It’s not often that we hear about the athletic feats of our four-legged friends. Even for a human, mountain climbing requires a respectable amount of self-discipline and physical fitness. While we hear plenty of stories of people climbing any number of widely-known mountain ranges, it’s rare to hear about individuals who have successfully climbed the highest mountain on the planet, Mt. Everest.
Perhaps what’s even more astonishing (and hard to find) are dogs that have climbed this enormous mountain range successfully. These dogs are living proof that with the right amount of discipline and endurance, climbing the largest mountain in the world is accomplishable by almost any species with the right type of bodily build.
Stir Fry was a dog found at the base camp of Mt. Everest during a day hike by the one who found her, Brian McCullough. She was accompanied by two other strays that he called Pan Fry and Deep Fry. At first, these dogs just seemed to tag along with McCullough and his crew.
As they climbed further up the mountain, the dogs just happened to keep up with them. Once the climbers reached 23,000 feet, they began to encounter vertical ice cliffs. It was at this point when Deep Fry gave up and curled up by a chunk of ice. The next day, though, the dogs pushed on a little bit further with their new friends. While they didn’t make it all the way up with them, they did make it back down safely.
Rupee is widely known as the first dog ever to climb Mt. Everest. Perhaps the most astonishing feature of this pup is that he was not always in the healthy condition that he is in today. His owner, Joanne Lefson found him as a stray on the streets of India before taking him back with her to her home in South Africa.
She decided to adopt Rupee and nurse him back to health, starting with a diet of healthy, high-protein foods. Within months, Rupee was a healthy and happy puppy ready to take on the world with his new owner. Later in the year, Lefson took Rupee back with her to the Himalayas to attempt a trek to the top of Mt. Everest.
Before taking Rupee with her, she wanted to make sure that there weren’t any medical complications that would get in the way of this adventure. The vet confirmed that Rupee had a clean bill of health and was, in fact, likely to be well-suited for a trip to the Himalayas since he was born around that area.
While Rupee is widely known as the first dog to accomplish this feat, it is unlikely that he is the first. Veteran climbers have reported seeing stray dogs during their trip up the mountain as well as a couple of dogs accompanied by owners at the base camp. This just goes to show that dogs don’t receive enough credit for their accomplishments.
Article by Sally Collins, freelance writer