Personal Lives

First American to Complete ‘Peak and Pond’ Is Lawyer Low on Funds, High on Motivation

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An Iowa lawyer is downplaying his “peak and pond” accomplishment—climbing Mount Everest and swimming the English Channel—because he wore a wetsuit to ward off the hypothermia that doomed his swim two years ago.

It took 33-year-old Charles Wittmack 12 hours to complete his swim, reports. He is the first American and fourth person to finish the “peak and pond.” He climbed Mount Everest in 2003.

“Physically it’s hard, but the mental challenge is so far beyond that,” Wittmack told ESPN. “You go through every type of discomfort you can imagine. Your body is in constant pain. You’re hungry. You’re tired. Everything hurts. You know it isn’t going to stop for a long, long time. And you don’t know how long.”

Wittmack’s swim is part of what he calls a “World Triathlon,” Radio Iowa reports. His plan is to swim, bike, run and climb almost 12,000 miles through 12 countries. Already, he has endured “stormy weather, waters filled with jellyfish and eels and severe bouts of illness,” the story says. He and his wife sold their house and vehicles to sponsor the effort.

“A week ago, my fever was up to 104,” Wittmack told Radio Iowa. “I spent about a day vomiting trying to get all the fluids out of body, involuntarily. It takes a while to bounce back from that.”

He still hopes to find sponsors for his World Triathlon. “Every time we turn around, we’re trying to cut the budget,” he told Radio Iowa for its Aug. 6 story. “Tonight, for dinner, I had five peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So we’re trying to make do with the limited resources we have.”

Traditionally channel swimmers don’t wear wetsuits, but they are allowed by the Channel Crossing Association that certified Wittmack’s swim, the Des Moines Register reports. During his swim he ate bananas and drank Red Bull.

A website identifies Wittmack as a motivational speaker and a litigator with the Davis Brown Law Firm.

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