Traughber scales legendary mountain

<I>Contributed</I><BR>Farrel Traughber holds the Eagle on top of Mt. Iztaccihuatl in Mexico. Farrell is the son of Janyce Bond of John Day. He grew up in Mt. Vernon and graduated from Grant Union High School in 1974.

Farrell Traughber took the Eagle to the top of a legendary mountain in Mexico*, when he traveled with five other climbers from OSU campus. His wife, Mary, rolled up the front page and put it in his backpack the day he left.

"You have to do this," she said.

The trip took a total of 13 days, and included rafting down the Filobobs River for two days, an exploration of Aztec ruins and an eight-hour journey deep inside a cave.

Each day they reached a higher elevation. The Iztaccihuatl is over 17,000 feet, compared to Mt. McKinley in Alaska, which is 20,000. It took the group four days to climb. During those four days, Farrell didn't eat. He only drank water, up to three gallons a day.

"You can't eat at that altitude," he said. "You don't even want to."

At 2:30 a.m. Dec. 20, 2005, the climbers emptied their backpacks of everything but the essentials for their final ascent. Farrell brought water, technical equipment, a camera and the front page of the Blue Mountain Eagle.

Eight hours later they reached the summit. At that altitude thinking is difficult and climbers often feel disoriented and dizzy. Fast thinking is not generally an option, but Farrell remembered what his wife wanted him to do. He took the Eagle out of his backpack and asked a fellow climber to take his picture.

"They thought it was funny when I explained to them about my hometown paper, but everyone wanted a copy of the picture," Farrell said.

Going down the mountain didn't take very long.

"We covered four days distance in four hours," he said.

Farrell is the son of Janyce Bond of John Day. He grew up in Mt. Vernon and graduated from Grant Union High School in 1974. He is a commercial investment broker and a rancher between Redmond and Bend. He is also a student at OSU in Bend.

* According to legend, the mountain is named after the daughter of an Aztec emperor, who fell in love with one of her father's warriors. When her father found out about the lovers, he sent the young man to war in Oaxaca. He told him that he could wed his daughter when he returned.

While the man was at war, Iztaccihuatl was told that he was dead, and she died of grief. When the young man returned, he was heartbroken to learn about her death.

He took her body to the mountains, laid down beside her and died of grief also.

The gods felt pity for the young lovers and turned them into mountains; she is known as the "Sleeping Woman" because the mountain resembles a woman sleeping on her side, and he is known as "Smoking Mountain" because the volcano is still active and is said to be taking revenge for the death of Iztaccihuatl.

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