GOLDEN, Colo. (KDVR) — His name is Don Bowie. He was born in Canada and now lives near Salina, and he’s spent the last three decades of his life climbing and summiting the world’s most dangerous peaks.
Bowie’s love of the outdoors began as a boy when he spent time with his grandfather, who he shares the same name, Don Bowie.
“He was really big on how to handle a gun when I was young,” said Bowie. “And how to handle a fishing rod, and how to bate a hook.“
Bowie learned to climb in Colorado.
“I actually first started climbing near Cheesman Reservoir out near Deckers on Sheep’s Nose. That was actually the first rock climbing I ever did,” Bowie said.
Bowie spent the last 30 years of his 53-year life climbing, including the last 20 years as a professional climber. So how does one earn a living as a professional climber?
“High altitude climbing is not really a lucrative job,” he said.
Bowie has summited four of the earth’s 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest. He never uses supplemental oxygen on any of his expeditions — only what was available in the atmosphere.
“If you just started on oxygen from the bottom of the mountain and started to climb, you wouldn’t even need to be acclimatized,” Bowie said. “And it would literally be more difficult climbing Pikes Peak, for example, without oxygen.“
Mount Annapurna in Nepal — more dangerous than Everest. After six death-defying attempts, Bowie made it to the top.
“For every four people who stand on the summit, another person dies trying,” Bowie said.
So why does a human being risk life to climb?
“That’s a good question. I don’t know why I’m going in the first place,” he said.
No one really knows. Not even Don Bowie.