Dr Shehbaz Butt is on his way to earning a coveted spot in a super elite club – of climbers who have scaled the seven highest peaks on seven continents. Fewer than 300 climbers in the world have achieved this feat.
Dr Butt has been climbing for 17 years and has scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Elbrus in Europe, Mount Puncak Jaya also known as Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania, and Mount Denali in Alaska.
Mount Everest would have been his fifth – only 104 Canadians have stood on the summit – but the climb was called off when the biggest one-day disaster in the history of climbing the mountain killed 16 sherpas.
The anaesthesiologist at Markham Stouffville Hospital, who had set a personal goal to raise $100,000 to help purchase operating room equipment as part of the hospital’s $50 million expansion campaign, spent his time on the mountain helping critically injured survivors.
After Mount Everest, Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica and Mount Aconcagua in South America were next on the list, but will have to wait until his next attempt to summit Mount Everest.
There are no doubts in Dr Butt’s mind about attempting the peak again.
“It means a lot to me to show my children and family and friends that you have to go out and do whatever it is you dreamed of doing. Life is precious, life is short, it’s not to be wasted.”