Wednesday, March 31, 2010

All flights delayed due to weather

APRIL FOOLS! We left our hotel at 5:30 this morning, checked in at the domestic terminal, and was on the plane at 6:30. The flight in to Lukla went great and we are ready to hit the trail toward Everest Basecamp. We will lodge this evening in Phakding at our Sirdar's guestlodge. Tomorrow we will head to Namche Bazaar and I hope to be able to attach photos there. The computer I am on is not working properly. C'est la vie. Oh boy! Oh boy! It's really happening.

And the rains came tumbling down

The Kathmandu Valley has been crucially dry for some time. Very little, if any, rain has fallen for a long time. I am told that a sprinkle here or there has happened but nothing steady, until last night. We received a huge downpour and a big lightning show. This was totally in our favor as it cut down the dust and pollution in the city. This little event has allowed for some beautiful views further in to the Kathmandu Valley. Some that I have never witnessed in my previous visits. I went back to one of the highest points in town for a little visit and just enjoyed my final day in Kathmandu, I hope.
The tiny town of Lukla can have very fickle weather. Clouds often obscure all views of the Lukla airstrip. Since this airstrip has a mountain at one end, a cliff at the other, and is pitched steeply uphill I don't mind one bit if the pilot waits for the views to be perfect. Just Google the airstrip and you will see exactly what I mean. Currently, it is another deluge outside so we are all hoping that the weather clears for the morning. I am optimistic that it will. I hope the next update will be from the Khumbu Valley of the high Himalaya. Cheers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monkey See - Monkey Do

I truly wish that every person had the opportunity to travel to a 3rd world country. As Americans we are so blessed far beyond what is even imaginable here in Nepal. I just read an article in the newspaper today that said most Nepalese do not even get 1 meal per day let alone the 3 or more that we are used to in America. How heartbreaking. It is easy to see why so many people beg on the streets of Kathmandu. Just consider that I get cranky when I miss a snack let alone 2 or more meals in a row. What does that say about me? I pause for thought.

Today was spent wondering through some of the poorest of the poor districts in Kathmandu. I went through these areas because I wanted to visit the Monkey Temple. This is one of the holiest of sights for the Nepalese people who are devout Buddhist. There must have been some sort of festival or holiday going on today because there were more people at the temple than I have ever seen. I just worked my way in to the crowds and climbed the 1000+ steps up the hillside to the very top. That explains the nasty sweat spot in the picture above.

One thing I did notice this time was that there are many more baby monkeys than in previous visits. Some are cute looking but I have been told never to look or even stare in to the monkeys eyes. This gesture is interpreted as aggression. Couple that with their sharp teeth and the knowledge of biting people, I decided not to take any chances. I quickly snapped a few photos of the monkeys and walked by quickly. Although, the antagonist in me had to make a few chirps and squeeks and grunts and whistles just to see if I could spook them. No such luck. One did look at me as if to say "Dude, grow up". I just laughed to myself and kept on.

Another cool thing today is that most of our team has arrived in Kathmandu. We are just waiting on 1 more to arrive tomorrow and then the trip officially begins April 1st with the commencement of the trek in to Everest Basecamp. We are a team of 6 climbers and we are all getting along great. It is so nice to have a small team. My previous Everest trip saw a team of 23 climbers. To big for my taste. I also met our Sirdar. This is the head sherpa. He is very famous as far as sherpas go. He was also the sherpa responsible for carrying the IMAX camera to the summit of Everest in 1996. He is hilarious as well and we have already compared notes on just how funny we think we are. Thanks a million for following along. More tomorrow as we hope to wind down this initial phase of our journey to the highest piece of real estate on Earth.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's great to be back in Kathmandu

Well, I have arrived safely in Kathmandu. More importantly is that all of my baggage has arrived as well. On my last trip here 1 of my bags was delayed a day. I am so thankful I did not have to worry about that this time. I arrived at 11:00pm last night and was brought to my hotel. The Courtyard Hotel is fantastic. Much better than when I was here previously. I was able to get a little sleep but I am still adjusting. The time difference between Kathmandu and Denver is 11hr 45min ahead (don't ask why the odd number).
After a superb breakfast I walked around and met old friends. We greeted each other as if no time has passed. This culture is much different than home. After a lovely cup of coffee I went to my favorite barber for a haircut and a straight razor shave. Oh, I also got a head and neck massage. The damage for this little bit of indulgence was a cool 320 rupees. For you math majors that is $3 U.S. What a country! The first picture above is me post-shave and haircut at my hotel's courtyard. The second picture is of a typical street scene in the Thamel district.
Thank you everyone for all of your kind thoughts and prayers. They are much needed and appreciated. For the rest of the day I shall meet up with more friends and head to some of my favorite eating places. I will try and upload more pics as the days come. Right now my schedule is that we fly to Lukla (that is Peterson Int'l Airfield for Bob at Piper Electric) on April 1st and begin our 9 day journey to Everest Basecamp. More to come later. Thanks for following my great Everest Adventure.  

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The 13 hour layover...

I have arrived safely in Hong Kong after a 14.5 hour flight. That does not include additional time in the plane for boarding and getting off. The flight went quickly and I ate as much food as the ladies would give me from Cathay Pacific Airlines. I watched some climbing videos on the plane just to keep me psyched. Another thing that is keeping me psyched is getting to see old friends in Nepal. Since this is my 4th time climbing there I have made some wonderful friendships both Nepalese and non.
So what to do on a 13 hour layover? For those who know me you will not be surprised to find me eating. Hong Kong has some great seafood. Yummy. A little email followed by a nap (I hope) and I will be ready for my next flight. My flight to Kathmandu via Bangledesh is 6hr 25min so my time of sitting still is not yet over. Oh well, more yummy airline food.

Thank you everyone for your comments on these entries. They really uplift my spirits. Is that seafood I smell...?

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's time to go!

Well, everything is in place. All gear has been packed. It's time to leave. It has been 3 years since I have last climbed in the Himalayas. I sure do miss the beauty and grandeur of the mighty Himalayan Range. As well, I miss the sights, sounds, and people of Nepal. Nepal is the poorest country in the entire world. Even poorer than the poorest of African nations. In Nepal people have to save up just to be poor (o.k. bad joke). However, the Nepalese do not know the meaning of "materialistic". They only have food for the next meal, clothing for the next day, and a smile that will last forever. For some reason the Nepalese are always smiling and happy. Why is that I have wondered? Possibly because they are not caught up in trying to "keep up with the Joneses." Family is all they need and a friend or two makes everything just right. I look forward to the lessons in giving and humility that I am sure they will unknowingly instruct me in. And with that I am off to the airport. After many years of dreaming, reading about, and watching videos on TV I am off to climb Mount Everest. It's still feels like a dream - a climber's dream. May God richly bless your life as He has mine.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

3 days left and a grateful heart

Wow! Is it true! Surely I must be dreaming. In fact I am not. I have less than 72 hours until I leave for Nepal and my attempt upon Mount Everest. So much time, preparation, committment, and money have gone in to making this dream a reality. I have so much to be thankful for and so many people to thank.
First and foremost I thank God. In today's society that almost seems cliche. Kind of like the thing to do when accepting some award or for being recognized for some great achievement. However, I genuinely am thankful for His loving hand of guidance upon my life. A close second is my wife and son. They have sacrificed so much while I have prepared, in earnest, for this expedition for some time now. A huge dept of gratitude is owed to my employer, Piper Electric Co., Inc.. I truly am blessed to have an employer so supportive of my endeavors and so willing to partner with me on this lofty attempt. I thank the MaGills (Mark, Matthew, and Daniel) for their generous gift of (1) carabiner and some new 6mm prussik cord. I thank everyone who I have shared a trail, a summit, or a rope with this past year. Your company is priceless. I must not forget my great pals at Combat Calisthenics (Nick's girls - (Donna, Sharon, Jolene), Beth, Ronno, Kurt, Nick, and Sean Lowe). You have pushed me physically beyond what I have imagined. I especially enjoy the insightful talks on ObamaCare. Although, I repsectfully disagree.
Who else? So many people are owed a thank you that I know I have forgot some. Please do not  underestimate my gratefulness.
I have most of my gear already set aside and ready to pack away into my travel duffels. Every single piece of gear is accounted for and ready for use. This is so cool! My flight leaves Denver International Airport at 4:00pm on Friday the 26th of March. I fly direct to Los Angeles and after a brief layover I fly direct to Hong Kong. This will be a long flight (14 hours +). After a long 15 hour layover in Hong Kong I fly to Kathmandu, Nepal with a brief stop in Dhaka, Bangledesh to pick up a few people. All said and done I arrive at 10:30pm on Sunday evening. I will send 1 more update before I leave and then I will report live from the beautiful foothills of the high Himalaya. Oh, if you are reading this - Thank you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One week to go!

Just one week to go and I am on my way. I made all of my last minute purchases this evening and I now have everything I need. I think? I am so excited. In some ways it feel like I am dreaming. Every year at this time I am reading and rereading all of the blogs and websites I can just to climb vicariously through others who are headed to Everest. This year is different. I am the one who is climbing Everest. How cool is that? My physical training is done. I am now resting my body, allowing it to heal from any minor irritations, and just enjoying my last week with my family before I begin a wonderful journey.
For those who are interested in following along on my blog as I attempt to climb Mount Everest, my goal is to update this blog directly from the mountain every couple of days. I will try to provide up to the minute photographs for you to enjoy and a little story as to what has been going on. Thanks for following along. Please keep my wife, son, and I in your thoughts and prayers over the next 2 months. Safety is paramount and will not be recklessly compromised.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Climbing in the weather and feeling under the weather

I truly am blessed to be able to live in the beautiful State of Colorado. Even more so to live within walking distance of some of Colorado's most beautiful hiking trails. Last Saturday saw Gavin, Nick and I hiking to the top of Goat Peak in Waterton Canyon. Although only 7,800' high, this little peak boasts 6 false summits so there is a lot of up and down just to get to the top and back. We did the usual 50 pound packs and 2 1/2 pound ankle weights. Add to all of that snow that was over my waist and we had a fantastic challenge.
Unfortunately, that is the last bit of exercise I have done for this week. It is allergy season in Colorado and my allergies are acting up big time. Couple that with my pesky lower back and I have been sidelined for this week. Oh well. All I can do is try to take care of myself and get better. I have a doctor's appointment today for my allergies and I have started tostretch more for my lower back. I need to be more disciplined in this activity.
On a brighter note, just 3 weeks until I leave for my dream climb of Mount Everest. The guy I have decided to go with, Phil Crampton of Altitude Junkies, is already in Kathmandu working on the final logistics for our fast approaching climb. Wow! I am excited. I can't wait.