Sandy Irvine, (member of the Oxford University
winning Boat Race crew) 1923 © The Sandy Irvine
Trust, UK. Not to be reproduced without permission.
Dispatch 1 4/3/2004:
And so my
A 7 hour drive to Pittsburgh,
PA starts the trip. 2 full days of meetings to iron out the details, compile
gear and ideas. Good-bye to loved ones is difficult but we know that is a good
thing. Pittsburgh to San Fran goes smoothly. SFO to Hong Kong is 17.5 hours,
darn those head winds. I arrive HK late; I make the connection to Bangkok but
my baggage does not. I wonder if running through airports with 100lbs. of
carry-on baggage counts as low altitude training. Thai Airlines knows that I
am late and meets me as I land and escorts me through the airport so I do not
miss my flight. On board my flight to Bangkok my flight attendant, a Ms.
Santana, brings me plenty of water to cool me down and then calmly explains to
me what is going on with my baggage and how to retrieve it in Kathmandu. Panic
attack is averted.
Did I mention that Thai
Airlines is now my favorite? Bangkok to KTM goes fine I am starting to settle
down after nearly 30 hrs. in the air. I obtain my visa and head to baggage
claim, I wait and wait but my baggage is not there. An airport official is
walking with a sign that says “Tom West, Thai Airlines” Hey, that’s me. He
informs me that my baggage is delayed and should be in at 1:00pm the next day.
I am then met by Deha from Dan Mazur’s group and whisked away to the Nepa
Hotel. I am introduced to Dan.
I meet our Sherpas, who we
will be working closely together for the next 10 weeks and I realize
immediately that I am in very good hands. We go buy clothing for me to change
into and we grab some Momo’s for dinner… delicious. Over the next few days I go
with my Sherpas go all over KTM, buying batteries, rope, picking up our
SummitOxygen, sorting and resorting and checking and rechecking our gear.
This week we will build some crates to protect our gear on the long trip into
Tibet. It seems as if there is nothing that our Sherpas can not do. They are
organized, experienced, patient, smart in the ways of an expedition and has
the warmest smiles and laughs. I am sure that I will learn much more from them
than they will from me; I am very lucky to be working with our Sherpas. Slowly
the rest of the team arrives in KTM. The atmosphere is relaxed but
professional. We have made a solid, strong choice by hiring Dan Mazur for
logistics [transport to and from the mountain, food, etc...].
Today, 3 April we will visit
a Lama and ask for his blessing to bring us luck and success on Chomolungma.
All my baggage has finally trickled in and I am a little closer to being ready
for the weeks ahead and the challenges that I know will come with them. Until
the next time. Namaste, TjW
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