A C I F I C L U T H E R A N U N I V E R S I
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takes on Mt. Everest-over and over again
By Noreen Hobson, '99
'84, '89 has achieved two of his dreams. One was to teach-which he
currently does at Puyallup's Stahl Junior High School. The other was
to climb the summit of the 29,028 foot Mt. Everest-a dream he has
achieved four times, spending 14 months of his life on the mountain.
Jason Edwards on Mt. Everest
dreaming of Everest in junior high school, when he first came
to learn about and admire Luther ("Lute") Jerstad '58,
a member of the first American team to summit Everest. He read
National Geographic and the book "Banner in the Sky,"
by James Ramsey Ullman. Edwards also admired Chris Chandler '70,
who summited in 1976 and died of a cerebral and pulmonary edema
in 1985, trying to climb Mt. Kanchenjunga. Edwards was inspired
by the two display cases of Jerstad and Chandler in Mortvedt Library.
At 17, Edwards
was guiding people up mountains around the world. After graduation,
he began intense trips as a climber and a guide. After getting his
second PLU degree, he stepped into the role of Everest climber.
Between his 1991 and 1994 summits, he was a substitute teacher.
Edwards turned his attention to teaching full-time in 1994. He ultimately
felt that he needed to put equal time and effort into both climbing
"It turns from avocation to a vocation, at least for me, "
Edwards said "I need things to look forward to, and I need
things to share with my students." He journals his experiences
and regularly reports back to his students at Stahl through the
Stahl Web site. One of his ninth graders recently told him, "I
want to climb Mt. Everest."
Whether it is
taking other climbers up Everest through his company, Mountain Experience
or sharing knowledge and adventure with his students, Edwards tries
to inspire others.
"Dreams can be attained," Edwards said. "By turning
dreams into goals, and then 'plugging away at them' over time, someday
they will likely come true like they have for me."
He believes that PLU creates people who go out into the world to
capture those dreams-inspired by professors, the campus or even
library displays. Edwards, whose next adventure is an expedition
in Antarctica this winter, believes the dreams that PLU alums have
achieved "really speak to the spirit of the university."
With three alumni who have reached Everest's summit, it can be called
a remarkable spirit. Edwards plans to donate a third display to
the collection, inspiring the next generation of Lutes.