When Lance Fox climbed Mount Everest in 2009 it wasn’t to gain fame or glory. It was to pay tribute to his late father, Ronald, who had succumbed to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 36.
Fox was successful in his climb and spread his dad’s ashes at the summit of Mt. Everest. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
“Never was there an intent to write a book on when I went to climb Everest,” Fox said. “When I came back I had quite a few people ask me to speak about the adventure and one day someone said, ‘Hey, you should write a book.'”
Fox, a veterinarian from New London, said he didn’t think much of writing a book at the time, but that eventually changed.
“I decided to start jotting some things down so I actually went back and looked at some old blogs that I did and I kept a journal on the mountain so I started typing on the laptop one day,” Fox said. “And I used to fly a lot for business so I’d sit on the plane and type and before I knew it I had 280-some pages. That’s how it culminated.”
Fox said he ultimately decided to put his story in print because he couldn’t share everything he wanted to share when he did public speaking appearances. He also wrote it for his kids.
“Out of fairness I thought a lot about the trip as to why I went and to show my kids that dreams can come true if you work hard and make the sacrifice of course,” Fox said.
He didn’t use a ghostwriter. He also self published the book, only hiring a company to help with the layout of the book.
“Now it’s up to me to market it. That’s the biggest drawback. But I didn’t write this book to make money, that was not the point of it. It was really to have it in writing and to share the adventure and maybe spark people to pursue their own Everest,” Fox said.
The first part of the book introduces Fox to the reader and how the dream of climbing Mt. Everest came to be.
“People really need to understand that it’s not like one day you wake up and say, ‘I’m going to go climb Everest tomorrow.’ So it’s a culmination of discovering a dream and then training for it,” Fox said.
The book also contains a lot of information about the adventure itself, and concludes with the climb and information about Fox going back to the area to do a yak project.
“We all have a dream at some point, or a challenge. For some people getting out of bed can be their Everest,” Fox said. “You know, mind over matter, that’s really what prevails here. I’m not a professional mountaineer. I’m a veterinarian by trade, had a dream and eventually chose to pursue it. It didn’t happen overnight.”
The book will be available in paperback, hardback and in electronic formats.
Fox will have a couple a book signings in the area. The first will take place Saturday, Sept. 8 at Familiar Grounds in New London from 9 a.m. to noon. The other will take place Saturday, Sept. 29 at the Plainfield Public Library.
The story doesn’t end there, though, as the cheesehead Fox carried to and wore on top of Mt. Everest has received a new life.
“One day, several months ago I was looking at the cheesehead in the shadow box and thought, ‘You know, people need to see this thing, it doesn’t do me a lot of good to just sit and stare at it,'” Fox said.
Through some contacts he had, he contacted a board member with the Green Bay Packers, who put Fox in contact with the Packer Hall of Fame coordinator. Fox wound up donating the cheesehead to the Packer Hall of Fame.
“She gladly accepted the donation and I took it over,” Fox said.
Fox explained the history behind the cheesehead,
“I didn’t have an intent to take it to the top because it does take up weight and space and every ounce counts on Everest,” Fox said. “You are cutting the handles off your tooth brush to save weight. I decided to crush it into a ball into a small compression sack to the size of a grapefruit, so space-wise it didn’t take up a lot and I shoved it into the bottom of my oxygen tank and told myself, ‘Alright, if I make it to the top I’ll be sure to dig it out and get a photo op with it. And it just all worked out.”
The cheesehead is now the property of the Packer Hall of Fame, where it will be on display on a rotation basis through the museum portion of the Hall of Fame, Fox said. A copy of Fox’s book is also on display with the cheesehead.
Fox said he is proud to have the cheesehead on display at the Hall of Fame.
“I’m a devout Wisconsinsite, growing up here and living here, but I’m also now a Packers stockholder,” Fox said. “It was a bit of a pride thing for me to know that the cheesehead went to the highest point on the planet and now it’s at Lambeau Field. I’m glad people can see it.”