American Scene: Training on Everest climb helps man wins memory contest

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NEW YORK

Training on Everest climb helps man wins memory contest

NEW YORK | A Florida man who trained for a national memory competition by memorizing a randomly shuffled deck of cards as he climbed Mount Everest won the mental bout Saturday and broke a U.S. record.

Nelson Dellis, 28, of Miami, said his rigorous training for the challenge required him to reshuffle the deck of cards at each new altitude in his climb.

“I was getting my best times the higher I got,” said Mr. Dellis, who was surprised at his ability to stay focused as he made his way toward the summit before having to stop because of problems with his oxygen mask. “I was getting so much, much less oxygen up there.”

It was the second year in a row that Mr. Dellis won the USA Memory Championship, which was held in Manhattan. He also broke a record for memorizing 303 random numbers in five minutes, besting the previous record of 248 numbers in five minutes, which he himself set last year.

“It’s all tricks,” Mr. Dellis explained of his win. “I don’t have a good memory naturally. It’s something I learned and taught myself.”

Among the tricks he relies on is an ancient method he refers to as the “journey method,” where he visualizes memorized objects as he moves mentally through a place he knows well. To recall the information, he mentally walks back through the journey.

About 50 people competed in Saturday’s challenge of mnemonic skills that required them to recall random information including 99 names and faces, a 50-line unpublished poem and 200 random words.

ARIZONA

Navajos look at resort plan for eastern edge of Grand Canyon

FLAGSTAFF | Generations of Navajo families have grazed livestock on a remote but spectacular mesa that overlooks the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers.

No significant development has occurred at the eastern flank of the Grand Canyon where the rivers meet.

But ancestral tradition and the tranquility of the landscape could change. That’s if the Navajo government’s proposal for a resort and aerial tramway that would ferry tourists from the cliff tops to water’s edge is realized.

The vast 27,000-square-mile Navajo reservation abuts Grand Canyon National Park.

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