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Title image - BAI takes you to: Everest Basecamp
Why climb with Berg Adventures

Leo Power Everest Marathon Dispatch

May 22, 2011 – Pheriche, Nepal, 4270m/14,032ft

This morning I was treated to my first clear view of Everest from Ang Tembas’s and Yangzing’s Highland Sherpa Resort in Pangboche! I was not prepared for the emotions that followed! In other words, I welled up, or cried, as a truly evolved male might say!

Ama Dablam keeps you company as you hike from Pangboche to Pheriche.

Ama Dablam keeps you company as you hike

from Pangboche to Pheriche.

I had not anticipated the emotional response – difficult to describe, but I now have some sense of the appeal of wanting to stand on top of the world.

I devoured a breakfast of porridge and a pancake with Canada #1 Maple Syrup- medium- what a treat!

I then read the May 2003 edition of National Geographic Magazine (all back issues are available online at the one with the cover photograph of a handsome and rugged looking Sir Edmund Hillary. The story was a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Hillary’s and Tenzing’s ascent of Everest, or the Big E as many call it.

The magazine has a four-page spread with an awesome photo of Everest and surrounding peaks and the credit is given to Wally Berg, the owner of Berg Advantures and the man who, in August 2010, led David Aisenstat, Doug Smith, Jamie Hendersen, Rob MacDonald, Hartley Richardson, Neil Aisenstat, Sam Brovender, Jussi Westergren, Dan Gormley and myself to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro (the Roof of Africa), 19,341 ft. in Tanzania, Africa as part of the fundraising project titled “The Keg Spirit Foundation”.

Wally has successfully summited the highest peak on all seven continents at least four times. A world class mountaineer. Berg Expeditions organized my trip to Everest base camp and the Everest Marathon which I will compete in on May 29, just one week from today.

Wally met me in Kathmandu on May 14 and he will return to Nepal to meet me in Namche on May 29 as I complete the marathon.

The National Geographic magazine noted in the photo credit that “Wally Berg captured this view in 1998 on his way to the summit of Everest, where he set up a global positioning system receiver. Data from the receiver later reveals Everest’s true height to be 29,035ft—seven feet taller than previously believed”. So I owe Wally an apology: in my Day 1 dispatch I stated Everest’s height to be 29,028! I now know differently!

It was named Mount Everest after Sir George Everest, the Surveyor General of India in 1865. A Welshman by birth, he oversaw a survey of Chomolungma, using the triangulation method of height measurement, from the plains of neighbouring India. The survey was remarkably accurate at 8839m/29,001ft (in 1954 the official height was increased to 8848m/29,028ft using data from 12 different survey stations around the mountain). Chomolungma is the name used by Sherpas for centuries. Chomolungma is the female guardian deity of the mountain who rides a red tiger and is one of the five sisters of long life. Only in 1956 did the country of Nepal name the mountain “Sagarmatha” meaning “head of the sky”.

Lama Geshe

Lama Geshe has blessed thousands of climbers and trekkers

on their way to higher elevations over the years and is an

incredibly joyful and peaceful man.

Nuru and I trekked to the monastery at Pangboche Monastery and I met 79 year old Lama Geshe who bestowed a blessing on me which he permitted me to video so I will treasure this memory.

Pangboche Gompa is the oldest monastery in the Khumbu, dating back to the 17th century and founded by Lama Sange Dorje.

A couple of hours trekking north from Pangboche and I’m noticing the remnants of the tree line as the landscape largely consists of alpine meadows, rocks/boulders and yaks, surely the toughest beasts on this planet. We are now in the tundra or subalpine region (3400 – 4000m).

As we approached Pheriche we entered the alpine region (4000m to snowline). Apparently some of the hardier species of alpine flowers, such as edelweiss and anemones, can survive up to 5500m/18,046ft!

Tonight we will stay at Himalayan Hotel Lodge and we will also stay tomorrow night, again to aid in acclimatization.

Pheriche is home base for the Himalayan Rescue Association, a volunteer organization focused on treating and preventing altitude sickness. Doctors and others from around the globe volunteer their expertise and each day at 3 pm there is a free lecture about the risks of altitude sickness so my Mom will be happy to learn I will attend tomorrow’s lecture.


– Leo Power