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Weekend Treks Up Disneyland’s Matterhorn Keep His Life in Balance

Frank Nosalek needs a break from his two jobs, from the freeway traffic crush and from the pace of his everyday life. So every weekend, he climbs a mountain.

In fact, he has climbed the 147-foot Matterhorn at Disneyland every weekend for the last 3 1/2 years. The climb takes just 30 minutes, so he does it four times each day.

“Technically, the Matterhorn at Disneyland is similar to other mountains and in some cases can be more slippery and more difficult than real mountains,” he said. “There are some areas of the Matterhorn I haven’t climbed yet.”

Before he began his weekend job at Disneyland, Nosalek had scaled the 14,512-foot backside of Mount Whitney and once climbed part of the real 14,690-foot Matterhorn when he lived in Europe.

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Nosalek was born and raised in West Germany, and his mother was a guide in the Austrian Alps.

“You go through different feelings when you climb real mountains and the one at Disneyland,” said Nosalek, 27, of Huntington Beach. “The scenery is breathtaking, and you can’t help but realize how small your are.

“It’s an unbelieveable feeling when you reach the top of the peak of a real mountain. It’s hard work, but it’s well worth it and it’s plain fun.”

But Nosalek said the Disneyland Matterhorn continues to thrill him and the other seven climbers who regularly scale the man-made peak on weekends to entertain the crowds below.

“On the clearest day you can see Catalina, the Hollywood sign and the skyscrapers in Los Angeles,” he said. “And we can hear all the sounds from the crowd below.”

Nosalek said climbing real mountains “taught me how to push myself, and I found I have a lot more energy and perseverance than I thought I had. It’s like an avalanche. You have strength inside that you didn’t know you had.”

He also found “climbing relaxes my mind and allows for a lot of reflecting during rest times.”

During the week, Nosalek is an account executive for an advertising agency and operates his own computer consulting service.

“It’s hard work to juggle everything, and time management is important,” he said. “I have many goals and financial independence is one of them.”

Another is a college education, which was put on hold. “Schooling was interfering with my career,” said Nosalek, who once attended Fullerton College. “I was blessed with some incredible opportunities and couldn’t pass them up.”

Phil Miller, 58, believes in body language and said it helped when he joined the Marine Corps 40 years ago as an enlisted man and realized he would be better off as an officer.

“I went to the library and read a book on body language, and it said one way to get a position was to act, look and use language of the position you wanted,” recalled the Brea resident. He was later commissioned as an officer.

Now he’s giving talks on body language to various Orange County groups. He often throws in a little humor during his talks such as the one he gave recently to the Brea Chamber of Commerce.

For instance, he said there’s a good chance people are lying if they touch their face below the bridge of their nose and above the lip. But he points out, “Of course they could just have a cold.”

Along with his human interaction talks, as he calls them, Miller sometimes works as a stand-up comedian in area comedy clubs.

“It’s a real challenge to get up in front of people and make them laugh, especially when you’re double and triple the age of most of the audience,” he said. “But it does sharpen me up for my other talks.”

Acknowledgments--Cathy Lee, 33, of Huntington Beach, who was born deaf, later this month will have a new companion in Rosie, a certified hearing ear dog. The $3,500 to train and place the 18-month-old German shorthair pointer was donated by the White Rose Rebekah Lodge in Solvang. The dog was given to Dogs for the Deaf in Central Point, Ore., by an anonymous donor.


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