Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dreaming dreams

Ama Dablam at dawn from Camp 1
I had an opportunity last week to speak with a class of sixth-graders at Flagview Intermediate School.  It's a pretty fun gig… they do a study program using Nepal and mountaineering as a springboard for learning, and at the end do a few experiential things with the kids to help bring it home.

Somewhere, somehow, the teacher of the class learned that I'd been on a couple of climbing trips to Nepal, and asked me to come in to speak with the class about my experiences there as part of the study program.  I'll be honest - there are a few people in this town MUCH more qualified to speak on this subject than me, both about Himalayan mountaineering and about Nepal in general.  People who've lived there for months and are far more in tune with the society there.  People who've lived with and studied with Buddhist monks.  People who've been adopted into Nepalese families.  Those kinds of folks.  And, of course, one of the local heliski guides guides Everest.  And has done some amazing mountaineering on Lhotse.  'Nuff said.  If nothing else, I guess I'm proof that lack of qualification doesn't necessarily preclude a person from world travel.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the real mountaineers and Nepal experts were out mountaineering and traveling the world, so the kids got stuck hearing from me.  I had a ball - great students and very interested in the subject.  Hopefully I convinced some of those kids that chasing dreams is a great way to spend a life.

Anyway, here's a link to the article they did about the program in the local paper, and a few of the photos I shared in the presentation. Pretty pictures.  We met some very awesome folks over there, and were really blessed in the adventures we shared.

Gokyo and Cho Oyu

Refrigerator delivery in the Everest region. Everything has to be delivered by porters or pack animals. And they deliver a lot - there's even a pool table at Dingboche, a few weeks' hike from where the road ends.

Rest day at Ama Dablam camp one.

Our cook Guittry hanging out with the cuongma at Ama Dablam base camp.  Cuongma are close cousins to the Himalayan snowcock found in the Rubies.  Unlike the birds here, though, cuongma aren't afraid of people - they aren't hunted there - and will very casually wander in and around camp all day long. Cool.

If you want flour in the Everest region, you'll need to thresh the wheat yourself, like these young men in Dingboche.

Lobuje East.  We had stellar conditions for this climb. Couldn't possibly have been better. Unfortunately, it didn't translate into stellar conditions on Ama Dablam, and nobody got above Camp 2 while we were there. 

Memorial chhorten for an Italian climber near Macchermo.

Dawa, our sirdar and The Man Who Can Make Things Happen.

So many beautiful mountains yet to climb...