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Expedition Team

Byron Smith, Vulcan, Alberta
Everest 2000 Expedition Leader

Byron Smith The successful AGF Everest 2000 Expedition was Byron's second attempt at the summit of Mt. Everest. In 1998 he made it to the South Summit, the second highest point on earth at 8,765 m (28,758 ft). He was then forced to stop 80 metres (270 ft) or about 45 minutes from his ultimate goal, the summit of Everest.

Byron was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on April 14, 1960. He grew up in Calgary and now lives in Vulcan, Alberta with his son Zachary and wife Jamie. Byron owns and runs a car dealership in Vulcan and trains up to two and a half hours a day, six days a week to keep in climbing shape.

Byron has climbed extensively in the Canadian and U.S. Rockies -- having climbed some of the peaks up to eight times while training for Everest. In 1997 he summited the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, Mt. Aconcaqua, in Argentina, at 7,010 m (23,000 ft).

Tim Rippel, Nelson, British Columbia

Tim Rippel Tim has been climbing for more than 20 years. He is a Himalayan Mountain Guide, Heli Ski Guide (Certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) and Professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association. He is also a professional instructor and has worked in the Rockies, the Himalayas and Russia. Before Everest 2000, Tim had been on four expeditions to Mt. Everest. He's also a veteran of two Canadian Expeditions on Mt. Pumori and two on Mt. Ama Dablam.

Brad Wrobleski, Canmore, Alberta
Left the expedition April 10, 2000

Brad Wrobleski Brad is a professional photographer/writer and an accomplished climber. His career has taken him to all seven continents including destinations such as Antarctica, Peru, Alaska, Ecuador, Japan, Tierra del Fuego, Nepal, Tunisia, Borneo and the Yukon. His words and pictures can be found in publications such as: Climbing, Outdoor Photographer, Explore and National Geographic.

High Altitude Sherpas, Khumbu Region, Nepal
Climbing support/Camp stocking and set-up

Lhakpa Tshering Sherpa (3 time Everest summitter prior to Everest 2000), Mingma Nuru Sherpa, Da Sona Sherpa, Gombu Sherpa, Tshering Dorge Sherpa, Nuru Wangchu Sherpa, Lila Bahadur Tamang, Ram Chandra Sunuwar, Karchen Dawa Sherpa, Thukten Dorje Sherpa, Mingma Sherpa, Pemba Tsheri Sherpa.

All twelve Sherpa have demonstrated their skill and reliability on previous Everest climbs, many resulting in successful summits. All have been to the South Col several times.

The twelve joined the expedition at Basecamp, established the higher camps and provided climbing support on the mountain.

Support Team

Virginia Robinson, Hamilton, Ontario.
Expedition physician (Read physician's logs)

Virginia Robinson Virginia is a family doctor and emergency room physician. She is an avid climber, trekker and adventurer, and has worked and taught her way around the world.

She has been an instructor of family, emergency and wilderness medicine to students of McGill and McMaster Universities and is well versed in high altitude medicine.

John Armstrong and Ann Armstrong, Penticton, B.C.
Basecamp education and communication coordinators
Left the expedition April 10, 2000

Virginia Robinson John and Ann are experienced educators and outdoor enthusiasts. For the first part of the expedition, they coordinated communications from Basecamp and conducted the education component of the Everest 2000 climb. John holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Molecular Biology and has been involved in the classroom with students from primary to university levels.

Ann has served as coordinator with "Jump Rope for Heart" for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba and at the time of the expedition, served as the regional manager for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta and NWT. She also holds a Bachelor of Physical Education degree.

George Gallant, Lethbridge, Alberta
Documentary producer for Everest 2000
Participated in the expedition March 15 to April 4, 2000

George Gallant A producer, director and videographer, George has worked in almost every aspect of the television production industry. He has written, produced and/or directed an extensive list of programming from travel and tourism to the arts. For his efforts he has won nine National Can Pro awards. George will direct the production of a dramatic human interest, educational documentary that will be available for international distribution after the climb.

Dr. Dave Irvine-Halliday, Calgary, Alberta.
Education program expert for Everest 2000
Joined the team at Basecamp April 21, 2000

Dr. Dave Irvine-Halliday Dave is a mountaineer and professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Calgary. Along with students from his engineering classes he is working on the Nepal Light Project, a study to determine the feasibility of low-cost "picopower" for the citizens of Nepal. Canadian school children were able to participate in the project by designing their own electrical devices, studying the potential impact of Dave's experiments and learning about the culture of the Nepalese people.

Becky Rippel, Nelson, British Columbia
Logistics and trekking support for Everest 2000
Accompanied the expedition March 15 to March 26, 2000

Becky Rippel Becky runs Peak Freak Expeditions out of B.C. with her husband Tim, one of the three climber's on Everest 2000. She and Tim travel to Nepal twice a year, guiding trekkers to Mt. Everest. For Everest 2000, Becky handled initial logistics in Nepal and trekked in and out with Byron's wife and son.

Les Gramantik, Calgary, Alberta.
Byron's personal trainer for Everest 2000

Les Gramantik Les is the Director for Athletics at the National Sport Council in Calgary and the head coach of Athletics at the University of Calgary. Les is Byron's personal trainer and assisted him in preparing for the expedition, training two and a half hours a day, six days a week.

Les has also helped develop the physical fitness challenges and human physiology experiments of the Everest 2000 education program.


Camp I
Camp II
Camp III
Camp IV
The Ascent
 The Team
 Byron's Story
 Fitness & Training
Team data
 Clothing and Equipment
 Communications and Technology
 Byron's '98 Climb Diaries
 Byron's Schedule