ONWARD AND UPWARD: Adventurer Robie Vaughn gets his kicks from
mountaineering. photography by Dan Sellers

Robie Vaughn is one of those enviable, larger-than-life types who can do just about anything he sets his mind to. He’s run eight marathons and completed the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. He’s raced in national skeletoning competitions and fought to bring the sport back to the Olympic Games in 2002 after a 54-year absence.

But there was an even bigger dream—a 29,035-foot-tall dream—that Vaughn had harbored since he was a kid: conquering Nepal’s Mount Everest. The MOUNTAINEERING man had tackled other peaks in the past, including two of the world’s “Seven Summits,” Alaska’s Denali/Mount McKinley and Argentina’s Aconcagua.

Finally, last May, Vaughn completed his quest for Everest after a nearly two-month journey from the mountain’s base to the summit, the tallest in the world, braving icefalls and freezing temperatures along the way. The sense of accomplishment, he says, was well worth the risk. “The experience was so different from my images of the mountain through reading books, accounts, and [seeing] photographs,” he says.

Now Vaughn, 52, plans to focus on his family, his golf game, and his business. His company, Vaughn Petroleum LLC, aggregates, manages, and operates mineral and royalty oil and gas interests throughout the United States. Naturally, though, he’s already got plans for his next great adventure. Though Vaughn says he may eventually “ease” through the remaining four of the Seven Summits, he has his sights set even higher: outer space, courtesy of the Virgin Galactic Spaceship II.

One doesn’t doubt he’ll get there, too.