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Globe West People

Conquering Everest

By Cindy Cantrell
April 3, 2011

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When Ed Webster visited Cary Memorial Library in his native Lexington last August, crowds filled the lecture room as well as the overflow area into which his voice and photographs were electronically transmitted.

Next Sunday at 2 p.m., he will revisit Lexington to discuss his climbing expeditions on Mount Everest, but this time in the 780-seat Cary Hall, at 1605 Massachusetts Ave.

Webster, who now lives in Maine, will share some of the 450 photographs featured in his 2001 autobiography, “Snow in the Kingdom,’’ which details his five “storm years’’ following the climbing death of his girlfriend, Lauren Husted, in Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Webster said he is looking forward to returning to his hometown, where he attended Fiske Elementary School and Diamond Junior High (since reconfigured as a middle school), and graduated from Lexington High in 1974.

It was while he was climbing trees 30 to 40 feet high at his childhood home on Hancock Street that his mother glimpsed his future.

“I was 10 or 11 when she had the motherly intuition that maybe if she got me a book on mountain climbing, I’d learn to use a rope for safety,’’ said Webster, recalling how he was “completely captivated’’ by the book his mother borrowed from Cary Memorial Library: “Everest Diary,’’ by Lute Jerstad.

Webster, who started honing his rock-climbing skills on Meriam Hill in Lexington, said he hopes youngsters will attend his family-friendly presentation, which he said will emphasize preparation, teamwork, and pursuing a dream.

Between 1985 and 1988, Webster attempted to reach the summit of Mount Everest from its west, north, and east sides, from both Nepal and Tibet. Two years after he soloed the northern peak of Changtse, he joined a four-man team in pioneering a new route up the eastern Kangshung Face of Everest without supplementary oxygen, radios, or the traditional support of Sherpas.

“The four of us all got frostbite, but we helped each other survive and we’re all still best friends,’’ said Webster, who lost eight fingertips to frostbite after removing the outer layer of his gloves for less than two minutes to take photographs of the sunrise 300 vertical feet short of the main summit. The descent was no less harrowing, as the climbers had no food for the final 3 1/2 days.

“We were in bad shape when we got down, but it’s an epic story with a happy ending,’’ said Webster, who believes that appreciating nature is more important than ever in today’s technological age. “The mountains are such a huge part of my life, and they’re still out there waiting for other kids to make their mark with their own adventures.’’

Sponsored by Cary Memorial Library, the event is free and tickets are not required. For more information about Webster, go to www.mtnimagery.com.

HELPFUL PHOTOS: Inspired by a commercial for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Kim Rosen of Marlborough signed up six years ago to make monthly donations as a “Partner in Hope’’ for the nonprofit organization. After a friend’s 3-year-old son succumbed to cancer in May 2010, however, her crusade against pediatric cancer became personal.

“I had to do something,’’ she said, “so I promised him that I would keep fighting because he couldn’t anymore.’’

That month, Rosen founded Photos for Cures. An amateur photographer, she takes unlimited posed and candid photos for any occasion (except weddings) for $25 per hour, 100 percent of which is donated to the research hospital in Memphis. She performs basic photo editing before uploading the images to Snapfish.com, from which clients can order prints.

She has volunteered for 27 weekend photo shoots, raising nearly $1,500. That’s on top of $10,500 that Rosen raised for St. Jude through fund-raisers she organized from 2007-09.

Rosen said her goal is to play a part in a cure for pediatric cancer.

“It’s completely unfair for children to go through what I refer to as an adult’s illness,’’ she said.

For more information, e-mail Rosen at stjudelover13@gmail.com or visit www.photosforcures.com.

PRIZE STORY FOR PROFESSOR: A short story by Kenneth Calhoun, an assistant professor of graphic design at Lasell College in Newton, was selected as one of 20 stories from hundreds of literary magazines for publication in “The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories — 2011.’’

His story, “Nightblooming,’’ originally appeared in the Paris Review, and has also run in Fence magazine, Quick Fiction, and “New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 2010.’’

Calhoun is the chair of Lasell’s recently established art and graphic design department. He previously taught at two schools in North Carolina, as an assistant professor of interactive media at Elon University, and a visiting professor at Duke University. Calhoun is also active in documentary filmmaking, interactive design, and music composition.

“Nightblooming’’ is posted online at www.theparisreview.org.

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Lawyer Leonard Nason of Lexington will be a featured speaker at the American Bar Association’s annual Workers Compensation Midwinter Seminar and Conference, which will take place Thursday through Saturday at the Hotel InterContinental Boston. Nason, who practices in Bedford, on Thursday will moderate “Health Care in the Obama Age,’’ a panel discussion with Boston College professor Dean M. Hashimoto and Donald F. Baldini of Liberty Mutual Group Inc. in Boston.

Emerson Hospital of Concord has two new members on its board of directors. Concord resident Patrick J. Flynn is an entrepreneur who recently founded Assabet Ventures, a venture capital company focused on start-ups and early stage growth companies. Jill Stansky of Sudbury is a trustee of the Sudbury Foundation and a founder and copresident of HOPEsudbury, a grass-roots organization that provides emergency financial assistance to Sudbury residents.

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@globe.com.