Everest! A Trek to Base Camp and Back – November 2011

A street in Thamel

A street in Thamel

Leaving tomorrow, November 2, very early for the first leg of 16 days’ hike from Lukla Nepal to Everest Base Camp.  Spent the day in Kathmandu doing final preparations, buying last minute items, re-packing my stuff to balance the weight for my porter and me, each carrying about 30 pounds, and getting the final briefing from Ram Pahari, our trek outfitter at Himalaya Journeys – purveyor of “The Endless Journey”.  We are totally pumped.

My group consists of Kent Stuckey, Columbus, Ohio, Pete McIlroy, another friend from Columbus and his friend, Roger Verney from near Boston Mass.  Kathy and Al Wilson from Indianapolis round out our group.  They summited Kilimanjaro with me in 2oo8.

I sometimes ask myself the question, “why do I want to do this apparently crazy stuff.  Roger analised this over a beer in a local Kathmandu bar this afternoon.  He said “I think you want to do this because you thrive on achievement”.  I agree, but there is more.  Yes, the physical challenge, the adrenaline, etc.  But I think what really makes me do it is the SPIRITUAL high from and adventure such as this.

Every year when I go ski out West, it takes me several weeks to get down from the euphoria.  I climbed Kilimanjaro in 2008, and I still can hardly speak of that experience… I am still high on it.  So, maybe it is best summarized in this poem I came across some time ago by Robert Cramer.

“I Climb to be Free”

“Have you ever watched an eagle held captive,
fat and plump and full of food and safe from danger too?
Then have you seen another wheeling high up in the sky,
thin and hard and battle-scarred, but free to soar and fly?
Well, which have you pitied the caged one or his brother?
Though safe and warm from foe or storm, the captive, not the other!
There’s something of the eagle in climbers, don’t you see;
a secret thing, perhaps the soul, that clamors to be free.
It’s a different sort of freedom from the kind we often mean,
not free to work and eat and sleep and live in peace serene.
But freedom like a wild thing to leap and soar and strive,
to struggle with the icy blast, to really be alive.
That’s why we climb the mountain’s peak from which the cloud-veils flow,
to stand and watch the eagle fly, and soar, and wheel… below…”

7 thoughts on “Everest! A Trek to Base Camp and Back – November 2011

  1. Ann and Charie Stearns


    We have all of you in our thoughts and prayers for a wonderful journey.

    Love and blessings,

    Charlie and Ann

  2. Mary Jane Hollis

    Dear Willie —
    You will be in my thoughts as you tackle this next great adventure! My best to you for a safe and inspiring climb! I wish I were with you in Kathmandu. I love that part of the world — please give my regard to the Himalaya’s!
    Love, MJ

  3. Kathie Boyuk

    Wow you are amazing. BUT we count on you for our future so really do wish you would be a bit more careful. Return home safely and enjoy the high. Pete and Kathie

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