MONTREAL, MARCH 22, 2011 – World renowned adventurer Manuel Pizarro, the first Canadian to have reached the summit of Mount Everest solo and also the first Quebecer to have accomplished that feat twice recently shared his story with the students of John F. Kennedy High School in St. Michel.
Organized by Principal Joseph Marra and Natalie Cloutier, Pizarro spoke of his literally death-defying trek up Mount Everest. On his summit bid, Pizarro spent a total of 24 hours without food, equipment or oxygen. What will certainly be a story to tell the grandchildren, his brief time at the summit was also highlighted by a marriage proposal to his fiancé.
With remarkable candor and alacrity, Pizarro kept his audience spellbound with his accounts of his early life and how he found his passion for mountain climbing. His presentation brought the Secondary V students laughter, inspiration and valuable insights into life. He relayed his personal difficulties, breakthroughs and accomplishments during his school years and then recounted his intense years as an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
A native of Chile who immigrated to Canada in 1973, Pizarro joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets as a young man and quickly became an outdoor enthusiast. He began climbing mountains in 1985 at Mount Washington and has since led expeditionary teams to many of the world's tallest mountains, including Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, Mount McKinley in Alaska, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and several high-altitude treks in the Himalayas, including Surya and Kala Pattar in Nepal, and of course, Mount Everest.