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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
May 262011
 

Alan pointing put his signature on the Rum Doodle Everest summitter board

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.

Climb On!

Alan

Memories are Everything

Alan signing the Rum Doodle Everest summitter board

The Rum Doodle Everest summitter board with Alan's blue signature and date in the middle

The Rum Doodle Everest summitter board

Alzheimer's Fact: One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer's disease. (source: Alzheimer Association)
Alzheimer's disease is the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed

  26 Responses to “Finishing Everest”

  1. Alan – I was at the north base camp area (tourist camp) on May 20 and took some photos of the mountain and close ups of the peak area after dark; the photo picked up several camps up on the mountain along with the starry sky and looked like some at first step and other camps at camp 3 area. Perhaps one of them was yours? Will be glad to send one to you if you’d like. BTW we also went to Rum Doodle a few days later glad you left your footprint there too! Matt

  2. Hey, Alan, thanks for replying and giving your advice. My husband and friends think I’m crazy: “Huh? YOU? Going to Everest? Hahahaha!” Well, like that guy in the movie “Rudy” said, “You gotta have dreams. It’s what makes life tolerable.”

    One day, Alan. One day.

    I’ll talk to you on Denali!!!!!!

    Kat

  3. Flat Stanley is safe at home in Florida. Thank you so much again for taking him up to the top of the world. Congratulations on your achievement!

    Mrs. Hoy’s second graders

  4. Alan, congratulations again on your thrilling triumph. I will be closely following your Denali attempt, just like I did your Everest expedition. I am so proud of you – you are truly an inspiration.

    I know you had a question blog but I’m posting mine here: what kind of training and financial preparation would you recommend for someone who just wants to trek to base camp on Everest?

    Looking forward to your Denali trip!

    Kat

    • Thanks Kat for all your supportive comments throughout Everest. Denali is next!! The trek to Base Camp is a wonderful journey I highly recommend. As for training, I would walk several miles a few times a week with a small pack (10lbs) starting six months before your trek. Hills would be best. The trek is not terribly physical but the altitude gain can makes it tough on many people so don’t underestimate the need to train and be in excellent condition. The cost vary but I would count on $5000 for the entire trek including travel. Obviously you can go much higher depending on many things. I have a page on the trek with more information at http://www.alanarnette.com/alan/khumbufaq.php

  5. Thanks Alan for answering my questions about your backpack weight. I had heard IMG used larger bottles which are heavier but the plus was you didn’t have to change them as often. Glad to hear the extra weight wasn’t an issue. I hope you have a smooth landing at the Kahiltna International Airport and a terrific climb on Denali. Make sure you order some pizza there…sometimes it’s still warm when it arrives! As a fellow climber, I really enjoy following your adventures. You’re definitely one the nicest guys in mountaineering.

  6. I’m so disappointed that the journey is over. I so enjoyed reading your blog every morning. You are quite the inspiration!

    • Hi Jo, thank you!! I will still be posting from the rest of the 7 Summits starting with Denali on June 25, 2011!

  7. I’m glad Cathy took my advice and reminded you to sign at the Rum Doodle. You deserve to have your name up there! So happy for you and glad you made it home OK.

  8. Alan,

    Signing that board is like saying: Everest – done!

    YEA!!!!!!!!!!

  9. WELL DONE ! CONGRATS ! AMAZING ! SO JEALOUS ! GREAT CAUSE ! WELL DONE !

  10. Am so proud of and happy for you Alan. Wish I could have been there to greet you on your return to base camp. Many congratulations. Makes me want to jump up from my desk and sign on for McKinley just to spend more time with you. But then the reality of dragging those heavy sleds up steep slopes sets in . . . . McKinley needs Sherpas!!
    I will be following you on line and hoping you continue to cost me more money every step you take in your journey. Climb on, and climb safe.

    • Thanks Bill H. We missed your huge smile after you left! Keep that checkbook out because I plan on costing you more money with more summits :)

  11. Alan,
    Finalizing the summit adventure with your name on the whiteboard – yahoo!
    Well, it looks like you have a lot of weight to gain back so I hope you had a huge dinner at the Rum Doodle :)
    Congrats again and have an uneventful journey home.
    Best wishes,
    Jeannie

  12. As you’ve stated… this summit was so much more than the summit of the world’s tallest mountain. Though, that in of itself is outstanding. You WILL raise $1,000,000 for Alzheimer’s and you continue to raise awareness. You are my hero… :)

  13. Sweet!On to the next as the cause N-everests…thanks Alan for the memories.

  14. Alan — you epitomize the meaning of perseverance — congratulations on summiting! And thank you for your tireless efforts in support of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. Rest up and dine well.
    Best wishes,
    Patty Bovie

  15. Seems a simple thing,just another signature.Only an Everest summiter understands the effort and sacrifice involved.In your case,that signature was a decade in the making.So proud of ya,man.Just think,on your flight(s) home,the airplane is at nearly the same altitude as what it took to sign that board.Gotta be humbling.Just one more thing to say….Climb on…HOME!

  16. So nice to see your name on the board Alan! I know I wanted to tell you to visualize over the balcony. Well, you obviously did more than that…safe trip home and I am looking forward to following your further adventures on your 7 summits!

  17. We are just reading some of the account of your trip. The white board is filled with lots of names but we found your’s. How are you doing? You sound healthy, strong and brave. We are happy for you. Thank you for taking Flat Stanley to Mt. Everest. We hope you had a nice time. The history of your trip is helpful. The prayer flags look pretty with the snow. We are looking forward to hearing from you when you get back.

    Sincerely,
    Mrs. Hoy and her 2nd graders

  18. Alan,

    Congratulations on your Everest summit! What was the weight of your oxygen bottle and regulator from the South Col to the Summit? How much do you think your total pack weighed from South Col to Summit? What’s your next climb? Manaslu perhaps? Thanks and keep climbing!

    • Hi Ken, The oxygen bottle and regulator weigh about 20 pounds. Total pack load weighed less than 25lbs. I was a bit worried about this but had trained with 30-50 lb packs in anticipation and found that on summit night, the weight was of no concern. I asked many of my teammates how they felt about the load and they all agreed that it was no issue. Next climb is to Denali in late June as part of the 7 Summits this year. Thnaks again!

  19. Darn! I didn’t know there was all that to it… I just made a footprint with my team to hang from the ceiling and actually paid for our dinner there even though all of us summited! Well maybe next time I am in Kathmandu. :)

    Thanks for sharing the trip and your quest for the 7 Summits!

  20. Congrats again on your summit! I’ll look for you next spring when I return to Kathmandu. You’re name is in great company!

  21. Alan where did the rest of you go?! You look different to the photos I took of you at the Khumbu Lodge in Namche. Looking forward to the full Everest report – even my parents are hooked on your dispatches now! Safe flight home.

    Matt
    NZ

    • Hi Matt, yup, drop a bit of me – mostly my heart on the summit! Great to see you along the trail.