December 2 - The Team Departs from Kathmandu

I think the most impressive thing that I saw yesterday, December 1st, on the team’s return to the city, was the meal that Jeff ate at the lunch Buffet at the Yak and Yeti. All the team members ate well. In fact, we sat together for about two hours in the restaurant catching up and already beginning to savor memories of our month together. But the 1 to 1 ½ of this time was mostly quiet, with a lot of eating going: Indian food, many kinds of salad, soups, breads and a desert table that was depleted to a few crumbs by the time our group left. Everyone put in an impressive show, with the well-deserved and intense appreciation of food that lean bodies know after a few weeks of hard effort. "Don’t get me wrong…" Jeff said as he smiled after finishing another big salad plate, “BAI’s cooking was excellent through out the trip, it’s just so different here."

Back in civilization.

Maegan and Elizabeth working together at the Yak and YetiSpeaking of different, Maegan was the last one to show at lunch. You will remember from this season’s dispatches that she has been in the Khumbu since we left for Lukla on September 28th. She was in her element throughout her more than two months in that wonderful place, but she did report that it took a great deal of conditioner to get her hair untangled after washing.

Joe and Jeff elected to fly home earlier than they had scheduled today. It was necessary for them to upgrade to business class as far as Bangkok in order to do so. They took off a few hours ago, and I am confident that their decisions are not regretted.

Maegan and Grant with Elizabeth HawleyOur final morning together as a team in Nepal could not have been spent better in my opinion. Elizabeth Hawley showed up promptly at 10:00 PM to interview the team and she was eager to spend time with Maegan as well. We spent a rather chaotic, but extremely enjoyable 1.5 hour together going over details of the climbs, taking about Cape Cod, where Liz says she has not visited in more than 60 years, and "the early days" of trekking in Nepal, which for Liz began in 1961, not long after she moved here. Liz had driven her baby blue VW "Beetle" to the Yak and Yeti to meet us, as she always does, so some "Beetle" stories were in order as well. Later, outside when we took photographs, I felt it was a proud moment for the entire team to be wrapping up their expedition with a Liz Hawley interview, just as expeditions in Nepal have been doing for more than 40 years.

The BAI 2004 Ama Dablam team with Elizabeth HawleyOne final note about the relationships that have been established with Sherpa people and the team members of BAI Ama Dablam 2004 – I can assure you there are friendships and bonds that will last for years, but this is something very special that deserves note: There is a young Sherpa boy near Lukla whose father has disappeared recently and whose mother has Tuberculosis. He is ten years old and Joe and Don got to know him through our friends in Lukla. Joe an Don have set up a scholarship program which will be administered through the Himalayan Trust and will last for 10 years to help educate this young man and give him some opportunities that have not even been remotely possible thus far in his life. As is sometimes tradition in Sherpa culture, when someone has had such bad luck in their life their name is changed by lamas. The young fellow had been named Dorje for the first part of his life, but renamed Jigme before he met Don and Joe. I am looking forward to watching Jigme’s progress in school in the coming years. Time goes quickly and the winds of changed fortune can be strong.

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Our objective:

Ama Dablam
Nepal Himalaya

22,494 feet
6857 meters

First Ascent:

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