.

Yeo, 40, of Durham, got to within a couple of thousand vertical feet of the peak before being forced to turn back by a potentially deadly health problem. Hat’s off to him for listening to his body and being able to return home to climb another day.

Both men deserve recognition for their accomplishments.

Moreover, give some credit to their folks.

In Yeo’s case, it was his mother who would pack up the kids and haul them along on hikes, climbing many of New England’s mountains and inspiring Yeo to continue the practice.

This week, Bagnulo cited his father for instilling in him the desire to climb the world’s highest mountains.

He was merely a lad, he recalled in an interview, when his father would lead him up nearby and sometimes distant peaks. Somewhere along the way he fashioned a climbing harness for his son, and helped him learn how to use to scale or rappel from cliffs while ascending ever more difficult mountain routes.

Sometimes we find our inspiration in a good book. Sometimes, it’s from a teacher.

In the case of Maine mountaineers John Bagnulo and Bill Yeo – two of the world’s best climbers – the inspiration came from their parents.

And that inspiration has given John Bagnulo and Bill Yeo a lifetime of memories of adventures about being in places most of us only dream of visiting.

Thanks, guys, for sharing the trip with us.