Back in New Haven, we still find time to ask each other, “Why aren’t we in the desert?” and also “What if we were on the North Rim right now?” It turns out it is possible to long for a place even if it accused you of a felony, even if it is full of plagued squirrels, and even if it isn’t the wilderness you imagined it to be.
Richard Casten GRD ’64 ’67: Hiker, Asthmatic, Death-Defier
Richard Casten GRD ’64 ’67, a physics professor at Yale, has about 30 percent of normal lung function. Still, Casten has taken on climbing and hiking throughout the world, reaching heights that are life-threatening to a respiratory system like his. With steely determination, Casten has traveled throughout the United States to test his body at high altitudes, including a recent 18,000-foot climb to a Mt. Everest basecamp. Because of his severe asthma, this achievement shocked and worried his doctors, who say that his oxygen level during the ascent was that of a patient near death. But to Casten, the fact that he should have been dead was not enough to end his vacation. Back safely, he is here to tell WEEKEND his story about patience and persistence, and overcoming the odds, and sticking it to the man and stuff.
The afternoon I got locked in the fridge, I shared it with five dead pigs and one dead deer. The pigs came from a local farm, the deer came from a local forest and I came from Yale, where we never see deer and where we only see pigs after they’ve been converted into pulled pork, sauced and served on artisan ciabatta.