May 9, 2013

PSU student strives to reach top

PLATTSBURGH — For five years now, Michael Bowyer has had his heart set on climbing the Himalayas.

The SUNY Plattsburgh senior will scale Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain in the world, next fall.

“I started off doing long-distance backpacking in the New England area,” he said, describing how he came to become a climber.

“A lot of my climbing has been done in Maine in the past five years to do technical climbing.”

Last May, on an expedition with a SUNY Plattsburgh class, he rock- and ice-climbed in Scotland and Wales. From there, he went sea kayaking on a multi-day tour.

After that trip, he went to Holland to recover from the adventure before taking some courses at the International School of Mountaineering in Switzerland.

His next challenge was the Swiss Alps.

Mountains he scaled there include the Weisshorn, Breithorn, Riffelhorn, Rimpfischhorn and Mont Blanc.


Climbing mountains is a journey beyond the actual excursion, Bowyer said.

“It’s about the process involved. I’m attracted to all of the byproducts of climbing.”

He was drawn to SUNY Plattsburgh by its expeditionary studies program, his major. His specialization is ice- and rock-climbing with a supplementary degree in sea kayaking.

Bowyer has found the discipline of climbing has improved his writing and self-awareness.

He practices yoga, cycling, strength training, running, swimming and meditation, all of which help make him a stronger mountaineer.


For his Himalayan adventure, Bowyer will go with a Romanian team; he met member Vlad Capusan when climbing in Switzerland. And then he established a relationship with the team through email and Skype.

He leaves for training with those climbers in August and sets out for the peak in November.

“I’ve been training for this expedition since February,” Bowyer said.

“I’m on a regimented schedule.”

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