KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — Like the Marvel Comics character ‘Daredevil’, James Lee is a man without fear.
He has lofty ambitions. He is always geared towards reaching for the skies. In reality, that’s an understatement.
The man has scaled 56 mountains to date, including Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Rinjani in Indonesia, apart from climbing Mount Kinabalu for a total of 16 times.
Lee now wants to conquer Mount Everest in the Himalayas, which at 29,000 feet high is the world’s highest mountain.
This intrepid mountaineer is 68 years of age!
To Lee, age is just a number and scaling mountains is like life, full of challenges and risks.
Lee will begin his quest on March 30, together with two other climbers, Sherine Leong, 40, and Desmond Lee, 56, on the expedition which is expected to end in early May.
All three are members of the Lions Clubs International District 308B1 Malaysia and will embark on their Mount Everest Expedition (MEE) sponsored by the Archipelago Life Insurance Ltd and VKA Financial Group, a financial planning firm.
“Everything that we do daily has its challenges and risks. Climbing a mountain is not a race, but it must be done in stages and with caution.
“Age is no obstacle for challenging oneself to succeed, but it is all up to one’s determination and discipline to prove one’s capabilities.
“Climbing Mount Everest demands a lot of discipline, determination and continuous training,” Lee, who first started climbing mountains in 1990 at 42 years of age, told a press conference on the expedition here today. Despite his experience in climbing mountains, he and his co-climbers put in a lot of work preparing themselves for the quest, training daily at the gymnasium, swimming and running between five to 20km each day.
Lee said physical training was crucial to prepare oneself for the climb which would take more than two months to reach the peak.
“We have to make sure our body is resilient. My previous experience in mountain climbing has helped me prepare for this.”
On her part, Leong has climbed Mount Annapurna in Nepal in April 2015, as well as several mountains in Malaysia, while Desmond scaled Mount Kinabalu in 2000. — Bernama
(From left) Krishnan, Lim, Lee with Lions Club ambassadors Sherine Leong and Desmond Tee who will be joining Lee on the journey to the base camp.
AGE is nothing but a number for Lions Club of Bahau member James C.M. Lee, 68, as he makes his first attempt to scale the incredible peak of Mount Everest.
The trek to the summit will take 70 days.
Scaling Everest has been his dream for many years, and he has been training for this expedition since the 1990s.
Lee has climbed up Indonesia’s Mount Rinjani, Japan’s Mount Fuji and Nepal’s Mount Ama Dablam.
He has also scaled Mount Kinabalu 16 times.
His mission to climb Everest comes with a purpose – to raise awareness on the issue of climate change.
The expedition begins on March 31 and it is part of Lions Clubs International District 308 B1 Malaysia’s answer to the Lions Club International Centennial Service Challenge, said District governor Datuk Dr L. Krishnan.
Krishnan said the club wanted an event to bring an impact to Malaysia and its people in terms of environmental awareness – in this case, climbing the impossible peak, which is also part of the Lions Club centennial challenge.
“After helping flood victims last year, we realised the problem was climate change caused by land reclamation, tree felling and open burning, all of which displaces balance in the environment, where environmentalists believe the effects will be irreversible if nothing is done within the next 10 years.”
At 68, Lee will make the record as the oldest man in South-East Asia to climb the temperamental mountain.
“Life is an adventure and for me, reaching the top of this mountain has been a passion and I am determined to achieve this,” said Lee.
He has had to undergo a sequence of training every day, from running or jogging for at least 20km and changing his diet.
It will take Lee 60 days to slowly acclimatise to the high altitude.
“After 5,000m, it becomes the ‘no life zone’, and once you reach 7,000m and above, it is called the ‘dead man zone’, where the body cells start to die.
“So, you literally have two to four days to reach the peak and descend or you will see a very different person,” he said.
For the Lions Mount Everest Expedition 2016 organising chairman Datuk Paduka Javern Lim, he was convinced Lee was the man for the job.
“Out of 1.4 million Lions members worldwide, Lee is the first and only member to take up the challenge.
“Two Lions ambassadors will be following him on his journey to the Mount Everest base camp, which will take seven days to reach and along the way, they will provide updates with photos which will be posted on the expedition blog,” said Lim.
He said the cost for the trip amounted to US$85,000 (RM348,000) and in just two months, they managed to gather contributions that covered up to 80% of the cost, but they still required the remaining 20%.