Monday, November 29, 2010

Yakitiyak heading back!

Good news!

Team Healthy Yak has come together consisting of Dr. Andrew Skidmore from Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, Dr. Claire Windeyer from the University of Guelph, soon-to-be Dr. Kristen Obbink, 4th-year veterinary student from Iowa State University, and yours truly. Dr. Skidmore is working on securing enough Safe Guard cattle dewormer from ISPAH to treat 2,500 yaks in the Khumbu Valley of Nepal.
Working with Russell and Himex we are set to arrive into Kathmandu, Nepal on April 5 and soon after fly into Lukla to start our adventure up the Khumbu towards Everest BC, along with way conducting several Healthy Yak clinics. After a couple days in the Everest BC area we will begin the trek back towards Lukla conducting several more clinics on the way out. For the second half of the trip a 5th member of the team will be joining us, Ms. Bobbi Cunningham, a veterinary technician student from Colorado who will be trekking into Everest BC with her fiance Mr. Michael Ortiz from Chicago who will be there to attempt to reach Everest's summit as a member of the 2011 Himex Everest Expedition. As the time draws near for this new "Animaltarian" effort I will update you with specific details (villages where clinics will be conducted, etc.). Thanks to those who have donated to this cause as it would not be possible without you!

Monday, September 6, 2010

UK Reunion!!!

My mother Karen, stepfather Ira (they are standing in front of Buckingham Palace in the photo), daughter Bailee and I recently returned from our week-long trip to the UK where we spent the majority of our time in and around London, as well as a couple of days in Oxford. Unfortunately my son's illness (gastroparesis) prohibited him from traveling which meant his mother stayed behind as well. This was the only bummer about the trip yet I am optimistic that all will return to the UK in one year (if not before) to celebrate the marriage of Christopher and Victoria. It was a pleasure to finally meet Grizz's "bird" Victoria. I am already looking forward to the second annual reunion.

The weather could not have been better (nor could my wonderful daughter :-) as we took in the famous sites and history of London (Buckingham Palace, War Cabinet, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, etc.). Grizz's parents, Pamela and Peter Macklin were gracious enough to allow us to use their flat for the week, located in the wonderful district of Chelsea, just footsteps away from Buckingham, Harrod's and Hyde Park). I even got to see David Tait (Everest teammate and 3-time Everest Summiteer) at his UBS office in downtown London.

After a few days in London we traveled by train to Oxford, staying with my friend and Everest teammate Stuart Carder and his lovely wife Jane on their picturesque cattle farm just outside the city. The peace and quiet were great but even better was Stuey's talent as a tour guide (note the sunglass exchange between my daughter and Stuey in the picture). We visited Bleinheim Palace and Oxford itself, the highlight being our visits to the various colleges of Oxford University. We even got to see the memorial to Sandy Irvine (he perished on Everest near the summit in 1924 with George Mallory) on Merton College.

Perhaps the greatest highlight of the trip for me was reuniting with my teammates and brothers from Everest. The Macklins hosted a wonderful BBQ at their home near Wimbledon where I got to meet Christopher's brother Andrew, his wife Justine and their two beautiful children Eloise and George. Stuey and Jane even drove down from Oxford to join us. It was the reunion of the "3 Amigos!" (see pic) I will be anxious to see my mates again in the near future.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mt. Blanca - 1/2 way up Everest!

July 10, 2010: I was given the opportunity to help a friend and colleague fulfill a 30-year dream. After having grown up in Colorado, Dr. Mark Branine used to drive past 14,345' Mt. Blanca in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, wondering what it would be like to stand atop its summit. On July 9, 2010 we set off to do just that. After ascending ~3500' to our camp situated next to picturesque Como Lake we rested up for next day's summit bid. Although not an alpine start as on Everest, we managed to leave camp at 7:25 a.m., weaving away up and around Bear Lake and Crater Lake, the latter which sits at the foot of Blanca. Four hours later and after some Class 2-3 scrambling we found ourselves with amazing 360 degree views from atop the peak considered to be holy ground by native american indians. We could see Pikes Peak to the north near Colorado Springs. Over my shoulder in the photo is Ellingwood Point, another 14ner.

I have to admit, although Blanca is just under half the height of Everest, it posed a formidable challenge. It was great to get my mountain legs back under me. I couldn't have been more happy for Mark in accomplishing a dream. I appreciated the opportunity to be there for that moment. What a great smile on my friend's face!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Post-Everest Life: No Place but UP!

Long time no read! The year+ following my return home from Everest has been a whirlwind to say the least. I returned home to Wisconsin on June 1, 2009, completing the goal of standing on top of the world AND returning safely to family and friends. It was a tremendous moment hugging my family in the Appleton, Wisconsin airport. I satisfied my cravings (Jolly Roger's bacon cheeseburger pizza in New London, a peanut-buster parfait from Dairy Queen, and last but not least a Double Quarter Pounder w/cheese from McDonald's restaurant which in fact was the first craving to be satisfied within the Detroit airport after landing on US soil!) within the first week of being home. Oh, and sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep! And it didn't take long to regain the 27 lbs of weight I lost! Geez....

I returned to work one week after returning home, soon after taking on the role as spokesperson for an Alpharma-sponsored agriculture awareness campaign called Reach, Teach, Learn or RTL for short ( Through this program I have been able to address thousands of students across the US and in fact, am typing while preparing to speak at Bucknell University located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I have also lined up many business venues to speak at on my own time. Sharing the story of how important it is to Dream, Believe, and Achieve has been terrific. You can find out a bit more about my speaking engagements on the Speaking Page of my website, which has been craftfully put together by my friend and Everest teammate Megan Delehanty (aka Ms. Perserverance while on the mountain).

I am in the process of writing a book about the adventure and what led me to want to climb Mount Everest. The title of my book is No Place but UP! It is a phrase I feel is important to remember, even on a bad day. Why? Just think about it, from there you have No Place but UP to go! I hope to have the book completed and in the hands of a publisher by early next spring, just in time for my return trip to Nepal. This time however I won't be climbing any mountains. I have tied into a foundation called Friends of Humanity ( out of Switzerland which focuses its work primarily in the region surrounding Everest. With their help we have created a new program within the foundation called "Healthy Yak." Please check out my website, specifically the Healthy Yak page to find out more about my plans to help the people of Nepal by helping their beloved yaks.

I hope to provide you with updates on the progress of Healthy Yak, my book, and my travels around the country. For now remember, No Place but UP!

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Sir Winston Churchill