Monday, August 31, 2015

Acclimating in Sama Goen

Happy Monday. This is Diana with an update. Ben safely arrived in Sama Goen a few days ago with the team. They will be leaving tomorrow for Base Camp. Everything is going well.
We had an opportunity to video chat with him once while he was in Kathmandu and he has sent daily text messages and called a few times in the past week. It is always good to hear from him.
He will be sending me blog updates, including pictures while he is on the mountain and I will be posting the updates. Please continue to leave comments and I will pass the on. Thank you all for your prayers!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Photo #1 - Displaced Nepalese temporary shelters
Photo #2 - Part of the Monkey Temple
Photo #3 - Devastation in Durbar Square
Photo #4 - More Durbar Square
Photo #5 - Typical scene around Kathmandu
Photo #6 - Boudhanath Stupa damage

The pain and suffering endured on a daily basis by the victims of this past April's earthquake is tough to see. The simple things of life that are so often taken for granted like a roof over our head, food to eat, clean water to drink and a shirt to wear are distant memories for many of the Nepalese.
Within minutes of taking photo #2 the scaffold surrounding the monument began to shake violently. Yes, even to this day, earthquake after shocks and tremors are a part of reality. While the tremor was mild compared to April's large earthquake, it was apparent what was happening. Kind of crazy to be a part of such an event.
The trails leading to the standard approach of Manaslu base camp are completely gone and landslides have rendered the entire area impassable. This has created some logistical headaches for our expedition, but so far it seems we have been able to put together back-up plans. Tomorrow morning we are scheduled to take a helicopter into Sama Goen. After 3 days there we will journey the final distance to base camp on foot. I may be out of touch for a few days. No news is good news and I covet your prayers. Thank you.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

And the Nepalese national song is...

...the car/motorcycle horn! I found out today that Kathmandu now proudly boasts over five million motorcycles. Couple that with all of the car and truck traffic, the general absence of sidewalks and all of the people walking around and you have a symphony of many different horn sounds as all the people go in a myriad of directions. I am certain that people honk just because everyone else is and not because they are trying to make their presence known. I specifically make a mental note of my general feelings toward the endless honking. I remember from past trips to Nepal that the first day or two in Kathmandu I am accepting of this sound and even smile inside as I am so glad to be back here. I also remember how at the end of each trip, with a strong desire to get home, how the sounds of all the honking is nothing more than a big nuisance.
My first full day in Kathmandu has been a busy one. I started the day off with breakfast and then walked into Thamel to get a shave. I love getting a straight razor shave in each and every country I visit. I then walked back to my hotel for breakfast number two. I met my first two team mates and we enjoyed swapping climbing stories over a freshly prepared omelette. Jon, whom I remember from Everest in 2010, is back again and is giving Manaslu an attempt. After breakfast I went to Durbar Square to survey some of the harder hit earthquake areas. Wow! What a difference from last time I was here. The historic area has been almost completely leveled. Evidence of the recent earthquake is visible all over Kathmandu. Over 9,000 people died and it is amazing that there was not more casualties.
After walking around some more, having lunch #1, I went back to my hotel for lunch #2. It is extremely exhausting walking around all day! :)
This evening the entire team is to meet and then enjoy a team dinner. All of our climbing gear will make its way to Arugat tomorrow and then on to Manaslu basecamp. We have one more day in Kathmandu and then early on the morning of the 29th we take a helicopter to Sama Goen where we stay for three days to acclimate and then it is onto basecamp.
I promise pictures will be coming soon. I'm off to have dinner #1...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Safe arrival in Kathmandu!

It is great to be back in Kathmandu! I arrived last night after 3 flights that went smoothly. My luggage also arrived in tact. It is mow early morning and I am super hungry. I will send more of an update as the day progresses. I need to find my team mates first.
Thank you for your prayers. They are appreciated.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Training Complete!

After 10 months of specific, physical effort, I can now say my training for Manaslu is complete. Today I went on a mountain bike ride. I covered 32 (instead of the planned 48) miles in 2 hours flat. Pedestrian by road bike standards, but not bad for a mountain bike.
This evening and tomorrow will be spent finishing up the last minute details required to travel out of the country for 7 weeks. The list is indeed getting smaller and my excitement is growing with every passing minute. Until my next update...Namaste!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Great training run!

I leave for Nepal in just a few days. There are so many things to do and I figured a great way to start the day was to spend some time in the mountains. I drove up to Boulder this morning for an ascent of Bear and South Boulder Peaks. It was so beautiful and peaceful to be the only one on the trail. I figured I would try to go as fast as I can in order to keep the heart rate up. In the end I covered 8 miles, gained 3,425' of elevation in 3 hours flat. Not bad I suppose.
Tomorrow morning I will go on a fantastic 48 mile bike ride and the rest of the day will be spent with my family. I will start packing my bags on Monday and then it's off to the airport super early Tuesday morning.
I ask for your prayers as I embark on this challenge. Prayers for my family's safety as well as mine. I'll provide updates as soon as I get to Kathmandu.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Anticipated Manaslu Itinerary

It is now less than one week until I leave for my attempt to climb Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world. I am so very excited! What an awesome adventure I am about to embark upon. I realize how truly blessed I am to be able to pursue my passion like I do. I do not take a single day for granted.
I have had several people ask me for an expedition itinerary. The dates shown below are a best case scenario. As anyone who has traveled to a third world country knows, rarely do things go entirely to plan. Ahhh the joys of travel! Honestly, I am addicted. I believe God created this beautiful world and I am so  eager to see every square inch.
Tuesday, August 25-27, 2015 – Depart Denver – Chicago – Abu Dhabi – Kathman
Friday, August 28, 2015 – Kathmandu
Saturday, August 29, 2015 – Helicopter flight to Sama Goen (11,565’)
Sunday, August 30-31, 2015 – Rest / Acclimitization in Sama Goen
Tuesday, September 1, 2015 – Hike to basecamp (15,750’)
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 – Rest at basecamp
Thursday, September 3, 2015 – Climbing begins
                          Camp 1 – 18,700’
Camp 2 – 21,000’
Camp 3 – 22,310’
Camp 4 – 24,445’
Summit – 26,775’ 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 – Climbing ends
Wednesday, October 7, 2015 – Hike from basecamp to Sama Goen
Thursday, October 8, 2015 – Helicopter flight from Sama Goen to Kathmandu
Friday, October 9, 2015 – Leave Kathmandu
Saturday, October 10, 2015 – Return Home

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

Twelve years ago today I became a married man! I not only gained a "wife", I gained a best friend, a help mate and someone who makes me a better person. I love you Diana. Happy Anniversary!

In a little more than 3 weeks I leave for Nepal. Training is going well and I am so excited. I can hardly wait.