Kids of the Khumbu

Recognizing what an extraordinary opportunity and experience the next several months will be, I wanted to do more than simply donate money and gear to the local population upon my trip’s completion as I normally do.  Fortunately, I have Carla to help me transform these good intentions into action.

She has been coordinating with Ang Jangbu, who will be the Sirdar (head Sherpa) of my expedition, in Nepal, to whom we will be donating school supplies (crayons, pencils, notebooks), clothing and medical supplies for the children in the villages of the Khumbu Valley.  These are the villages that I will visit on the way to Everest base camp and also where many of the Sherpas that will be assisting on the climb reside, so we wanted to show our respect, admiration and appreciation in advance.

Carla’s hospital is donating medical supplies and many of her co-workers are donating school supplies and/or cold weather kids clothing, and we are excited about what we have already gathered.  It is getting close to departure time (March 16th — only 2 1/2 weeks away), but I wanted to let you know of our intentions so if anyone is interested in donating anything we will happily deliver your contributions upon our arrival in Kathmandu.

Please let me know if you are interested and I will coordinate a time with you to pick-up your donation if you are in the Denver area.  For those of you that do not live in the Denver area but would like to participate, please contact me and we will try to find a way to make that happen.  Thank you, in advance, for any donations and also for your continued interest in the trip.

Green Mountain – 2.19.2012

Due to continued extreme avalanche danger in CO these days, I stayed close to home and at lower, more stable elevations.  I did a quick training hike with great friend, Ben Focht, this past weekend.  Ben will join me for the trek into Everest base camp and will also climb the 20,161′ Lobuche Peak with me and the team, prior his returning home, as part of our acclimatization program in Nepal in preparation for the big hill.

It was a quick and easy hike to the summit of Green Mountain (8,144′) above Boulder, CO, requiring only 3 hours for the entire outing, which includes roughly 2,500′ of elevation gain and then descent over a total of six miles for the entire round trip.  Therefore, we made it more interesting by loading 40-50lbs in our packs to add to the challenge/work-out, and I climbed much of the way wearing the same model mask as the oxygen regulators we’ll use on the upper slopes of Everest (seen above).  It definitely made it more difficult to breathe.  It was a bit like running underwater or breathing with a plastic bag over your head.  Good practice though, as it’s a lot like breathing through a diving regulator, so it trains you to breath deeply, steadily and prepares your diaphragm to pull hard in anticipation of what’s to come a few months from now when the stakes will be a bit higher.

The best part of the outing was when Ben announced to a passing hiker that I was wearing the mask because I had SARS.  The poor guy nearly fell over trying to get away from me as quickly as possible and likely needed a fresh pair of underwear at the bottom of the hill.  His female companion seemed to enjoy the joke a bit more than he did… our apologies, sir.  A few more pictures of the outing available by clicking the picture above.

Skiing Breckenridge – 2.11.2012

Training continues, although recently training has consisted of strength training and cardio work-outs at the gym as I work through gear and logistical details for the upcoming trip.  As such, I haven’t spent as much time as I’ve wanted in the actual mountains, mostly due to an unstable snow pack and high avalanche danger, but I hope to get in more actual climbing in the weeks ahead.

Carla and I depart for India for phase I of the trip on March 16th, which is rapidly approaching (only 4 weeks away), so getting everything dialed-in now is paramount.  I meet the rest of the Everest expedition team in Kathmandu on 3/29 to begin phase II of the trip — the climb itself…

Carla and I went home to visit my parents the weekend of 2/2/2012 and also celebrated the one-year anniversary of our first date, which was a major milestone for this perpetual bachelor.  We had a really nice time with my folks and enjoyed weather in the 70s and even a few strolls on the beach, which provided quite the contrast to what lies ahead.

This past weekend, my best friend growing-up, Joey Suttle, came to visit.  We went to Widespread’s farewell (for now) acoustic “Wood Tour” on Friday and then skied at Breckenridge on Saturday.  It was a short weekend, but it’s always great to catch-up with close friends, especially prior to a big trip like this.  It seems to help me keep things in perspective, while also serving as a reminder of what a major undertaking this particular trip is going to be.  Thanks for coming out, Joe.