Yasuyuki Okubo (38), a deaf company employee in the Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, plans to reach the top of Vinson Massif (4,897 meters/16,050 ft), the highest mountain of Antarctica in December.
Okubo lost hearing due to sickness at the age of three. If his challenge succeeds, he will be the first deaf person in the world according to the South Pole travel agent.
He has reached both the North Pole and the South Pole in spite of his deafness. He says, "I want to tell people that the dream will be fulfilled even if you have a disability."
Okubo will be on the tour that the American business sponsors. He will leave Japan on December 13, and arrive the Patriot Hills in the South Pole via Chile. Later he will proceed to the base of the mountain by airplane, etc., and then start climbing on December 17. His return is scheduled around January 10, 2009.
Okubo traveled around the world, mainly Asia and South America since his twenties. He has finally landed on all of the seven continents in the world in May, 2007.
The strong desire for challenging the untouched region forced him to do the training repeatedly at the mountains including Hakusan and Tateyama despite of being irritated with financial difficulties.
There will be more danger for Okubo as the wireless will not be used in the South Pole because of deafness in addition to a severe environment of 30 degrees under the freezing point. His body will be tied to the guide's with the rope to secure the safety while climbing to the top of the mountain.
Okubo aims to become one of the "Seven Summitters" who have conquered the highest peaks of the mountains of the seven continents in the world. He has reached Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in the Africa continent, on the New Year's Day, 2008.
The prefectural school for the deaf, his alma mater, celebrates the 100th anniversary this year. He said that he wanted to show the deaf children how he kept challenging by the second adventure this time.
Source: The Hokkoku Shimbun, Oct. 8, 2008