A Bellevue mans thirst for adventure will
take him across the challenging terrain of Tibet and Nepal in the coming weeks.
Pat Harper, 32, will compete in the 10th anniversary edition of the Raid
Gauloises Adventure Race starting April 29 in Tibet.
He will also be a member of the same team, Team Tactela Ispira (formerly
Team Stray Dogs) for the 2000 Eco-Challenge in Malaysian Borneo this coming August.
First of all, the Trans-Himalayan race will take competitors on a
demanding 350- to 500-mile trek from Lahsa, Tibet to Katmandu, Nepal.
Teams navigate their way across the region by mountain biking, trekking,
canyoneering, canoeing and hydroing (boogie boarding rapids). They must reach checkpoints
by a designated time.
"You pretty much have to find your own way and do your own
navigation," Harper said.
Harper, who left for the race on Tuesday, is part of North Faces
Team Tactel Ispira. The squad is made up of five athletes and two support people.
Others are ultra runner Marshall Ulrich of Fort Morgan, Co.; mountaineer/
corporate attorney Mark Macy of Denver; navigator Isaac Wilson of Moab, Utah; adventure
racer Rebecca Rusch; and mountain biker Mike Kloser of Vail.
"The team basically just called me out of the blue and asked if I
wanted to go," Harper said.
He added, "Somewhere out there someone heard of me. I think I was
chosen because there is a lot of whitewater involved as well as navigation.
"Its an impressive team. All the people have competed in, if
not won some of the major adventure races out there."
Harper grew up in the Wood River Valley and has been a local river guide
for the past 17 years. He also works at The Elephants Perch in Ketchum.
A competitor in the 1998 Eco-Challenge in Morocco, Harper built his first
kayak at age 10 and has spent virtually his entire life cross-country ski racing,
backcountry skiing, hiking, running and paddling.
Harper said people can follow the race on two websites: www.arzone.com and