Calgary's John Oldring is the Second-Oldest Canadian to Summit Mount Everest

He reached the summit in May of 2017 at the age of 64.



 

photograph courtesy of john oldring

Last May, Calgarian John Oldring (below and right) became the second-oldest Canadian to summit Mount Everest. 

 

The one piece of advice that Laurie Skreslet, the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest, offered Calgarian John Oldring before he attempted his own Everest climb in 2015 was, “get through the Khumbu Icefall as quickly as you can.”

The Khumbu Icefall is considered the most dangerous part of the Everest climb due to constantly shifting routes, falling ice and unexpected crevasses. As it turned out, when Oldring, a managing director at BMO Nesbitt Burns, and his expedition of seven others were on the icefall, a massive earthquake shook the area, exponentially increasing its danger, which resulted in the group having to return to base camp. “I think they had already written our obituaries when we walked into camp,” says Oldring. 

Despite that experience, Oldring was undeterred. Though about half of his original group decided against it, he chose to attempt the climb again, finally reaching the summit in May of 2017 at the age of 64, which made him the second-oldest Canadian to have done so. “It’s pretty neat to stand at the tallest spot on earth and look out to see the curvature of the world,” says Oldring.

At the time of the climb, Oldring didn’t know he’d be one of the oldest Canadians to summit Everest. It was only after he returned home and saw the news coverage that he learned of his new title. 

A long-time lover of mountain views and the outdoors, Oldring began seriously climbing in his late 40s after a friend convinced him to give it a try. He says he only considers his age when he’s training, as he never wants to hold the group up. “I always know that I’m probably going to be the oldest climber on the team,” he says. “My theory is you train harder, you train smarter and you try to climb smarter.”

For Everest, Oldring trained more than 30 hours a week for about six months. Part of his regimen was climbing Ha Ling Peak near Canmore every weekend carrying added weight — sometimes three times per weekend and frequently twice in one day. “It’s mentally, physically and emotionally challenging,” says Oldring. “I can say that I reached the point where I don’t ever want to go up Ha Ling again.”

After seven weeks spent tackling Everest, Oldring says he couldn’t wait to get home to his bed, a warm shower and a glass of red wine. However, as happy as he is to be home and recovering, he hasn’t ruled out a third run at Everest, and he knows he’ll be looking for his next challenge soon enough. “You know, it’s funny,” he says. “After you’ve been down for a little while you can’t wait to find another mountain again.”

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JOHN OLDRING

John Oldring (left) with climbing partner Damian Benegas at the summit of Everest.

This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Avenue Calgary. Subscribe here. 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Inside The Commons, the Chandelier-Filled Co-Working Office in Ramsay

A sister-and-brother team grew this office into a sophisticated space for co-working, meetings and events.

The 15-Year-Old Archer from Cochrane With an Incredible Story

Warren Collins has become an elite-level archery competitor in under three years, winning silver at last summer’s North American Indigenous Games.

Calgary Artist Nicole Wolf Captures Year-Long Trip in Her New Book Drawn Abroad

Over the course of her journey, she backpacked across 16 countries, volunteering with various non-profits. She helped those affected by Nepal’s earthquake, witnessed the attempted coup in Turkey and worked in refugee aid centres and refugee camps in Turkey and Greece.