Columbus adventurer Walter “Wally” Glover is happily enjoying his life outside the comfort zone.
“I prefer to operate in the learning zone because I like to push myself,” the 68-year-old retired St. Vincent chaplain said. “If people don’t stretch themselves and stay within their comfort zone, they won’t realize their full potential. I want to realize my full potential.”
It is that attitude that has enabled Glover to sit on five of the Seven Summits plus Mount Rainer in Washington and the El Camino, also known as The Way of St. James, during the past decade.
Glover also became an author with the January 28 release of his book “Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro: Seven Mountain Story, Book I.”
The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
Because Glover kept a journal on all of his expeditions, the book gives the reader a chance to walk alongside Glover on these mountains.
He will give another presentation featuring his new book March 31 at the Red Room of the Bartholomew County Public Library. Copies will be available for purchase there.
People who have read the book or heard Glover’s stories have told him they can relate to him.
“I started climbing these mountains when I was 58,” Glover said, “and I’m a Hoosier, just like a lot of them. A lot of literature has been written on these mountains, but my background of being a chaplain and running grief support groups for Our Hospice, Wings For The Journey and Mill Race Center makes me different than anyone else who’s written about his experiences.”
Glover had always admired the mountains but never thought about climbing Everest until he went to an Everest climbing news website in 2006 and a voice told him that he could hike to Everest’s South Base Camp in Nepal, nearly 17,600 feet high. So he promptly began to train by running up and down the tower at Mill Race and the hills of Brown County, with a backpack filled with kitty litter strapped onto his back.
He said he was able to embrace the opportunity because of his open mind and his eagerness to challenge himself.
“Ralph Waldo Emerson said that our reach ought to exceed our grasp,” Glover said. “That’s the fun about my living in the learning zone. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you are pushing yourself and learning something from it.”
On Mount Everest in the spring of 2007, Glover learned that the line between the learning zone and the danger zone is very fine. He suffered acute mountain sickness on the trek to Base Camp. Although he reached his goal, an altitude sickness almost put an abrupt end to his adventure.
Glover was unaware of the signs of altitude sickness during his time on Everest. He was fortunate enough to survive that trek, and he has incorporated the lessons he learned into subsequent climbs.
“I wasn’t aware of the signs of altitude sickness when I was having them,” he explained. “I didn’t know that losing my appetite was a sign of altitude sickness.
“Even though I drank two liters of water on Everest each day, it wasn’t enough to keep me hydrated, which was another sign of altitude sickness. So when I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2009, I drank three liters of water, and I ate even when I didn’t feel hungry.”
All that learning paid off when Glover summited Kilimanjaro on June 17, 2009. He says he felt a similar rush this winter when he finally saw his stories in print.
“When I had this book published, it was like my summit day on Kilimanjaro,” Glover said. “On the mountain, I was able to look down from the peak at 19,340 feet and look at where I had been and what I’d overcome.
“When I wrote this book, I felt like I was reliving my experiences on Everest and Kilimanjaro and I was looking back at it again with a fresh perspective. When I told these stories to people, they would ask me when my book was coming out. I want to thank them for inspiring me to write this book.”
“Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro: Seven Mountain Story, Book I” is available at Amazon.com.