After Hours

TechRepublic's intrepid trekkers, seen through each other's eyes

On April 8, 2000, longtime friends and co-editors-in-chief David Bard and Mike Jackman leave for the Himalayas to report on high-altitude tech and to climb Island Peak. In the interests of full disclosure, they introduce each other


Longtime friends and associates David Bard and Mike Jackman take turns telling tales on each other. It’s better than a corporate bio, because it’s all true.

Introducing Mike Jackman
by David Bard
Okay, let’s begin by stating that I’ve known Mike Jackman for many, MANY years—probably seems longer than it really is. (I’m kidding, of course.)—first as a graduate teaching assistant (the only English-teaching GTA who ever dared to give me a grade of B on a paper—did I tell HIM how wrong he was), and then as a friend. And, of course, now we’re teammates at TechRepublic.

Mike’s a detail-oriented person—a wonderful complement to my scattershot approach to projects—and when it comes to organizing an expedition, that's a blessing. I mean, let’s face it. Yellow sticky notes can only get you so far when you’re keeping track of sponsors, article ideas, and trip projects. Is he attached to his PalmPilot? No, he’s not Borg—it just seems that way at times. Really, without his organization, I would have been overwhelmed.

I’ve hiked with Mike, but this will be our first alpine climb together. I know he has a lot of rock climbing and trekking experience. In other words, he knows the ropes. I also know he’s been training diligently for the past few months for this trip. So I have all the confidence in the world in his physical readiness. Of course, anytime you go to high altitudes, you’re going into the great unknown.

I’m talking about Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), of course. I’ve been a little higher than 14,000 feet on numerous occasions. But anything above this is an unknown to me. I know I’ve prepared for the trip physically, but I’m still not sure how my body is going to react above that level.

Introducing David Bard
by Mike Jackman
While it’s true that David Bard has been my friend for many years, it’s also true he mentions that “B” I gave him every chance he gets. ;-) He must not have minded too much, because he took me for a Creative Writing class after that. David is as fine a journalist and writer as you can get, and if my you-can-do-better grade helped, well then, what’s to complain about?

David is also responsible for my working at TechRepublic. He kept nagging me to take chances and give up my job as a newspaper’s Web editor. Finally, I did. That’s David for you: always taking chances. I have to ask myself, "Am I wise to continue to take his advice?" Look where it’s got me now—trekking through Nepal and up a 20,000-foot peak!

I know that David has extensive camping experience—much more than my own—and I’ve learned I can depend on him, whether on the river or on the trail. In fact, he even puts out his arm to shield front passengers when he brakes his Jeep too hard. Is that overprotective or what?

David is a visionary. That is, he spends most of his time in his own world, thinking up ideas. Sometimes, these ideas are even great. Really, hardly anyone thinks of me as being as detail-oriented as he claims, so it gives you some idea how far out he is. (Okay, I lied; they do think of me that way.)

When we went to Estes Park, CO, to meet our Colorado Mountain School guide, Bruce Andrews, and to receive some ice climbing instruction, I learned a secret about David: He’s a closet country music fan. I used to have a country band many years ago, but now I’m more into classical, new age, and '60s and '70s music. I just hope we can stand each other for 28 days. If anyone knows some good techniques on how to travel for a long time with someone, please write me. It’s a good thing they invented headphones, isn’t it?

From what I’ve learned about Acute Mountain Sickness, at 20,000 feet your body doesn’t care whether you’re a marathon runner or a couch potato—if you’re predisposed to AMS, you’ll get it. I hope we both avoid it, so we can summit Imja Tse and bring back some great shots without my having to carry David down on my back.
Tech equipment and assistance for TechRepublic’s almostEverest tech trek adventure was provided by:

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.

Mike Jackman is an editor-in-chief of TechProGuild, an editor of PC Troubleshooter and Windows Support Professional, and also works as a freelance Web designer and consultant. Together with his co-editor-in-chief David Bard, he will be traveling to Nepal in April 2000 to report on high-altitude technology and to climb 20,285-foot Imja Tse. In his spare time (when he can find some), Mike’s an avid devourer and writer of science fiction, parent to two perpetually adolescent cats, and a hiking enthusiast.

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