What’s Next…

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On summit of Cho Oyu with Everest behind me

As most of you know, our intent was to climb Cho Oyu as a more ambitious and interesting way to acclimatize for our planned attempts of Everest and Lhotse. Unfortunately (on so many levels), the tragedy that struck the south side/Nepal side of Everest this year (and subsequent Sherpa strike that ended the climbing season on Everest’s south side) rendered those parts of our plan irrelevant.

With our plans no longer intact, we quickly shifted our sights to climb the North side/Chinese side of Everest. However, the Chinese proved determined not to provide us a permit to climb Everest, via their territory, despite the fact that we had a Chinese visa that was good through 5/31/2014 and we were already climbing Cho Oyu on their soil — only miles from Everest base camp. We had extraordinarily senior-level contacts from the US reach out to counterparts in the Chinese government at Ministry levels (essentially the equivalent of Cabinet-level positions in the US government), who then advocated on our behalf. Still, rather unbelievably, to no avail. Perhaps, the US’s pivot to Asia didn’t help our efforts or our recent indictment of senior Chinese generals for cyber-crimes. Regardless, they remained steadfast and the answer remained “no.” Thus far, anyway.

So, we then looked into other options to continue our goal to climb multiple 8,000m peaks (over 26,250′ tall) in a continuous push. We decided on Makalu (the world’s 5th highest peak) since there were teams there climbing already that would make an alpine push to the summit over a few days more feasible. Unfortunately, the logistics, infrastructure and team required to do so proved problematic and expensive. Therefore, our team has only sent Matt Moniz and Willie Benegas to Makalu to make an attempt over the next several days (they arrived at Makalu’s Advanced Base Camp today), while Mike Moniz and I continue to work toward a Chinese permit to climb Everest — however unlikely it is at this point. We are acclimatized, and will remain so for a couple of weeks, should the elusive permit be granted, and we continue to hope against hope to get a chance regardless of how unlikely it is.

To that end, I remain in the region on the off-chance that a permit is granted, but departed Nepal today for Thailand. I am meeting my beautiful girlfriend, Carla, in Bangkok tonight and we will continue on to the beaches of Phuket, Thailand, for a few days of R&R until our flights home on 5/31 or the Chinese grant us permission to attempt Everest via the north side. So, the clock is ticking either way, but should the Everest answer remain “no,” at least we’ll make the most of it. And there is nothing like trying to negotiate with the Chinese while in the midst of a military coup in Thailand!!! At least the beaches are beautiful…

Please wish us luck, especially Willie & Matt while they are on Makalu, and I’ll continue to keep you posted as things develop.

 

16 thoughts on “What’s Next…

  1. Jim

    As you may know, I do a lot of work in China and have some good contacts in China. I have reached out to my managing director to see what can be done.

    Mike Ross

    • Thanks, Mike. We appreciate all help. However, we’re working directly with the Minister of Propaganda to no avail and have had the former #2 General in the Chinese army call on our behalf, so don’t be surprised if your efforts go nowhere…

  2. Thanks so much for the update – I was dying to know the deal! And have a GREAT break! What a great holding pattern plan, and to say you really deserve it is an understatement!!! Though I hope things work out with the Chinese…miracles can happen!

    About to start a 10 hr flight myself – friend’s wedding in San Fran this weekend. Here’s to traveling long distances to be with great people and doing great things!

    Keep the updates coming!!

    >

  3. Thailand is awesome! I spent a month there, climbing on the beaches of Railey, Phuket. You and Carla have a wonderful time, I’m sure she’ll be SO excited to see you after your awesome summit of Cho Oyu. Everest will be there and just maybe that door will open unexpectedly. Either way, enjoy the journey!

  4. Congratulations Jim…and Mike and Matt. Good luck in getting permits. What wild ride it’s been this season! Bob and Kathy

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Thanks, Bob & Kathy. It has been an extraordinary season, for sure. This one makes 2012’s craziness seem mild by comparison to say the least. Hope you’re both well.

  5. Jim,
    ‘Never boring! and ever adapting… definitely enjoy your break with Carla and the happiest of birthdays to you. Be safe — vacationing in Thailand!!!! Crazy days. ‘Front page of WSJ, again, today… lots of posturing. ‘Glad to know you have some well-connected advocates in your corner. Crossing our fingers your case can be separated from the overarching geopolitical quagmire. No help politically, but we will keep you, Carla and your team in our prayers.
    Christine
    *You could be a modern Forest Gump in the making with your timing, here!! (timing only) No selfies with soldiers or the General, please :]

  6. We will be thinking of you as you wait, hoping for that opening on the north side. In the meantime, you best be fattening up. I recommend lots of delicious Thai food and many Chang beers!

    Happy Birthday, by the way! I am sure you will be enjoying it.

    Thanks for the picture with the flag by the way. Love it!!!

  7. Hey Jim – sending you and your team vibes from Cali. Keep us posted on the permits!

    Havin’ a good tiiiiiiiiime……
    –greg

  8. Happy Birthday! Enjoy warmth and relaxation in Phuket. We deserved. Isabelle and I are in Tuscany. So far the beach and feeding pigeons are dazzling the 5 year old:-). See you (and meet Carla?!) this summer . Good luck with a last minute permit!

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