Summit Day

It was -35, windy, and sunny for our summit bidWe got up at 7 am and were underway by 10:00 amIan got off early but his oxygen saturation dropped and his heart rate increased and came back to spend the day at Summit CampThe rest of us were off: 8 km and 1200m elevation to gain – what a day.

We made good time, but unfortunately at the 4400m mark Pat and I began to wane.  200m from the summit we checked everyone out – Pat’s oxygen saturation was 64, mine was 73; i.e. both of us needed to be on a ventilator.  Dale on the other hand was 93%!  Since we didn’t want Dale to attempt to summit without an MD present, and since Pat and I clearly had to go down the mountain, the trip was stopped 200m shy of the summit.  We were so close we could see the flag.

Dale was remarkable, strong, and had no issues with the elevation.  It is likely that the compressed schedule, given our delays in Puntas Arenas, contributed to Pat’s and my problem.  We are now back in High Camp and are recuperating from the day – 12 hours long.

Overall I feel the trip has been an overwhelming success, and there is a certain irony that the heart transplant recipient was best poised to summit the mountain!!!


200 metres from Summit, December 18, 2006.

58 Replies to “Summit Day”

  1. What a Day!

    We just got in the door from a gathering in Campbellville, Ontario and your summit attempt was the talk of the night. You will have more bloggers logging in this evening. Unbelievable! Congratulations on your achievements!! Wow…Dale you are the Man!! Thank God you are all safe and sound back to camp. Keep well. God speed. Billy and Betty Allison

  2. Congratulations!

    What a day you all must have had…..what a journey it must have been. Glad to here you are all back at camp safely. You should all be so proud of all that you have accomplished. Your blog followers certainly are! Hope you all get a chance to rest and recuperate soon. (How long before you will be back to eating and drinking at the pub?) By the way, the view in your pic is breath-taking. Can’t wait to see more of the photos. Keep us posted of your time-lines re: your return home. Keep warm. Be safe. Stay sane. edl

  3. WAY TO GO DR. ROSS & TEAM!!!!!

    Congratulations Dr. Ross, what an absolutely tremendous feat for all of you! 200M shy is just as good as being at the summit. You’ve surpassed what most of us could ever dream of doing and with your daily updates..we feel your excitement. Congratulations to Dale for his incredible stamina and courage–a true motivator for us transplant recipients. Keep safe on your descent to the base of the mountain. Is it tougher coming back down than it is making the climb up?

    What a story!!
    D&S Slupeiks

  4. Dale Shippam

    It was with a tremendous sense of inspiration and pride that I learned of your Antarctic adventure. Heroic efforts like yours are tremendously encouraging to those suffering through hardships and living with chronic conditions. Your courage and willingness to take on our world in one of its
    most daunting and challenging aspects serves as a lesson and stimulus to us all.

    Organ donation is perhaps the greatest gift a person can ever offer. To see the recipient of a transplant not only live, but thrive and tackle an extraordinary physical challenge, should lead us all to readily donate our precious organs in order to see another live, and live well.

    I wish you and your team the very best of luck and safety in your expedition, and look forward to greeting you on your return.

    Yours, sincerely,

    Michael Gravelle, MPP
    Thunder Bay-Superior North


    I knew ALL of you would make this happen! What a journey, and what a beautiful and true way to pay tribute to LIFE AND LIVING IT!
    Dale , I know you have a miracle part that has been transplanted into your body , however you have much more than that! You make us all want to live harder and fuller , truly you are an inspiration .
    So proud of all of you !
    Thank God you are all safe and sound ! Didn’t like the crevasse story!
    I will be able to finally have a very anxiety free evening and Christmas!
    God Bless
    Ciao .


    You should all be VERY Proud of ALL you have accomplished, from Zamfir to Summit!!! Your dedication, courage and strength of soul and body is an inspiration to us all. Dale, a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS goes out to you and the team of doctor’s who have cared for you thus far. We have and will continue to tell every person we know about your incredible journey with a donor heart!! Thank you Heather for sharing this journey with us, we all feel like we were there with you every step of the way (only our steps were considerably warmer!!) Take care on the way back down…. Teresa & Sandi

  7. congratulations

    what an amazing achievement! We are all so proud of you…well done.
    Have been tracking you all of the way, 200m is close enough as far as I am concerned…
    safe home,
    joe mikhael

  8. Dale and team

    To each and everyone congratulations and have a great Christmas. It has been a pleasure following your great journey and can hardly wait to hear Dale’s adventure stories. N & T.

  9. Dr. Ross, Dale, and Team

    Congratulations,Dr. Ross, Dale and team on your Summit Day! We have been following your progress daily and are very proud of you. Have a safe journey back down the mountain. Hope to have a full report at our Mended Hearts meeting, Dale.

    George and Bernice Reguly
    Thunder Bay, Ontario

  10. congratulations everyone

    what a great effort from everyone. Dale, you must feel so happy to not only to keep up, but to do so well. I’m still carrying your 50lb pack in the trunk of the Honda. So much to be grateful for. Take care the rest of the way.

  11. Well done Dale and the team.
    Congratulations on your climb. You should all feel very proud and pleased for what you have accomplished.
    Dale, you are the adventurer in the family and you make the Shippams proud.
    Bravo Zulu to you all.
    (“Well done” in navy talk)
    Have a safe trip down. Glen and Grace

  12. YEAH dad!!

    Hey Dad! (dale) Congratulations on the great climb, I cant say I was surprised that you were in the best shape (I remember how you trained me for my prefit test), but still very impressed. I have my last exam on thursday then ill fly home friday morning and stay in t.bay until the 5th. Hopefully you will be home before I leave again. This module is on Env. Law and we have a teacher here from the U.S. so we all have to get used to the American style of teaching again…. Good luck on your next climb. You look really good in the picture all decked out in your gear. Take care and see you soon hopefully.
    Love Kate

  13. congratulations

    Ian and fellow climbers:

    Congratulations on a fabulous climb. We are incredibly proud of all of you. You are an inspiration to all the “layabouts” at # 57.

    Love and licks

    Hershey and Drop

  14. ho ho

    Dear IAN and fellow travellers–what a fabulous record-much more impressive than choosing the takeover stock of the year!!You took over your body and mind and achieved a wonderful goal–maybe you should become a fireman!!!will miss you at oyster soiree–MSL

  15. Congratulations!

    Auntie Pat/Tish and Team,
    Congratulations…so proud of you all. What an achievement! The pictures tell it all. Can’t wait to talk to you.
    Love Eileen

  16. Heather and Team

    Congratulations to you and the entire team! We are all so very proud of you. Have a safe trip down the mountain. LizP

  17. You have inspired me every step in this incredible journey

    The daily journals have been tremendous and the photo captures the moment we will all remember. Thank for sharing your strength and hope with us.
    Enjoy the last few days away from warmth and comfort. Love has been with you all the way.
    A joyous Christmas and unforgettable memories of 2006.

  18. Felicitations!!

    What a remarkable adventure and what a testatment to life that you were all able to brave the heights, elements, etc. We are all very proud of you and look forward to a more detailed first-person blog with pictures.

    Way to go Dale, you are an inspiration to us all!!

    Love D&C

  19. What a team, what a team, what a team!

    we are so excited about your great achievements. Kudos to all. Daily messages and pictures are amazing. Keep safe and be careful on the way back down. See you in the clinic in January..Bruce and family–Queensville, On.

  20. We’re so proud of you!

    Heather and Team: We’re writing from your clinic team room this morning. As we read about your great achievement, we are inspired. Dale, we are beyond words – your success is mindblowing! Heather, now it’s time to get back to clinic and work- Hurry up! H: you are greatly missed!
    Be safe.
    Finn, Mohamed, Vaska

  21. Hi Pat,
    Congratualtions to you and all the team for all that you have accomplished. We have been following your progress day by day with colour commentary from Tom. He also has had some pithy comments about the relative merits of a turkey dinner in comparison to being in that wonderland!
    With every best wish. Frances and Bob Mackenzie

  22. You’re All Winners!!!!

    Dear Dale & Team:

    Congratulations to ALL of you – what an awesome feat! Dale, we always knew you were something special, (but didn’t tell you because we have to live next to you)!! You, and the rest of the team, are truly an inspiration and we’re so proud of you.

    Stay safe.

    Sonny & Susan
    Silver Islet, ON

  23. Heather
    You must be as proud of your team as we are of you —now—enough is enough – get you butt home – Love, Dad

  24. Congratualtions!!!!!

    Congratulations Heather to you and your entire team!! So proud of you!!
    Have a safe trip down and Merry Cristmas to all
    Cathy Kells

  25. Your trek

    Heather et al – a wonderful achievement for all transplant patients. Particular plaudits for Dale and his accomplishment. Your collective effort was for the message and that will carry on long after you are safely back. Congratulations. Keep posting so we can can follow your trip down.

  26. Way to go team

    What a great accomplishment for this team. We are all in awe. Dale, we are especially thrilled to here that you are such a healty guy. Well done! Marilyn and George, AZ.

  27. Congratulations

    To the entire Antarctica ’06 Team…your accomplishments are immeasurable…congratulations.
    To Dale…what can I say…you have tested your limits and we still don’t have the answer. Once again you have proven without a doubt that your mind, spirit and body are without limits.
    Looking forward to hearing your stories back in Thunder Bay.
    Scott C.

  28. Great Job Guys

    You guys did awsome. Dad you’re looking great. When you get a chance, call and let us know what you want for dinner when you get home. I’m cooking. See you soon.


  29. Dale & Kindred Climbers

    The Journey is the Destination! We will keep the turkey on low ’til you get here!! Methinks there may be too much Toronto smog in the lungs of your teammates?? What a great goup! What a remarkable journey! Love fitz

  30. Congratulations to ALL

    Thanks for taking us on your incredible journey. The daily updates and pics have been amazing. We look forward to each day’s postings. Dale you truly are a very special guy – an inspiration to recipients and those waiting and a testament to the positive benefits of organ donation. We are proud to be your friends. Will light a candle on Christmas eve for the safe return of the whole team. Well done!
    Trish & Ted

  31. Fantastic

    Unbelievable. You all are AMAZING! I am so proud of you and even more proud to be a part of the Ontario transplant community! You all are wonderful role models.

  32. Hi Dale, we have been watching your journey from the cardiac cath lab at Thunder Bay Regional,your strength and will is phenomenal, we are all cheering you on, especially after reading of today’s events. Your a true inspiration! Have a safe return. Cath lab staff

  33. What an Achievment

    Dale, cudos to you and your fellow climbers. You have been an inspiration to all of us as we followed your blog. We always knew you had the spirit and courage to accomplish whatever came your way. Safe trip down and boogie home to the gang. I hear Sam is cooking – should be good.
    Ines and Bob

  34. Unbelievable

    Pat and Team;
    This entire adventure has been inspiring in so many ways, the early patience, the great pics and views, but mostly the great dedication and determination of the team for such an important cause. Well done! The hard work is mostly over, have an enjoyable trip home.
    Ted, Angie, Luke and Peter
    Newmarket Ont.

  35. Ian’s Trekkies

    Ian and fellow climbers, A day of celebration! Congratulations to all on your acheivements. We are incredibly proud of your team. Now come on in from the cold!!!and get home. Warmest, H,G M n Em

  36. Way to go A-06 team!

    I just want to congratulate everyone that made a tremendous effort, especially Dale!.Even though certain issues permitted myself from going on the A-06 trip, I get a great deal of satisfaction seeing the logo I made so far away from home!.I wish you all a safe return.I bet if Heather had a starbucks latte, and Pat some chocolate, they would have made it up lol.

    Heart Tx-2-28-05

  37. Even the Grinch would have a difficult time keeping his heart from bursitng throuhg his chest with this kind of news.

    You are an inspiration to all of us who dare to LIVE LIFE.

    I hope your journey home will quick and into the arms of those who love you.

    Cathy Jeffrey

  38. CONGRADULATIONS!!! from nigeria. You guys are even popular over here. Amazing pics and im sure the stories and twice as amazing. Cant wait to hear them. You all inspired so many people, and proved even more. Have a good trip back home.

  39. Congratulations Dale

    Unbelievable, the journey was awesome to take part in and the pictures were simply amazing, we wish you all the best on the journey back home and the Shippam’s of Timmins are very proud of you!!!!!

    Bye for Now

    Jeff, Avery, Liz, Wayne, Jason, Kerri, Brooke, Taylor



  41. Pat and sats

    Hi Pat, Heather and gentlemen..just finished a night on call at Mt Sinai..thankgoodness all my patients sats were above 93 let alone 60s or 70s!! Hoping all three sats have jumped back up… especially the ladies – as pink cheeks go so much better with blond tresses than blue complexions! Everybody should be glorying in just how much the team did achieve in thin cold (understatement!)air in only 5 incredible days.As someone has said we still don’t know what Dale’s limits are as he was doing so well….so will be waiting to hear just what mountain or extreme sport, Heather dreams up next…just in case Dale is game for another wild challenge.. Blog has been great fun – tension,drama great photos, so don’t stop yet.Zillions of “cyberstalkers” might suffer acute withdrawel..tell us about the descent & flights out, send a few more photos and be kind and wean us from our ventilators -whoops I mean our computors slowly.Big Congrats to all and Pat lots of love xxxooo,mary ellen


    Congratulations to the team…great trip..job well done.We are very proud of all participants.Have a safe trip looking forward to hearing all the details…Shippam’s will have a reunion inThunder Bay summer of 2007 to hear all the details.Kim is following you from New Mexico,Trevor is following from North Bay.
    All very proud to be Shippams
    Love Freddie and Diane

  43. Awesome group

    Congratulations to the team! It has been fascinating journey for us all. Hope the other two wusses feel better soon. With much love and admiration, Rosanne and Peter

  44. Congratulations!!!

    Congatulations team on a tremendous effort! Can hardly wait to hear the tale of the great adventure back at the station Dale. Take care. S. Merrifield

  45. Never Mind 200m’s…

    Congratultions to all members of the team and support groups. As far as we are concerned you ARE at the TOP and always will be !!
    There is always one more mountain to climb and who knows what the future will bring. WTG 4 now !!
    Jackie Lamothe and Dieter Doktor.

  46. Speechless!

    Heather, have been keeping up to speed with your news and so appreciate the inspiration you all are giving me. Xmas time is full of the appreciated good wishes, but seems again to be the same round of activity until I go to your blog and truly am inspired by the pictures, and the real excitement one can feel from your notes. Was not sure whether or not you would be attempting the summit again today. Notwithstanding congratulations to all…Live Life…what an example! Have been waiting for an occasion to open the Sassicaia … when you return… in the meantime, hope the trip doesn’t go by too quickly for you. Thinking of you and wishing everyone a safe return, Sandra


    Pat and team, I write this with tears in my eyes. I am truly so happy and proud of you all. Such courage and adventure, such an accomplishment! Thanks you for letting us follow you with daily updates and pictures. You have given me such inspiration, you are all incredible!!


    Pat and team
    I think it was Henry Ford who said “Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, Working together is success”. We are so proud of you and everyone on the team. You have incredible courage and dedication and are great examples to us all. To Dave and Barry – thank you for guiding everyone up that mountain safely and (no pressure here) please get them back down and home to us soon.
    We love you Pat and can’t wait to see you.
    Henry, Debi and Kyle

  49. Heather, First of all, you are amazing!!! AMAZING AMAZING. Second, it took me half an hour to figure out how to join your “blogging”. Third, you should know the peg is almost as cold as Antarctica.. Be safe. I’ll see you soon. S

  50. We are all so proud of you here! You are a true inspiration.
    With our best wishes for a safe journey home
    Catherine, Paul and Jordan Hyde

  51. Better than the Moonwalk !!!

    You guys are awe inspiring…the photos and blogs make us feel pretty ordinary here at home.

    Congrats on a job well-done !! Truly worth the pain, train, and wait.

    Ian…a very special single malt awaits your return as we toast your wonderful achievement!

    Marla + Larry

  52. Congratulations

    Well done, all the O’Neills here in Toronto are so proud and in awe of your accomplishments. Dale you have set a new bar for everyone,it will be a long time before anyone can match your endevour, you and the teamettes are such an inspiration. Merry Christmas to all and come back safely.
    Bill, Sue,Sara,Sean

  53. Congratulations!

    Dale & fellow climbers, You are an awsome group. Congratulations on your accomplishments and thank you for including us in your adventure. Keep safe. Margaret

  54. Too much for words

    Dale, I have to say that you have left me speechless by your accomplishments. I am in awe of your determination, stamina and obvious natural ability, as it seems everyone else is. I can hardly wait for the stories!
    Staci Ahonen

  55. Heather; words cannot express how grateful your family and friends are that you are safe and sound in PH. Once again, congratulations on your team’s amazing achievement and thank you for including so many of us on your adventure. Your are truly an inspirational friend. Take care and looking forward to seeing you soon, vm.

  56. Finally viagra works for a woman!!! Good for you for having the sense to turn back – and you made it anyway!! What a woman!!

Comments are closed.