AAPG's unofficial but celebrated "mountain
man" led a record-breaking ascent to the top of the world last year,
but that hasn't slowed his plans for further adventures.
Pasquale Scaturro's next project? He's planning a
28,000-mile trek by Land Rover from London to Cape Town, South Africa.
Scaturro, a Denver-based, 48-year-old exploration
geophysicist who organized last year's Mt. Everest expedition in
which a blind man reached the summit, has rafted some of the world's
toughest rivers as well as scaled mountain peaks around the globe.
He divides his time between these adventures and independent exploration
and gas work in some of the remotest parts of the world.
He is currently working in Azerbaijan, in the Republic
"I've been there for four years," he said. "We've
taken concessions in Georgia onshore in existing oilfields. We're
doing oilfield rehabilitation, running the whole gamut of 3-D in
former Soviet oilfields. It requires going in and taking the old
Soviet databases and capturing them, converting them into western
format, making new base maps, evaluating old logs and then shooting
new 3-D seismic."
Along with cleaning up existing wells, the crew also
is looking for new wells, he said.
Some of the old wells date back to the 1930s and
"They're stripped fields," he said. "The Soviets
drilled them up and basically just left them, because in the 1970s
the Soviets got real involved in Northern Russia and left these
said he would like to do some more exploration work in Africa, which
he calls his "favorite place."
just completed leading a 700-kilometer raft trip down the Omo River
in Ethiopia, a five-week effort that involved Americans, Brits and
Ethiopian helpers, and included 22 days on the river.
This marked Scaturro's second trip down the Omo River.
He rafted it before in 1994, which marked the end of two years of
oil and gas work for him in Ethiopia.
"I explored the whole southern section of Ethiopia,"
a pattern that has served him well during his entire career: Scaturro
spends about half his time on expeditions and the rest of his time
working in oil and gas. His partner Kurt Hoppe, also a mountaineer,
covers for him while he's gone on long expeditions.
"I work really hard," Scaturro said, "and then I
just juggle it when I lead huge expeditions."
Last spring's Mt. Everest expedition was sponsored
by the National Federation of the Blind and was one of the most
talked about expeditions of the year.
It set four new records:
- The first blind man to climb Mt. Everest.
- The largest team to make the climb in one day.
- The first father-and-son team to reach the peak together.
- The oldest man to reach the summit — a 64-year-old climber.
It was Scaturro's idea for blind climber Erik Weihenmayer
to scale Mt. Everest.
"I met Eric three years ago and asked him if he wanted
to do it," Scaturro said. "He said 'yeah,' and we started planning
Weihenmayer, 33, lost his sight at the age of 13,
the victim of a rare hereditary disease of the retina. He began
mountain climbing in his early 20s and has scaled Denali in Alaska,
Kilimanjaro in Africa and Aconcagua in Argentina along with other
He ran into Scaturro at a sportswear trade show in
Salt Lake City, and the two hit it off immediately.
Scaturro, a Mt. Everest veteran (see cover and p.28
of March 1999 EXPLORER), had climbed Mt. Everest in 1998 but did
not scale the peak this last time. He reached the "balcony," but
a respiratory infection forced him to return to base camp — especially
since the rest of the team was doing so well.
"I was up ahead of the group and I was really tired,"
he said, realizing that he was suffering from an upper respiratory
infection that was "spreading around" the team. "I went back down
and ran the expedition from the south col at 26,000 feet."
Without Scaturro, there were 19 team members in the
group. All of them reached the summit.
"I was able to coordinate things," he said. "It was
considered the most successful Everest expedition in history."
He noted that the entire expedition was done with
no injuries or incidents of frostbite.
"There were no problems at all. It was almost too
effortless," he said. "It was bad weather, but it all had to do
with planning. We were very strict with what we were planning to
Climb Every Mountain
Scaturro's skill in planning also helps make his
international oil and gas efforts successful. Close teamwork and
reliance on good employees also contributes to success, he said.
Scaturro has completed seven Himalayan expeditions
including the summits of Cho Oyu and Pumori. He also has climbed
in the mountain regions of Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Europe, Africa,
the Andes and North America.
He has spent 20 years running and guiding white water
rafting trips and has logged a number of first descents of rivers
in Africa. Organizing and leading expeditions in some of the most
remote parts of the world is a big thrill, he said.
"I enjoy the challenge," he said.
Similarly, he also enjoys the challenge of running
oil and gas exploration projects in remote areas like Tunisia, South
America and Africa. He also has overseen geophysical operations
in the Rocky Mountain region and California.
For the next couple of months, Scaturro plans to
stay home in Denver and catch up on work. Then he plans to go on
an expedition with his wife to the Grand Canyon.
After that, he's off to climb the Himalayan mountains
in Burma. Later, he wants to drive from London to Cape Town, South
Africa, over a period of several months.
He's looking for a partner on the driving excursion
so they can take two vehicles and do the trip in stages.
"I want to visit every country in Africa and explore
it," he said. "Some of these (adventures) may not happen, but I