November 9 - Remembering the First American Everest Expedition

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

Arita, one of our climbing sherpas from BAI 2003 with a poster Wally, Maegan and Grant signed for himIt’s November 9th and we are at 14,000ft (4267m) at the village of Dingboche .  We tried to sleep in and take our morning wake up bed tea at 7:00am this morning in our tents next to the Pangboche Monastery.  But that plan was thwarted by the monks who began blowing the deep resonant horns to announce the morning prayers at about 6:15am .  Life in a monastery begins early in the morning so we got up as well and took amazing photographs of Everest and Lotse and of course Ama Dablam in the morning light above us.

Then we went and visited the memorial for the 1963 first American expedition, some of the members of that team have chortens or memorials in their memory including Jake Breitenbach who died on the first day the Americans went into the icefall in 1963 on that expedition.  And Barry C. Bishop who is a special man to us, especially coming to Ama Dablam this year because as most of you know Barry Bishop and his teammates made the first accent of our route on Ama Dablam in 1961.

The team checking out thankas.Our trek was beautiful; Ama Dablam was before us the entire way up the valley.  It is getting cooler as we go up, we hike now in fleece jackets and gloves and even knit hats on.  And now that we are settling down for the evening in Dingboche, people are wearing their big puffy jackets.

We are in a lodge tonight having been in tents the last three nights.  The group just enjoyed one afternoon ritual that has become a favorite of this crew and that is afternoon popcorn and tea.

The entire team, Joe, Don, Jennifer, Jeff, Grant and I and of course Maegan who’s with us are all doing very well and loving the beautiful mountains around us and anticipating the climbs ahead.

Our objective:

Ama Dablam
Nepal Himalaya

22,494 feet
6857 meters

First Ascent:

March 13, 1961
Barry Bishop
Wally Ramanes
Mike Gill
Mike Ward