October 23 - Old friends and new adventures ahead
This dispatch is coming to you from the Yak and Yeti Hotel early morning on 23 October. The entire Berg Adventures Ama Dablam 2002 Team is together in Nepal now. In fact we depart via Yeti Airlines Twin Otter aircraft to Lukla in a couple of hours.
Most of our Sherpa team is waiting for us in Lukla. You will hear the names of these guys and get to know more about them during coming weeks as we do our dispatches.
Two of the fellows who will fly with us today are especially important. Ang Temba Sherpa is flying with us to Lukla today. He will be the Sirdar, or Head Sherpa for the 2003 Berg Adventures Everest Climb. Nima Tashi Sherpa is also flying with us today. Nima Tashi, six-time Everest summiteer, will be the Sirdar for the Ama Dablam climb that we are doing this season. The entire BAI Sherpa team is going along on this Ama Dablam climb, more staff and support to reach Ama Dablam Base Camp than we need perhaps, but we are old friends - happy to be together again. And with plenty to do to prepare for next season on Everest as well as the exciting climb of the SW Ridge of Ama Dablam, that we will do next month.
The team members, Ryland, Doug, Garry, Brent, David and myself, have been busy in Kathmandu, taking in the sites of Kathmandu Valley, doing last minute shopping and organizing. (And reorganizing in the case of Doug) We are readjusting to a different world, talking of our families back home and dreaming of the climb and our adventures to come.
Rayland's new digital camera is working well, so well in fact that his memory card is already full of great images.
On the 21st, the team met with Elizabeth Hawley. As you know, Liz has been meeting expeditions and reporting about them for decades in Nepal now. When we spoke with here of our appreciation of the first ascent of our route 41 years ago by Barry Bishop and the others, Liz fondly remembered that she went trekking with Lila Bishop while the climbers were approaching the Khumbu.
On October 22, we began the day early in the morning at Swayambunath Temple (The Monkey Temple) Krishna Dhakal, who you will remember for the BAI Base camp trek earlier this month, was along again as our guide. The combination of Professor Dhakal and Dr. Burger provided scholarly depth and insight to the Buddhist and Hindu sites we visited all day.
Garry, retired Boeing engineer, climber on his second trip to Nepal, and Nebraska farm boy will be the first to confirm the truth of Kipling's line about this Valley:
"The wildest dreams of Kew, are the facts of Kathmandu...."
We did our normal stop at Mike's Breakfast, that famous Kathmandu meeting point for climbers, trekkers and expatriates. James Gambroni joined us for Breakfast and then shared his exceptional knowledge and passion for the art of the Kathmandu Valley upstairs in his Indigo Gallery. It was here that we took our first team photo.
Last night we visited the Rum Doodle Bar, another Kathmandu climber's landmark. Wongchu, from Peak Promotions had made arrangements for Brent to sign one of the displays in locked glass cases on the wall in this famous bar. The cases contain the signatures of a growing number of successful Everest summiteers.
Brent first climbed Everest in 1994 but had just never gotten around to the signing at the Rum Doodle. The manager unlocked the original case, the first one with the names of most of the earlier summiteers, and Brent signed his name next to his father Barry's signature [photo above]. From across the room we noticed a guy watching intently as the "youngster" signed his name in the oldest case at the Rum Doodle. He came over to chat with us and introduced himself as Wolfgang Nairz, who had been on the 1978 expedition with Messner and Habler when they first climbed Everest without oxygen. Wolfgang's face lit up with a beaming smile when he heard Barry Bishop's name and realized the significance of the father - son signatures in the same case where his own name was signed.