Western Athletic Hall of Famer Larry Nielson and Western Athletics Historian Paul Madison will speak at Western Washington University at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 17 in Special Collections, Wilson Library, 6th floor.
The event is free and open to the public.
During this talk, Madison will interview Nielson about his historic ascent up the world’s highest mountain, and they will also discuss what motivated Nielson to pursue mountain climbing. On May 7, 1983, Nielson, along with three other Americans and a Nepalese Sherpa, summited the peak from the southeast ridge located on the Nepal-China border. Nielson was the first American mountaineer to climb Mt. Everest without using bottled oxygen.
Besides Everest, Nielson has climbed Mount Lobouche and the northeast face of Mount Kangchenjunga in Nepal; Peak Lenin in the former Soviet Union; Denali (Mount McKinley) and Mount La Perouse in Alaska; and on numerous occasions Mount Rainier in Washington State.
While a student at Western, Nielson was an outstanding runner in cross country and track and field, making national appearances in both sports. Nielson completed his teaching degree at Western in 1970, and earned a Master’s degree in psychology at Washington State University in 1976. He was inducted into the WWU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000, and received an Alumni Achievement Award from Washington State University in 2010.
Madison is serving his second year as Western Athletics Historian following nearly fifty years as Director of Sports Information at Western. He was inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 2011, and received the WWU Athletics Lynda Goodrich Legacy Award in 2015. Madison first met Nielson when they were both students at Western in 1966, and he was a member of the first journalism class to graduate from Western in 1971. He is the author of the online series “Carver Memories,” which shares stories and interviews with former Western student athletes, coaches, and staff.
The talk is being offered as part of the Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers program, which are events featuring presenters who are authorities in their respective fields and who have used Heritage Resources collections significantly in their research. For more information about the event, please contact Tony Kurtz, University Archivist, at (360) 650-3124 or Tony.Kurtz@wwu.edu.