On the Eve of the 2014 Climbing Season, a Look Back at the 2013 Journey to Everest Basecamp
One pair of down booties, one already worn Lonely Planet, a steri-pen (with extra batteries), one borrowed tripod for my camera that can’t take a bad picture (dressed to the nines with the new insanely expensive lens I needed for this trip), one borrowed 10-below sleeping bag, an actual sit-down (on the floor) with Luanne Freer giving me the “Everest-For-Dummies”, one self-timer remote, 13 loaded Wilderness Medicine lectures on my iPad, a wilderness medicine kit literally on steroids, and most importantly, so you can all get a sense of what’s going on up in the Himalaya, my newly unlocked iPhone.
A yellow duffle packed with my gear and a black duffle full of Everest ER gear, copies of both my medical licenses and DEA (just in case), glacier glasses and three-weeks supply of Luna Bars, PowerBars, Jolly Ranchers and dark chocolate (for making people happy), stopping for one last hang in NYC en route to JFK and ultimately Everest. The Big Apple, perfectly juxtaposed with the trip I was about to take, welcomed me with open arms that night, and just as instantly reminded me the next morning of where I was supposed to be:
I arrived in Kathmandu, safe and well fed on yummy airplane Indian food after a five-hour layover in Delhi where I passed the time chatting with an Israeli clearly on the road in an Adult Learning kind of way. Picture a tan Israeli version of the Greatest American Hero, walking around the New Delhi airport in a tattered t-shirt and board shorts, and of course, barefoot. Greatest Israeli Hero (GIH), after four and a half years in the army and before starting grad school, was just returning home after seven months of solo traveling, including a SCUBA-induced spontaneous two months in Koh Tao becoming a dive master in Thailand. Why don’t we encourage this kind of travel in the US??? After the travel tales, we debated the best Disney movie of all-time and which one of us was the worse Jew (I had him at the First Testament). I found out when I boarded the plane to Kathmandu, GIH planted some Bangkok snacks in my pack for the trek. I love traveling!
I recognized Wongchu Sherpa from Peak Promotions immediately in the international hall at the Kathmandu airport. He welcomed me with quick instructions on completing the visa and a lovely fragrant Nepali flower necklace, called a tika.
We zoomed through customs and immigration thanks to the street cred of Wongchu Sherpa. Wongchu and the gang at Peak Promotions couldn’t be more helpful (e.g., Jiwan, Peak Promotions’ manager brought me the ncell SIM card the next day). The new government in Nepal is focused on the roads here in Kathmandu, and driving through the city at midnight, we saw crews out mixing and laying asphalt.
The next day we would do a city tour of Kathmandu, enroll half of our Trekkers in an AMS study for Scott McIntosh, do some CME on wilderness medical kits and have an orientation dinner with Wongchu and the gang. We would fly to Lukla the next morning and start trekking. I couldn’t wait for the magic that was about to happen!
To read the trip summary, check out Wilderness Medicine Magazine