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MANCHESTER, N.H. – As a Senior Risk Specialist at St. Mary’s Bank, the only risks Mike Boisvert is willing to take seems to be with his life. While some may have trouble wrapping their minds around an auditor who takes chances, Boisvert says he is just doing what comes naturally. After earning a degree in accounting, Boisvert started in items processing and moved up to quality control and then auditing for the past 15 years. “Now you don’t wake up saying I want to be an auditor,” said Boisvert. “I think I grew into it. It is interesting to not only get to see what everyone else does and how they connect with each other but also see if the controls in place are working as you like it. I feel like I’m really here to help.” According to Boisvert, auditing also gives him the flexibility to plan his adventure climbing trips. “I can take three weeks off without it being a big issue,” said Boisvert. “Whereas if I were in production it would be harder to get away.” Besides keeping safety in mind and not taking unnecessary risks Boisvert says that climbing and auditing have more in common than one may think. “They are similar in way because for a successful climb you have to plan for it, get the right people together with the right skills, set an agenda to meet specific goals for each day and plan for any delays or problems that may come up,” said Boisvert. “You also have to train before the trip and of course a little bit of luck always helps. Luck for climbing is good weather and for work it is as simple as working with a great bunch of people who are very team spirited that depend on each other to help a project continue.” Climbing his way up mountains since college, Boisvert tries to test his mountain climbing skills twice a month. He has climbed mountains in Alaska and Argentina and while friends are trying to talk him into trying snowboarding he says the climbing and his current activities of hiking and skiing keep him busy enough. About five years ago, the New Hampshire native began dreaming about climbing a 20,000-plus foot mountain. “I always wanted to go highest mountains in the world,” said Boisvert. “I’ve seen them in the picture books but there is nothing like seeing with my own eyes and I wanted to do something significant.” With Nepal as the next obvious challenge, Boisvert says since he couldn’t afford to climb Mount Everest he focused on the next best thing-the 20,035-foot Island Peak in the Himalayas. He then did research, organized the trek and found an outfitter that the entire group felt comfortable with. The three and a half week Himalayan adventure for the team of six climbers kicked off in Katmandu. The team then flew to Lukla at about 9,000 feet, to start the trek and meet their entourage of four yaks, seven porters, a cook and assistant, and two guides. To acclimate they went to Everest Base Camp and climbed Kala Pattar (18,300 feet), where they had clear views of the world’s highest mountains. “It’s the closest you can get to Everest without climbing on it,” said Boisvert. “We could see the route we took to get there, and the glaciers, creases and white-cap peaks that surrounded us.” Boisvert found that the villages were the most surprising part of the trip. “They are so small, so beautiful in their own way and how these people survive on farming with no machinery but all man made tools. Their homes are made of stone they chisel from six in the morning to six at night,” said Boisvert. “They had prayer flags that lit up countryside and prayer wheels. We made a point to spin them as we went by them. What was so amazing to us is the pride they have in their work and though in our minds they were poor they were still so happy and it was just beautiful.” It was not all peaceful. During the trip there was Maoist rebel activity so the group had to adhere to a strict curfew of 7 pm and were told that anyone out after dark would be shot. Boisvert said the group never felt threatened though they saw army men and machine guns. “If anything we felt safer because they were there for our protection,” said Boisvert. With the stars out, at 2 am the group started out from the Island Peak base camp and scrambled up a rock gully and hiked along a rock ridge. By mid morning the group had reached the glacier and roped together as a team up a headwall of ice and snow that was about 500 feet high and an “extremely steep vertical climb” until they reached the pinnacle. “It was a gorgeous day and we had the best view at the top,” said Boisvert. “It was just breathtaking.” So what is next for the risk-taking auditor? For now Boisvert says he is staying put and he’ll continue climbing locally but eventually he’d like to tackle Mount McKinley. [email protected]

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