Four-Wheel Bob Tackles Kili or Aconcagua

Wheelchair hiker aims to be the first to the roof of Africa or South America
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Wheelchair hiker aims to be the first to the roof of Africa or South America

BACKPACKER map correspondent Bob Coomber is unstoppable: In addition to tackling most of the Bay Area's trails, Coomber—better known as Four Wheel Bob—became the first wheelchair athlete to reach the top of a 14,000-foot mountain. BACKPACKER chronicled his ascent of California's White Mountain in "Hell On Wheels."

Now, Four-Wheel Bob has set his sights even higher: He hopes to be the first person in a wheelchair to top out on either Kilimanjaro or Aconcagua, which tower over 19,000 and 22,000 feet above sea level, respectively. He thinks both mountains have feasible trails that can accomodate his wheels, but the final determination of which peak he'll climb rests with his potential sponsors.

"I have no idea if it's doable, but I would love the opportunity to just get there and start off," Coomber said. "I have to do something to prove to myself that I haven't reached the zenith of my life yet."

Earlier this year, President Bush awarded Coomber the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Community Leadership award. If we've learned anything about Coomber, it's that the man is possessed by a spirit and drive that dwarfs, well, pretty much anyone.

A wheelchair summit of Aconcagua or Kilimanjaro might seem impossible, but I wouldn't bet against him—my money's on Four Wheel Bob.

—Ted Alvarez

Wheelchair athlete sets high goals (SF Gate)

Image Credit: Tom Mangan/Two-Heel Drive