Christopher Czaplicki, M.D., gripped the back of the seat in front of him. Dr. Czaplicki, a radiology resident at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, is usually a fearless flier. He's traveled throughout the world, covering thousands of miles in planes of all sizes. But this journey, from Kathmandu, Nepal, to the tiny village of Lukla some 90 miles away, was different. Though he would soon be attempting to climb 21,247 feet to the top of Mera Peak in the Everest region, "the flight is what had me awake, staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m.," Dr. Czaplicki tells us. And with good reason. The Lukla airport, officially known as the Tenzing Hillary airport, is unofficially known as the world's most dangerous. (Just Google "Lukla" to see why.)
Some 45 minutes after taking off, Dr. Czaplicki touched down safely. It was the second stop in a journey that combined two of his loves: service and climbing.
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.