From 2 to 4am I heard what I thought was a series of landslides I was sleeping with a hat over my eyes and couldn’t see the flashes until I heard a loud clash of thunder. I wake and am in the most amazing electrical snow storm that goes on for over 2 hours dumping 8 inches of snow in the storm. This seals it I am getting to warmer climate for the next 4 days our food and housing is the most comfortable but looking at everyone we are loosing tons of weight and at this altitude will not get much better. Brad and I charter a helicopter to bring us to Namche Bazzar, 7,000 ft below.
The rest of the group plans to walk to Pheriche and spend their drop back there.
I get a bag packed walk to the helipad in the deep snow and within 20 minutes I get off the heli surrounded by green I could smell the heavy air the warmth soaked it way deep into my bones. The rhododendrons are in full bloom the storm his here also but just rain and power outage. The plan: sleep under electric blankets wake, eat, go to the sherpa barista get coffee eat go back to inn and eat more. We both were still stricken with a Khumbu cough and the warm dry air was just what we needed.
We had one day of activity planned a walk above town to a set of stupas dedicated to the Edmond Hillary family. Climbing with a bunch of Kiwis they spoke of Hillary with reverence, and the more I learned the more respect I had for his accomplishments outside of climbing Mt Everest. He is quoted saying:
“I believe that of all the things I have done, exciting though many of them have been, there’s no doubt in my mind that the most worthwhile have been the establishing of schools and hospitals, and the rebuilding of monasteries in the mountains. This is much more important than any footprint left on a mountain”.
His wife and daughter died in a plane crash while working on hospitals in the Nepali mountains. There is a memorial in their honor that lays 3000 ft above Namche with a great view of Everest. We climbed the ridge to the memorial on our last day of the drop back to pay our respect to the family and what they did for the people of Khumbu valley. This was also a great confidence builder for me yes it was in thick air but I ran up above 14,000ft without fatigue.
When we return we start our summit push 7 days up and down, so far my performance above the ice falls have been bad, if I am to reach the top I need a lot of things to go right. Weather, Health, no injury’s etc. I lay awake every night worrying about how many ways there is to fail and I wake every morning trying to figure out what I need to do to overcome the negativity and figure out a way to win.
My wife changed her What’sApp profile picture to remind me of our upcoming 35th anniversary.
Lesson to Grandson,
Leave your footprints where they will last forever. Hillary was know for climbing Everest and his mountaineering skills. After his summit, he and his family used their fame to raise money and build schools and hospitals that will leave longer lasting footprints than any steps left in the snow on the top of a mountain. The Hillary foundation supports schools and hospitals in the Khumba Valley even to this day.