WHO: I’m part of an 8-member expedition team climbing Everest. I’m climbing with Summitclimb, an expedition company run by Dan Mazur. My friend Mitch Lewis, who climbed Denali with me, recommended Summitclimb for Everest and since I trust Mitch completely, I signed the papers a few weeks later. Mountaineering expeditions generally attract A-type personalities who have accomplishments that run a mile-long. This trip is no different. I have only spent a few days with my fellow teammates but so far, I’m humbled by their background. Jon from the US has a PhD in mountain geography and spent the past summer solo climbing all 14000ers in Colorado. He’s written a book about it and takes time every day to write posts or link up with Fox-31 Denver news to do daily reports. I sit next to him a lot, hoping he will motivate me to be a better person (and post more), but mostly, I spend my time shaking my head in awe and envy. Urs is a Swiss pilot and flies Airbuses around Europe. I like pilots. He doesn’t know it yet, but he was my bosom buddy from the moment we first met. UK Richie is a private security guy. He spent a lot of time in Iraq and he’s a cross between my Kabul friends Mick and Graham. One of the first things he said to me is: “Don’t you just hate it when you go home from a place like Afghanistan, and most of the people around you just don’t get what you’ve lived through?” I liked him immediately. Then there’s Australian Steve, who also spent time in the military before starting his own leadership development company in the US. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and likes getting up at 5am to take pictures. Another bosom buddy. The others, I don’t know well yet, but I have weeks to learn all about them.
WHAT: I’m climbing Everest. Really climbing it – all the way to the top. I’ll be fitted with crampons, a harness and an ice axe for the better part of a month.
WHERE: There are a number of routes you can take to climb Everest. The two main routes are the Nepalese (South Col) and the Tibetan (North Col) routes. Each have their pros and cons. Going through the Nepalese side means multiple passes through the Khumbu icefall – the most dangerous section of the whole climb, largely due to the risk of ice or serac towers collapsing in the area without warning. But the Nepalese side is usually about 10 degrees warmer than the Tibetan side, which is the main reason I chose to go from the Nepalese side.
WHEN: Everest takes two months to climb as it’s necessary to climb slowly in order to acclimatize properly. I left Kathmandu on April 10th and expect to make a first summit attempt sometime mid May. My expedition ends in Kathmandu on June 6th.
HOW: My expedition team is unguided. However, and as a kind of insurance policy, I have hired a personal sherpa who will be climbing with me the entire way. Lakpa Sherpa has climbed Everest seven times already and could sling two of me over his shoulder. The more I spend time with him, the happier I am that I get to have him as my climbing partner.
WHY: Because I’ve been dreaming about climbing Mt Everest every stupid day for the past twelve years and I finally saved up enough money to do it.