Wayne talks: Mountain climbing

Evelyn Knox, Staff Writer

WSC biology student Joana Sato and Dr. Barbara Engebretsen presented at the third Wayne Talks of the year last Thursday night at the Jonnie Byrd Brewing Company.

Wayne Talks started this academic school year by WSC biology professor and director of the Natural History Museum Dr. Mark Hammer in hopes of creating outreach in the community.

“Hopefully we get more community members and Wayne State College people to come down to the brewery for more interesting talks,” Hammer said. “I wanted to think of a way for the museum to do outreach in the community, and the brewery has a nice black room to do it in.”

Sato, born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, shared her story about her two week summit up Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina earlier this year. Mt. Aconcagua is the biggest peak in the western hemisphere at 22,837 feet, and the second highest summit in the world.

“My ultimate goal is to complete all seven summits, which is to successfully climb the highest mountains of each of the seven continents,” Sato said.

The seven summits consist of, Mt. Everest (29,0350 ft.), Mt. Aconcagua (22,834 ft.), Mt. Denali (20,834 ft.), Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft.),

Mt. Elbrus (18,513 ft.), Mt. Vinson (16,067 ft.) and Carstensz Pyramid (16,023 ft.).

Sato discussed her journey and individual struggles that she and her climbing partner faced, including altitude sickness, drinking more than five pounds of water per day and having to carry nearly 200 pounds of food and equipment.

“My partner struggled with altitude sickness and I struggled with teamwork,” Sato said. “The hardest part of the journey overall was the financial part and having to purchase climbing equipment, climbing permit and my plane ticket to Argentina.”

Dr. Engebresten followed up with a discussion of the major complications and symptoms that can occur with acute mountain sickness or high-altitude sickness when participating in summits. 

Dr. Engebresten and Dr. Hammer are both biology professors of Sato and were informed about her summit up the Aconcagua Mountain and that she would be potentially missing class time.

Sato’s future goal is to continue to train for her goal of climbing the seven summits, with hopes of climbing Mt. Denali, the highest peak in North America in the next two to three years after graduating from Wayne State.