Virtual Everest 2020: Home – The End

The fictional team is back home. Thanks, to everyone who followed this story and thanks especially to those who made a donation to one of the guides who will distribute all the money to their climbing Sherpas.

In the real-world. there were 51 #Everest2020 summits this spring, all Northside: 8 Tibetans rope fixers, 8 Chinese survey team, and 14 Chinese nationals supported by 21 Tibetans. Congrats to all. Latest summits in decades due to deep snow. New altitude measurement expected in a few months. Thanks to Mingma G for the updates.

Virtual Everest 2020 – Support the Climbing Sherpas is a joint project of Alan Arnette and several global guide companies. Our objective is to entertain Everest fans during the Coronavirus spring closure and raise money to help the Climbing Sherpas who are not working this spring. While there will be accurate historical references, this series is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Please join us by making a donation using the links below plus by adding your Everest experiences in the comment section.


“I can’t believe that really happened.” Snorer said to Old Man. “Hell, I’m not sure it did!” he joked. “Yeah, made it look easy, NOT!” Buddy chimed in, adding, “Hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

The team celebrated their Everest summit over a dinner of yak meat, potatoes, green beans, lentils, and tomato soup. Chuldim made a cake for them. With icing, it read, “Congratulations! Everest Summit May 25, 2020”

Girlfriend trying to smile, simply offered, “I miss him.” Sitting next to her, She smiled backed and said, “I know, you will see him soon.” Guide arranged for a helicopter flight from Base Camp to Kathmandu so Couple could be reunited. The rest of the team would trek back.

Boyfriend was recovering in the Kathmandu Medical Center. All of his vital signs were good, and the doctors told him he would be released in a day or two.

The team began the trek to Lukla the next day, spending nights in Periche and Namche. It took three days to get there. The weather was good, but the monsoons were looming. They caught a Yeti Air flight and landed in Kathmandu only five days after summiting Mt. Everest. Most had booked flights home over the next few days. They passed by a customs sign at the airport and smiled at the simplicity of Nepal.

Guide and Dawa stayed at Base Camp to help take the tents down and pack everything into plastic drums. Fifty yaks would arrive the day after tomorrow to take it all to Gorak Shep where most of the gear would be stored until next season. Some of it would go to Kathmandu to be used on Manaslu or Cho Oyu in the autumn. The Sherpas were diligent in leaving the camp spotless.

“What a group, Dawa! Thank you for all your help, especially with Boyfriend. I don’t know what I would have done without you.” Guide told his Sidar. “You’re welcome. I am glad it all worked out. But it was touch and go at times.” 

Guide called all the Climbing Sherpas, cooks, porters, and support staff together. “I want to thank each of you for a great job these past two months. From setting this camp in late March to keeping everyone fed and watered throughout the expeditor, for hauling all our stuff up the mountains and for climbing with us and keeping us safe. A very special thank you to those who helped rescue Boyfriend and support Old Man. Without your dedication, expertise, and professionalism, we might have not summited, and perhaps lost a couple of people. So while it’s only words, please know that from my heart, I thank you and am proud to call you my friends.”

He passed out the tips. The members had been very generous, and the extra money was appreciated.

The road from the Kathmandu domestic airport terminal to Hotel Kathmandu felt strange. She had gotten used to the quiet of the Himalaya, the lack of cars, and all the trappings of modern life. Despite the WiFi, movie nights, and sat phone calls home, She found it peaceful, relaxing, and a welcome break from her job and home duties.

She slept most of the flight home. She was tired. On her other climbs, She had been tired, but this one was different. It was longer, more physically demanding, emotionally draining, yet with unparalleled in satisfaction. She smiled as she drifted off.

Loner and Dutch said goodbye at the airport as they boarded planes for different cites. Buddies flew together back to their homes. Old Man and Snorer ended up on the same flight to their connection in Dubai where they went their separate ways. Couple had already flown home, now engaged. “Look! Everest!” Girlfriend said. “Boyfriend, glancing out the airplane window just smiled, “Beautiful. I’m so proud of you.”

The plane landed so smoothly that She didn’t wake up. “Welcome home,” said the flight attendant, softly touching her shoulder. She gathered her carry-on bag and walked out the Airbus 330 door and onto the jetway. She cleared security, smiling at the Customs Officer who said, “Welcome back.”

Her two duffle bags were waiting for her besides the luggage carousel. She found a trolly and loaded them on, politely rejecting an offer of help from a buff young man. “I got this.” She told him. It was all she could not say, “I just summited Mt. Everest, I think I can handle my gear!” She smiled inside.

The automatic door opened, and there they were, Husband, Daughter, and Son. They held a sign up with huge letters:

“Welcome Home Mt. Everest Summiter!”

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

Climbing Sherpa Support

Who, how much, and how often you donate is a personal decision. Maybe you climbed with one of the guides, or plan to one day. Perhaps you have followed them for years and want to support their Climbing Sherpa team, or maybe you support by geography – Nepali, American, Austrian, British, New Zealand. It’s up to you and will be much appreciated.

My sincere appreciation to those companies who accepted my invitation to join Virtual Everest 2020 – Support the Climbing Sherpas:

For an overview of the Virtual Everest 2020 – Support the Climbing Sherpas, please visit this post.

Previous Virtual Everest 2020 posts:

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10 thoughts on “Virtual Everest 2020: Home – The End

  1. Dear Alan. I just want to send you the biggest thank you for Everest 2020. I looked forward to reading it every day and the videos have been briillaint and interesting and I really feel like I have met you all! I will never be fit enough to summit Beautiful Mount Everest, so your pictures and knowledge makes it possible for me to see it here in Scotland. Your whole website is full of so much information and is truely fantastic! My head and heart is just full of mountains and you have made it easy for me to indulge my love affair with the great and wonderful Himalayas. Thank you again, stay safe and well.

    1. Ok Clare, thank so much for your thoughtful comment. It means so much to me that together we could get to the summit, and back home. I hope the mountains do some natural restoration during this break. All the best you and beautiful Scotland.

  2. Good stuff Alan, glad “Loner” summited and made it back down in one piece. I have donated plenty of my equipment over the years to the porters and climbing Sherpas and it has become very expensive but the hugs and the odd tear has been gold. We have had devastating bush fires here in Australia so my donations have gone into that cause at present. Thankyou for your Everest 2020 story you took me back.
    Stay safe mate and all the best. Go the Cincinati Bengals “WHO DEY”!

    Cheers Ian from Adelaide.

  3. Dear Alan,
    Thank you so much for your amazing work this season both to keep us going with an incredible story, had tears this week as the team got to summit and then got back down safely and the fundraising work to support many Sherpa teams.
    It’s been a difficult time for so many and to have your story to look forward to each day has just been so much appreciated. Take care and thanks again
    Janine –

    1. Thanks Janine, I appreciate that you felt the story the way I intended. Getting to the top is often emotional even for the most stoic.

  4. Thanks so much, Alan. This was truly a fantastic way to spend a “virtual” Everest season. I looked forward to each day’s postings and was happy to see that so many were successful and all returned home safely. So well done! Perhaps when all is said and done, this was a rest year that Everest needed. Stay safe!

    1. Appreciate your comment Diane. I agree, there is a sliver, or gold, lining in all of this enabling a natural restoration for at least this year.

  5. Thanks again, Alan, for doing this. Great idea in a strange year. Question: do we assume that the south side experienced the same heavy snows, etc this year as the north? If yes, correct to think that – had people been on the south side- it would have been another narrow weather window with everyone trying to summit the last week of May?

    1. Thanks Tom, good question. The two sides can experience very different weather. A few years ago, the south was extremely windy, while the north mostly calm – opposite of the norm. My guess is that the Nepal side this year also received higher than usual snowfall. At one point Michael Fagin of predicted 2-3 feet of snow on the south from the cyclone. Not sure if that happened. I monitored the internet-based forecast all season and never saw a huge dump.

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