9:30 P.M. local time (11:45 A.M. EDT)
Today is our last day in Nepal before departing for Lukla. Tomorrow morning at 7:00 A.M. (local time), we'll board a 12-seat prop aircraft loaded with gear and take off on a wild ride to Lukla, where the real fun begins. I won't say much about the ride into Lukla just yet. Let's just say it's about as close to an Indiana Jones experience as you can get—and then some. So stay tuned for our first field report tomorrow.
Most of today was spent wandering the streets of Kathmandu looking for gifts for the crew back home (yes, I'm sucking up here—Eddie, I got your rug) and dodging cars, rickshaws, motorcycles, and bicycles. Mike and I are still in one piece, and no worse for the wear. In fact, all of the street dodging has improved our balance skills, and we feel ready for that knife-edge ridge at 20,000 feet.
Which brings me to a point that I'd rather not think about, but that we should definitely report. We discovered a bit of morbid news today. Last year about this time, a freak storm hit Island Peak. Nine climbers perished on the mountain in one day. This did not make us feel very good, and that's a huge understatement. But storms do happen, and we're confident in our abilities to make an intelligent judgement call as to whether we should go for the summit. So, for good or bad, we WILL return. (Eddie, quit packing our office things in boxes.)
Our fourth member, Jerry Koenanen, arrived today. Jerry is what you would call a tall guy. He stands over 6'4", and we've felt much more secure walking the streets since his arrival. In fact, I believe that's why our bartering went so well this afternoon at the markets. Thanks, Jerry.
Well, gear is packed, laptops and satphone appear to be in working order, and I'm loaded for bear when it comes to music. By the way, we received our permit today to use the satphone. $2,330 U.S. And that's just to turn it on. So all that remains is getting to the mountains. Gods willing, we'll make it in one piece tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for some awesome pics starting tomorrow.
Want to win a TechRepublic baseball cap? Share your climbing experiences or give the guys encouraging words by posting your comment below, or send us an e-mail. It's that simple.And so you don't miss one step of David and Mike's climb up Island Peak, subscribe to our free TrekMail. Be one of the first 2,000 subscribers to our TrekMail, and you'll get a cool TechRepublic flying disc!
David Bard has been a fixture at TechRepublic for some time now. At one time he was editor-in-chief of LinuxRepublic and then AdminRepublic. Currently, he occupies space as an editor-in-chief with TechProGuild. In addition, he’s a freelance writer who has covered extreme sports for years. He also is a writer of horror and—contrary to what his climbing partner may think—is hoping the expedition to Nepal doesn’t provide fodder for his next story. When he’s not at home teaching his year-and-a-half-old daughter why it’s not a good idea to eat rocks, or trying to convince his wife why yet another expedition really is necessary, he’s usually off in some remote section of woods trying to discover himself. He’s still looking.