Thursday, December 12, 2013

I am Going to Mt. Everest and You are Invited

In the summer of 2004 after a family and friends backpacking trip near Aspen, Colorado, I spent a few days wearing crampons and carrying an ice axe tromping around Rocky Mountain National Park. At that point I had close to six weeks of backpacking experience with a couple 14,000 foot mountain summits and half dozen 13,000 foot mountain summits under my feet. At the age of 18 I decided I really liked the sport of mountaineering, at least all the mountaineering I had experienced, and I wanted to see how far mountaineering went. The question that is often asked when teenage Boy Scouts go backpacking is: "would you try to climb Mt. Everest?" With Boy Scouts behind me, as far as I knew, and the paint just chipped off my new crampons, I decided, yes, I want to try Mt. Everest. 

Since timelines get things done I gave myself the arbitrary deadline of ten years from the summer of 2004. Since then I have made significant progress. You name it, I have probably tried to climb it in the continental US. Winter days on Mt. Washington in Huntington Ravine in New Hampshire, afternoon showers on 14ers in Colorado, the vertical cliffs of Yosmite in California, hanging belays on Longs Peak, Utah Towers, the Tetons and thousands of runs at all elevations up to 16,000 feet and over all types of terrain including a former fastest known time around the 93 mile long Wonderland Trail and a 2:30 marathon

Then there was Pakistan. Broad Peak taught me a lot. Among the many lessons the expedition showed me that I can be strong, even at 7000 meters. It also solidified my resolve to experience Mt. Everest.

So I am going. Barring some unforeseen event, and to be honest there is still a likely chance that circumstances change. The total trip for me will last nine weeks from the beginning of April to the beginning of June. I expect to travel with Asian Trekking on the Eco-Everest 2014 Expedition. I chose them because they have a good reputation for food, cost effective services, an experienced Sherpa staff, and arguably most important, they will allow me to climb without bottled oxygen. 

If you would like to go you can come for the trek to basecamp with me. For about two weeks we will trek uphill until we reach basecamp at around 17,000 feet on a glacier. Then you could trek back out in a couple days and fly home. Round trip maybe 3 weeks from the United States and total cost of about $4000 including all airfare. I can send you more details if you are interested in this. I hope to only have an expedition to Mt. Everest this once. 
My Mountaineering Experience in One Photo: Broad Peak Basecamp in 2009 with K2 Behind Me
There are many aspects of this I have not said yet. More details will come in the future. Yes, I have approval to take a leave of absence from engineering. Yes, I have rescue insurance. Yes, I have already paid a deposit worth more than my bicycle and van put together. Yes, there will be a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a possible book I will write. I may have a charity that I will sponsor on this expedition. The next six months are going to be interesting!

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