Roanoke College graduate sets world record across Nepal

SALEM, Va. - Roanoke College alumnus Sean Burch, once described by National Geographic as "one of the world's most extreme adventurers," has claimed the world record for fastest crossing of Nepal.

Burch - a 1992 graduate - hiked, climbed and ran across the South Asian country in a record 49 days, 6 hours and 8 minutes last October. He shattered the previous record of 68 days, set by adventurer Rosie Swale Pope seven years ago.

Burch covered 1,250 miles, facing monsoons, blinding snowstorms, hypothermia and leeches. In a blog post during his east-to-west trek through the Himalayas, he wrote: "I'm slipping, sliding, climbing, losing my mind. Long day, desperate, completely exhausted, upset, aching, dizzy. We keep going higher, and there is not a damn thing I can do about it."

CNN followed Burch on his journey. He told the network that he was "elated and psyched" once the trek ended at the border crossing into China on Oct. 11, 2010. He said he collapsed just over the border, having pushed 15 to 16 hours a day for 49 days "doing some hard climbs."

It is Burch's sixth world record. His previous records include: World Record for Fastest Winter Ascent of Mt. Fuji (Japan); World Record for 63 Summits of Unclimbed Peaks in 23 Days (Solo, Tibet); and Guinness World Records for Fastest Ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Fastest Time for Northern Most Marathon, and Jump Rope at Altitude.

Burch told CNN that his next adventure will be in a much warmer climate. "The higher altitude here is doing havoc to my frostbite from my previous expeditions," he said. "I'm going to keep with the warm weather, go to some of the deserts."

To hear and read more about Sean Burch's trek across Nepal, visit CNN and Outside Magazine

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just 280 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the "best in the Southeast" and U.S. News & World Report includes Roanoke on its "Up-and-coming National Liberal Arts Colleges" list.

Released: February 17, 2011
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