The Chapman pennant is now climbing Everest!

John and Ryan Dahlem on Cho Oyu
John Dahlem (left) and his son Ryan on Cho Oyu, the sixth highest peak in the world, on their 2008 expedition. You can see Mt. Everest in the background.

If you’ve been at Chapman a while, you know the fascinating tale of the Chapman University pennant that has accompanied President Jim Doti on many grueling climbs of the world’s highest peaks — he’s carried it to the top of four of the Seven Summit so far: Mts. Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Vinson.   When it’s not packed in with climbing supplies and on its way to a summit, that proud and well-traveled pennant is on display in the Leatherby Libraries in the Doti-Struppa Mountaineering Collection on the second floor. 

However, if you go to look at the collection right now, you’ll find the pennant is not there.  That’s because it’s currently on its way to the summit of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest! 

This time it’s not President Doti who’s carrying it there (though we can bet that he wishes he was part of this adventure — and it is on his wish list!).  The climbers, both good friends of Chapman and President Doti, are John and Ryan Dahlem.  They are the only other people to have previously carried the Chapman pennant to the summit of one of the world’s great peaks – it went with them to the top of Cho Oyu in the Himalayas in 2008.  So when they asked President Doti for his permission to carry the pennant with them on their Everest expedition, he gladly gave it.

Dr. John Dahlem of Huntington Beach, retired principal in the Anaheim school system and a distinguished member of the Orange County education community, and his son Ryan Dahlem of Aliso Viejo, a school administrator,  have climbed five of the Seven Summits so far – Everest, the Big One, is their sixth.

two men smiling with hiking equipment
Chancellor Struppa and President Doti in front of the Leatherby Libraries display where The Pennant (background) usually resides.

Climbing Everest is a lengthy and risky challenge, reserved for the most experienced climbers only.  The trek takes up to two months and can be quite dangerous, depending on the climbers’ acumen and the vagaries of weather conditions.  The Dahlems won’t be back until June.

We will keep you updated on the progress of the expedition to summit the Chapman pennant, or you can follow John and Ryan’s climb and trace their route on the expedition blog here:

Read David Whiting’s three-part
Orange County Register
story on the Dahlems’ 2008 climb of treacherous Cho Oyu:

Dawn Bonker

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