It is hard to believe that the time has come to say goodbye to our 'home away from home.' The 25th of May brought the return of Summit Team 2 back to basecamp. Everyone from that team, including my good friend Chris Macklin (aka Grizzly Adams) from England, who made it to the South Col summited on May 23!
Russell Brice and Himalayan Experience Ltd put 58 people on top of the world this season. That number included 20 clients (David Taite in early May, 10 from Team 1 and 9 from Team 2), guides, sherpas, and film crew. Ellen Miller and her sherpa were also successsful in reaching the summit of Lhotse. All in all an amazing accomplishment to say the least.
Our exact departure from BC for the 3-day trek down the valley to Lukla has been a bit uncertain as we received 1 meter (just over 3 feet) of snow in the past 24 hours (see photo). The early part of the monsoon has arrived here in the Khumbu. Yet Russell informed us during his farewell speech today that the 40 head of yak he ordered to carry our gear will be here tomorrow (5/27) and that the weather will likely break overnight. So off we go tomorrow (unless Mother Nature says otherwise during the night) with daypacks towards Pengboche for the night. The following day will find us headed towards the busy village of Namche Bazaar. The 29th means we will finally end up in Lukla and if the weather cooperates (historically speaking, getting stuck here for days is possible, not to mention having to help shovel off the runway by hand!) we'll fly back to Kathmandu the morning of the 30th. From there some leave for home as early as the next day (like me) while others will remain for a few days to a week or more.
Celebrating the expedition's success started after lunch today and in fact is still going on within the Tiger Dome/White Pod as I lay here in the comfort and warmth of my sleeping bag while the wind outside my tent continues to blow snow around. A lot of emotions today. Happy because of the success we had on the mountain, not to mention there were no injuries and everyone walked away with all their fingers and toes intact. Sad because we go our separate ways in just days.
I cannot thank Russell Brice and Himalayan Experience enough for making my dream come true. I also want to again thank Alpharma Animal Health for its support and commitment to this "Quest for Success." Finally, I want to thank my family for allowing me to be gone for so long and for keeping the faith. I miss you and love you and will be home very soon now!
To those of you that have followed my dispatches and to those who have emailed, a very BIG thank you. Your words of encouragement as well as congratulations have meant so much to me. Once back home please feel free to contact me at my normal (i.e. non-mountain email) email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Namaste one last time from Himalayan Experience BC here at the foot of mighty Mount Everest.
May your dreams come true and God bless you!