Top of the world

By Dinidu de Alwis

He's married. He's the father of a one-year-old baby girl. He's done his BSc. in Social Sciences and he's reading for his MBA. He's a mountaineer. He's a writer. He's a photographer. He has explored the Himalayas. He has explored the arctic. But sadly, he hasn't seen Santa Claus. That would be a simple summing up of who Elmo Francis is. And currently he works in corporate communications, and also works as a trainer.

In 2001, Elmo climbed the Himalayas. He went back in 2004 to climb another mountain, the Mera Peak in 2004. And in 2006 after a four year break, while working for a leading bank in Sri Lanka, he got an opportunity to go to the Arctic.

"Planning is paramount. During the first expedition in 2001, there were 13 deaths, and in 2004 there were 6. But when we went to the Arctic, there were none," he says. One thing is clear from the onset. Elmo is not your usual adrenaline junkie trying to get a quick rush. His travels are done with passion and a solid academic backing.

His Arctic expedition in 2006 for example, was as part of a research team which was planning on presenting their findings about Global Warming to the World Global Warming Conference. They did extensive research on glaciers to gather evidence of global warming and to measure its impact. His company partnered with EarthWave for the research into climate change.

"I experienced the longest day", says Elmo, describing July 21, 2006. During his two weeks in the Arctic, he saw everything from Polar Bears to Wolves, and pesky mosquitoes. But no Santa. "I wish I did though" he says. "The body clock was going crazy. I was on the other side of the world, but not technically at the top of the world," explains Elmo about how the body managed the changes of location and climate.

The summers in the Arctic are filled with long days "You would wake up at 3am, and birds would be out." The sun doesn't really go down. It simply disappears for a while, and then comes back" They camped on top of massive glaciers - huge lumbering blocks of solidified ice.

Unfortunately, the Government hasn't officially recognized his achievement. They supported him with Visas for his Himalayan expeditions, but that's it. But Elmo is unshaken. He is as strong and perseverant as an explorer can be.

What are his plans now? Well, he aims to go the other end of the world: The Antarctic. The first expedition to the Arctic took two years of extensive and meticulous planning. And Elmo is getting ready for the next one at the South end of the world.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
Other Mirror Articles
Sacrificial love – seahorse-style!
Shedding their silence
Saving time
Top of the world
The Incredible Hulk
Waiting for peace
Evening of quirky insights
Night out with a difference
Respice Finem
Stepping out
Good reads


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2008 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution