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Everest Base Camp Trek Success

May 3, 2017

17861633_10155170004894664_4745602353677102859_nI’ve been back from my Everest Base Camp trek for the Climb to Fight Cancer for two weeks. It feels like a lifetime. I’m happy to have creature comforts, great work, delicious food, friends and family to come home to, but the pull of the mountains is strong and the memories of the trek will last a lifetime. As I reflect, there are many things that made this journey notable.

Going with the Climb to Fight Cancer. To share this experience with climbers from the Climb to Fight Cancer was special. Each of us are united by a common bond to fundraise for a cure to cancer. Each of us has watched someone we love suffer, fight, win and sometimes lose their battle. There were tears as we reflected on the people we love, but there was laughter too. To climb in their honor was … well, there are no words actually.

17973467_10154651506928137_8180041864475949348_oThe people. The Nepalese and Sherpa are beautiful people. As we passed thru villages, I couldn’t resist taking candid photos of the young, playful children saying “Namaste” in sweet, quiet voices as we passed. The pursuit of high peaks in this region would simply not be possible without the grit, strength and kindness of the Sherpa. As porters passed our team with their heavy expedition loads, I reflected on the challenge that altitude presents and simply couldn’t fathom carrying those loads on my own back. The tea houses greeted us with hot tea and simple, good meals and a warm stove. Life, especially as you get higher, gets simple; basic even. It takes the support of many to climb and trek safely.

17883824_10155387395141833_4190394638323583234_nThe team. Teams are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get! Our team was a delightful mix of people hailing from different countries and backgrounds. Each of us had a reason to be there. We took good care of each other, traded hilarious stories and shared tiger balm when our colds got worse. In a short time, you become a mountain family of sorts.

The guides. Going with experts provides an incomparable level of skill and comfort. Carole and Vern Tejas with Alpine Ascents International (AAI) bring countless years of experience at high altitude. Beyond that, their relationships with Sherpa families are clearly dear to them. Trekking does not come without risk, but knowing that skilled guides walk beside you with the full weight of AAI and their network behind them really is a comfort. It’s good to know that despite how incredibly remote you are, they are trained to spot altitude sickness, know what to do to treat you from blisters to bronchitis and know what to do and who to call if you need to get out quickly.

17862636_10155387057616833_9003049542549002176_nThe experience. It was tremendous. Each day we walked closer and closer to peaks that seem to touch the stars. The landscape changed daily. The sun was bright and the sky vivid blue. At moments, I thought … Am I really here doing this? My favorite moment was waking to snow-covered Tengboche. The sun made the landscape sparkle like diamonds and the air was fresh, cold and crisp. It was a perfect morning in a perfect place.

I write this as the climbing world reels from the loss of Ueli Steck. As I reflect upon my own journey, I saw firsthand what draws people to the heights of the Himalaya. I am truly humbled to have walked on trails that tell the stories of those that have walked them before as they follow their dreams to the summit.

~ by Kris Rietmann ~ Climber, philanthropist, transportation specialist, communications professional and adventurist.

Editors Note: Special thanks to Monica Mercer, Lori McColl and Kris Rietmann for climbing to such great heights to fund life-saving research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. 

All photos courtesy of Kris Rietmann, Monica Mercer, Lori McColl and Tracy Friezer Fives. 17903954_10155387058276833_7988472761535360643_n

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2017 4:28 am

    Awesome Team! I summited Elbrus in 2006, Aconcagua 2008 and Everest in 2012 for Fred Hutch. Keep it rolling !!

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