Maybe I’m biased because I’ve always had a fear of heights, and because one of my best friends from college, Tom Rugo, died in an avalanche when he was climbing (and was way, way, way too young). But why try to kill yourself just because it’s there? I don’t get it.

And now, 60 years after the summit was first reached, the trek up Everest can be undertaken by anyone with lots of money and sturdy lungs. The trail has become a garbage dump (and a graveyard). Surely there are other thrills to be had on this planet without exploiting what should be left unsullied.

But I have to say, these photos are amazing.  

See for yourself at:


  1. I came across your reference to Tom Rugo in your article about Mt. Everest and just had to post this note. Maybe you will see it Karen. Tom and I attended high school together at James Madison in Vienna, Virginia in the 70s. We played football together, he was such a hard-nosed running back, and just enjoyed many good times with Tom. He was indeed one of the brightest, if not one of the nicest individuals I have ever known. It was quite a shock when we heard he had been killed in that avalance. As you say, he was way to young. The last time I remember seeing Tom he was in-between world travels with his younger brother and working on his doctorate at the University of Chicago. I have lost track of his family over the years, but thought I had heard that Tom’s younger brother Barry had met a similar fate not too many years after Tom’s untimely death.
    Thanks for helping me remember a dear friend from the past.

  2. I too knew the Rugo brothers From Madison HS. They were two of the brightest and toughest! I heard Tom lost his life climbing and was reminded of both him and Barry when watching the live feed from El Capitan this afternoon. I thought El Cap was where he lost his life and found this site through a search. I do know that Barry made it to the top of Everest many years ago. I saw him on a documentary. My daughter asked if climbing is a sport. I am sure of it. It’s the risk that I’m not sure of.

    • Hello Karen, Just on a flyer I goggled Tom Rugo. I was on the Madison HS Football Team with him. I went to Madison’s 40th in Oct 2012 and sadly learned he had died in an accident. I spoke with his fellow running back Don Stitt about it. I can still see Tom running through the line cradling the football in his arm. He had huge bi-ceps and legs like tree trunks. I remember his infectious smile. Contact me if you want to I would love to share some thoughts about Tom. Take care and God Bless, Chuck Schroeder

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *