National Geographic : 2003 Jul
Ben Nevis's summit is the highest point in Great Britain. But that's like being the longest hole on a miniature golf course. month before the climb, Tom called to say he was filling out the official entry forms; he needed to know my age. "Fifty eight," I replied. This was followed by a long, pregnant silence from the other end of the phone. "Well, you're a really fit 58, right?" he finally replied. As that exchange made clear to me, there was a yawning gap between me and the six strapping athletes on my team, some of them a quarter century younger than I was. But the group welcomed me nonetheless, particularly the gruff, amiable Kelvin, who, at 42, had been the Old Man of the team until I came along. During a planning session at the fire station, I was delighted to find that several members of Team Perkins It's the "most beautiful of the peaks," Kelvin says of Scotland's Ben Nevis (below), though "you don't appreciateit when you go for speed." Their fast pace later slowed the team: Pete twisted an ankle and Julian straineda knee.