Mt. Everest Expedition: Flight of the Climbers
My little team began to combine in Kathmandu yesterday afternoon. Jeff Martin met my flight into hot and dusty K-Du at around one o’clock. As my boss at RMI, Jeff has already been over here for nearly a week, chasing down logistical details and getting all the arrangements arranged. My climbers, Bill and Sara McGahan, beat me into town by about an hour, having flown East out of Atlanta, while I circled West from Taos. Long, long flights no matter how you slice it…. a passel of time zones and bad airplane food. I had time for a quick shower back at the hotel before Jeff and I taxied our way over to the Ministry of Tourism. I scribbled my name a half-dozen times and shook a bunch of official hands… swallowed the obligatory cup of sweet tea and voile!! we walked out with an all-important Everest climbing permit. We retreated to the hotel to join Bill and Sara for dinner. Despite the fun reunion, we got yawning and fading fast… hopelessly jet-lagged we stumbled off to our rooms. Linden Mallory is already up in the Khumbu, we’ll get together with him about a week into our trek, and Mark Tucker will join us at about the same time to complete the team. For now it is just four of us, which made today pretty easy when it came to a final gear check and packing session. We enjoyed an interview and conversation with Bili Bierling who is helping the legendary Elizabeth Hawley with the monumental task of keeping track of climber statistics in the Nepal Himalaya. Then we each made a few forays out into the streets to track down odds and ends -our version of sightseeing at this busy point in the expedition. We need to be ready to fly good and early tomorrow morning, up from 4,000 feet in Kathmandu to 9,200 feet in Lukla before the air gets cloudy and turbulent. My clock is set for 4:15 and my bags are packed once again… with luck we’ll be walking in mountains by mid-morning.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn