Next Bite: Tibet

photo(24)All bags and expedition teammates arrived in Kathmandu without issue, which represents a major hurdle cleared.  Yesterday, we met with our Sherpa team for the Cho Oyu (26,906′) climb and even enjoyed dinner with a few of them last night (including our all-important expedition cook and our Sirdar – aka Sherpa team leader), which was a great way to start the expedition and begin building our collective team bond.  Today, we were up early and visited the famous “Monkey Temple” (Swayambhunath).  It is a special place to visit with a serene aura and great views of the entire Kathmandu Valley (at least as far as you can see through the perpetual smog).  This morning’s visit helped me fully realize that I am finally in Nepal and that this adventure is about to get underway.  All of the hustle and bustle between last-minute packing, wrapping-up final details, running between flights, clearing customs, securing visas, hoping your bags will appear at baggage claim and settling into hotels is behind us and it is time to get on with the expedition.  We had our quick visit with the Mountaineering Director of the Nepal Ministry of Tourism this afternoon to finalize our permits for Everest and Lhotse and discuss some of the new “rules” for this season.  Essentially, we’re being asked to bring down 8kg (17lbs) of trash from up on the mountain, which we’re happy to do.  Other than that, there are no other real significant changes to speak of.  So, with all of the official paperwork completed, we’re off early tomorrow to cross into Tibet for an intense month of climbing the world’s 6th tallest peak.  And, with that, the adventure begins…

“Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time”

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Everest & Lhotse as viewed from Pumori Camp I in 2012

The juxtaposition of sitting poolside at a Bangkok hotel on a steaming hot and humid afternoon during my 36-hour layover here versus what I know the next two months will entail is a bit surreal, to say the least.  It is a nice reprieve, however, from the countless days of battling the incessant winds and snow on the Continental Divide as I put the finishing touches on my training in Colorado.  A decadent breakfast, calming afternoon by the pool and quiet evening of reflection seem an appropriate in-transit reward before the hard work begins.


Cho Oyu, Everest & Lhotse gear

I moved back to Denver after a full month living in Fraser, CO, at 8,700′ and completing peak #52 of this training cycle (26 of which were climbed with my fur buddy, Camden).  It was a productive month in the mountains, which I believe will serve me well as we transition to the grandest setting of all:  the Himalaya.  My final week in Denver was hectic, spent tying up loose ends (work-wise, personal life, expedition-related and otherwise), as all pre-departure weeks tend to be.  My friends managed to squeeze in a nice, send-off happy hour prior to my departure though, which was a welcomed diversion.  It was great to see everyone who was able to make it and I know many more of you were there in spirit.  Special thanks to my very thoughtful and ever-supportive girlfriend, Carla, for organizing it as well as for all of her help getting me packed-up and ready to go.  Without her help, I may still be playing “packing tetris” to get all that we need to climb these mountains into the requisite two travel duffels (gear pictured above).

And now it is time to mentally transition to the task that lies ahead.  Climbing any 8,000m peak (26,250′ or higher) is a daunting task, let alone three in succession.  Our team motto is “one peak at a time.”  The expression I like to use is “eat the elephant one bite at a time,” as the challenge can seem too great when viewed in its entirety, but it is ultimately achievable with a little good fortune and when taken one step at a time.  Next step:  arrival in Kathmandu tomorrow…

Finally, below is a link to our team interview by Alan Arnette as posted on his site, which is a terrific resource for interested parties as he posts extensively about the happenings on Everest each climbing season: