Climbing Everest has many parts: training, trekking, climbing and then a traditional unique to the tallest mountain in the world – signing a white board at the Rum Doodle restaurant in Kathmandu.
Hanging on the wall behind the bar are two large boards filled with signatures of summiters. Off to the right, under a bit thicker glass, is another frame holding the signatures of Hillary, Rob Hall, Messner and a few others with a “bit” more history than the rest of us.
Last night, Heiko, Mirjam, Suzanna and I went there to complete our mission. First we had to show proof we summited, a statement from the Ministry of Tourism with our names and expedition. Then proof of identification, our passport, and finally two pictures used to issue a card that identifies us for free food for life! Not bad if you live in Kathmandu
We enjoyed a nice meal, shared summit stories and took in the moment.
The final stage of climbing Everest was to register our feat with Ms. Elizabeth Hawley. Known for decades as the keeper of all things Himalaya, Ms. Hawley lives in Kathmandu and keeps a running total of every Himalaya summit. It is well known that if she said you summited, you summtied; otherwise you are out.
In the past she would grill each person individually as to what they saw, what time the made it and other specifics that only the summiter might know. But now in her 80’s, she only speaks with the expedition leader to verify the list. I did meet her in 2008 as her driver in her blue Volkswagen Bug waited outside. She was dapper, polite and full of questions. A true legend.
I am leaving Kathmandu’s Hotel Tibet in a moment to catch my flight, TG320 to Bangkok then on to LA and Denver to meet my incredible wife at the top of the stairs. It has been a wonderful experience that can be summarized in one word: humbling.
A full Everest report is still on tap but up next is the 4th climb of The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything – Mount McKinley or Denali. I leave on June 25th. Let’s hope I gain a little of the weight I lost before then!
As always, thanks for your support and more importantly your generous donations and identification for Alzheimer’s. The summit was nice but this is all about the cause.
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