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In Loving Memory
Craig, Age 12, Easton, CT

The freezing, snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas filled all of my peripheral vision. But, what I am focused on is much more than any old summit, although I should probably start from the beginning of my epic adventure. I’m fourteen years old and my name is Richard O’Conner (my friends call me Dick) and I recently took a plane to the border of Nepal and Tibet. My goal is to be the youngest person to ever climb the monstrosity of a mountain known as Mt. Everest.

The date was January thirtieth, two thousand and two. I had prepared to climb by myself. Although it would get very difficult to be alone for such a long period of time, it wouldn’t be as impressive of a feat if I was in a group. I reached the foot of the famous hill and almost left, but it was too late, I had come too far to quit.

I had already been through rigorous training to prepare for the climb. The higher I would climb, the harder it would be to breathe. Luckily, I had a personal trainer who allowed me to go to testing facilities and work in low oxygen rooms to improve my durability. These tests are very important so that I would not run out of breath, and we all know what that would mean.

“Swoosh,” went the swing of my pickaxe at the coarse outer layer of the white tipped giant. I started to slowly, but surely, ease my way up the side.

“KKKKKKKSSSSSSSSHHHHHHH!” The rock crumbled under my heavily padded foot. Even though I was at a mere twenty feet, the fall would have surely broken my legs, maybe even given me a compound fracture, either way, I would never climb again!

Suddenly, out of instinct, I grabbed a nearby bush, pulled myself up, and continued the twenty thousand, thirty foot hike. I stopped every 100 feet or so to rest, the high elevation and steep pathway were very tiring. If I wasn’t so young, I would have had to stop much more frequently.

As the days went on, the hikes became colder, the breathing became harder, and the time became shorter. It became a struggle to even make it through the days without falling asleep, permanently!

After nearly five months, I had done it! The freezing, snow capped mountains of the Himalayas filled my peripheral vision. But, what I am focused on is much more than any old summit. It is the peak of Mt. Everest.

Then suddenly, it was unusually cold, I couldn’t move, and I fell. I was left for the animals to fight over my fourteen year old, ever-sleeping, body.

The preceding text was a biography of a brave Richard (Dick) Lawrence O’Conner in first person. Although he perished, he was and still is the youngest person to ever climb Mt. Everest. Dick, you are in our hearts and in our minds.

In Loving Memory of Richard Lawrence O’Conner
The Youngest to Climb Mt. Everest
(1988-2002)
R.I.P

 
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