One of my teammates said with a smile at base camp, "I invested my life savings in a third world country and lost it all." This is like my huge loss on A123 stock. I do have positive things to say about the whole experience, but like I said before, this will take months to write it all down.
|The Speeches at EBC April 24th|
In the Kumbu, people think that all westerners have money. At the Paradise Lodge in Lukla, with any bad weather the manager/owner lady would remind you every hour that maybe you should take a helicopter, "only $550 per person". As if $500 is just something we can toss away. I am happy I trekked out to Phaplu and took a 15 hour jeep ride with five Sherpas over three days for a total cost to me (excluding porters for my two bags) of about $50 (including the two porters carrying my 90 lbs. of stuff for two days I think $110).
Last night in Kathmandu several of us were discussing our experiences and one person said, in the Solokumbu region we are viewed as rich people who will pay lots of money versus in the rest of Nepal the shop owners are just happy we stopped at their shop. The people in the Kumbu won the lottery. Maybe five billion people in the world live on less than $10 per day, but here a Sherpa can make $6000 in two months.
In the world of adventure travel most expensive is a space trip, $20-30 million to go to the ISS or $100k+ for a few minutes above 100 km (although none of those companies have actually started running trips yet). Then there are polar expeditions, on the order of $150k+ depending on what you want to do, that is from the coast or just the last degree and what kind of support. There are ocean rowing crossings, around $50k+. Then fourth on the list is Everest, $30k+. You can do K2 or any other 8000 meter peak in the world for $15,000 or less. There is only one highest mountain.
In the west we will likely be branded as murderers because we send high altitude porters into dangerous places. I told a Sherpa friend that in the future I may do no Sherpas (no high altitude porters) for all my climbs, but then he mentioned that there is tension between the Sherpas (2013 Everest fight) and independent western climbers because climbing on our own we are keeping Sherpas from having a job. It's like we owe it to them to hire them, and if we don't hire them, they resent us, despite the fact that maybe 16 of them could die at one time when a serac collapses. It's a double standard. It would be easier to go on an expedition if I hired less people but then I also have a lower chance of summit success.
|Asian Trekking Sherpas Eating Dahl Bat in Dingboche|
|Summiting the EBC Dining Tent April 24th in my Down Suit for Breakfast|