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Matt Fioretti- Guide/Owner- has led 20 expeditions and has 35 seasons of experience at altitude.

Matt Fioretti- Guide/Owner- has led 20 expeditions and has 35 seasons of experience at altitude.
Matt Fioretti - Guide/Owner has led 22 expeditions and has 36 seasons of experience at altitude.




About Four Winds


HISTORY

Four Winds Himalayan Guide Service has been guiding trips in the Himalaya since 1994. We have more than 22 years and 38 seasons of experience at altitude, including 19 successful climbing expeditions. With an emphasis on uncrowded treks and remote climbs, clients leave Nepal/Tibet having experienced the rich culture, ancient trails, and the intense climbing available in the Himalaya. Founder Matt Fioretti has been Alpine climbing since 1984 and brings 26 years of experience to the high altitude arena. Gambia Sherpa and Singa Lama joined Matt early on and bring with them more than 30 years combined experience on the trails and steep faces of the high peaks. The accumulation of years and passion for the mountains between the 3 individuals insures a safe, rare adventure.


GROUP SIZE

Our trips are intimate. We allow only 6 to 9 trekkers and 2 to 6 climbers on a journey. You can call the owner Matt Fioretti at home or office anytime prior to the trek or climb. Weather your on a climb or trek, individual attention is one of our top priorities. You can expect prompt, courteous responses to your questions. Pre-trip orientations allow for everyone to receive a comfortable knowledge about the journey. While on the trek our adherence to small group size helps members become brother and sister, a camaraderie that often lasts for years afterwards. The intimacy is extended to our Sherpa and Nepali friends. We have created lasting relationships with the locals. Our group is greeted with a warmth that suggests we are part of the family. You feel at home and get a “backstage” view into the culture.


ABILITY

Almost anyone can do a trek in the Himalaya. You can be a beginner and feel comfortable with our experienced staff. Our age group has spanned 11 to 79 years old. The pace is slow and comfortable, each day hiking village to village and traversing the highest mountain range in the world. Everyone has acclimatized on our treks because of the calm pace and expertise of the guides. For the more advanced we offer guided and commercial climbs. Climbers with experience but daunted by the idea of high altitude, are taught expedition skills and the logistics of climbing a big mountain in a safe environment. For those who don’t need a guide we offer commercial trips. This means we handle all the logistics and red tape that are inherent in the Nepal Permit system, but you go as a climbing team member proficient at climbing.


SAFETY

Safety is our number one priority. Each group is registered with the American Embassy in Kathmandu and is equipped with a satalite phone. In 22 years of leading trips on the trails and mountains of Nepal our safety record is flawless.


Join us. We are personable, professional, fun, and have years of experience at altitude.

We specialize in the Himalaya of Nepal so you will have a transformational, adventure. One cannot walk through the Himalaya with out being changed or experiencing some shift in the soul.




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Trekking and Climbing Shedule

Please call for possible openings for 2017. Now taking deposits for April, 2017, and 2017 trips

2017 March Expedition- Mt Everest, Tibet side $28,000

April 2017 Trek- Trek the 5 holy lakes in the Gokyo area. Hike to the summit of a 17700 foot peak. Cross a 17660 foot pass, visit 2 monasteries while trekking village to village. 20 days door to door. All abilities. 3 spaces left

September 2017 - Pilgrimage Mt. Kailash - Tibet's holy mountain. A true extreme hike and adventure. Hiking over the crest of the Himalaya in Nepal to Tibet. Then circumambulating Tibet's holy mountain on pilgrimage with Tibetans. Must be in excellent physical condition. 7 to 9 hour hiking days at altitude. 4 spaces left.

Sept. 2017 - Ama Dablam Expedition. Four Winds has led 3 expeditions to Ama Dablam and we will return in 2017. A classic climb to test your climbing ability. 5.8 rock, AI 2 Ice, all mixed with altitude make this a challenging climb. spaces available


October 2017 Trek- Trek the 5 holy lakes in the Gokyo area. Hike to the summit of a 17700 foot peak. Cross a 17660 foot pass and visit 2 monasteries while trekking village to village. All abilities. 6 Spaces Left

For more information and pricing please email or call.

Phone: 206-282-0472

Email: fourwindsexpedtions@gmail.com


Website: fourwindsexpeditions.com


Greg Valentine and Matt Fioretti did the first ascent of Nireka in a 2 day alpine style push.

Greg Valentine and Matt Fioretti did the first ascent of Nireka in a 2 day alpine style push.
Nearing the summit on the first ascent of Nireka. Four Winds strives to do peaks that are uncrowded, remote, and rarely done. On many of our expeditions we are the only team on the mountain.

Matt Fioretti eyeing the South Ridge of Cholatse

Matt Fioretti eyeing the South Ridge of Cholatse



What clients have to say....


True to his word, Matt was committed to safety on our trek to Nepal.He is knowledgeable, organized and has a positive attitude which is infectious. Matt is well loved in the communities we visited. The respect and admiration he has developed with the Nepali people created a unique, enhanced and truly exceptional experience for our group. Thanks, Matt! October 2013 Trek.

K. Baker


Going to Nepal was like stepping into the pages of National Geographic with the color, chaos and crowds of Kathmandu to the breathtakingly beautiful snow capped Himalayas. Matt had said we would stay with friends (I read business associates; I was wrong). These people were Matt's second family and they treated us as family. I didn't have as much vacation time as the rest of my group, so I returned early. It snowed one night and the inn keeper, Urken wouldn't let me leave until the trail was broken. A little while later I looked out the window and Urken was up on the mountain checking the trail for me. He came back in and said it was safe to go now. Later as I was crossing one of many suspension bridges, my porter, Prem, ran ahead of me to stop the yak train from starting across the bridge until I had finished crossing. With Matt's group you're not a tourist, you're part of Nepal, you're family.


Namaste,

Kathy


“It has been years since I went with Matt and his crew to Ama Dablam and crazy as it sounds, it still feels like yesterday. The experience was one that is hard to put into words, when you are there amongst the people and grandeur of the Himalayas you feel all at once small and insignificant, yet more real and present than ever. I carry the essence and spirit of that journey with me everyday. Just go… more than that, go with Matt.”


I was just shy of 60 when I did the Everest Trail Trek with Matt. It was one of the most memorable events in my life! I loved it! And I learned some trekking lessons that apply to the rest of life, as well---like "Pace yourself." Those of us who did pace ourselves made it to the magnificent Everest Base Camp area at 17,000'. Throughout the entire trek we always felt secure with wonderfully kind Sherpas always there to lend a hand and encourage us onward. It was a grand initial experience into trekking that held so very many gifts from beginning to end.

Port Townsend



"My trips to Nepal with Four Winds were life-changing experiences, in the best possible way. Being halfway around the world, in an unfamiliar place, thousands of miles away from everything you know, can be a scary situation, but when you're with Matt, there's a comfort level. It feels like all of Nepal is your family."

M. Mahoney



Yes, the trek stands out as one of my life's most amazing experiences, certainly because of the Himalayas magnificence, but also due to our group's lighthearted, playful camaraderie, the welcoming arms of the locals at the teahouses where you had been before, evening card games, and the way you kept us always under your protective eye ... checking every day for our oxygen saturation levels, making sure we drank enough water, stopping for rest when needed, and also encouraging us along, like on Gokyo Ri, for those last panting steps, so that I might not miss the view of one of the world's most spectacular, breath-taking sights ... and yet, I never felt pampered or stifled, as you simultaneously offered ample space for us to move in our own rhythms, moods and pace.

If I never properly said thanks to you before for all that Matt ... Thanks!!! ... the experience will continue to resonate within me for my lifetime!


Some things that are extraordinary about Nepal and going with Four Winds. Kids smiling faces, fluffy clouds, the aroma of incense, village life, and the journey in the mountains. I especially liked the pace of the trek. I could go at my own pace and felt comfortable. Tim S.


With Matt I have successfully climbed a 6000 meter peak and a 8000 meter peak in the Himalaya even though I suffer from a liver disease. The first was Naya Kanga, 6000M, post -monsoon , in the Langtang region near Ganga La. The friends I made have become lifelong best friends, not only the fellow trekkers but the sherpas as well, like Singi and Sangi who brought me milk tea (Dudh Chai)and cheese on the descent. The Four Winds staff, assistants and Sherpas, make the journey possible. When climbing Cho Oyu from Tibet we spent 7 weeks in the Dingri Region and 4 weeks above 20K feet, climbing to 27,500 feet without oxygen. Matt, being the consummate guide escorted a sick teammate back to BC. Two of the five members made the summit. When I go back it will be with Four Winds and fortunately with Matt who also had a serious illness sidetrack him, but who has already made his recovery and found his way back to the Himalayas. This is the true meaning of meeting life's challenges, and this is what you can achieve with Four Winds. Hope to see you on the high mountains. Namaste!

Glen Anders


Matt and Four Winds Himalayan Guide Service kindled in me a deep love of alpine climbing on my first trip to Nepal in 1999. This first trip taught me a lot and I have returned to Nepal with Matt four times since. Matt has a deep love and respect for the indigenous culture of the Sherpa people of the Khumbu, and in his 20 year dealings with the people in that region, he has established many deep friendships; it is especially remarkable to share in these connections with him. I have always felt safe when climbing with Matt. He has developed good mountain sense over the years, and his motto "may the four winds blow you safely home" is a propos of his climbing philosophy which holds safety in high regard. Matt is also a fountainhead of ideas, and has always provided a source of inspiration for those seekers who take to the mountains. I have learned a lot from Matt's personal struggles with aplastic anemia, and his return to active climbing continues to inspire many people to see mountains as metaphors for the challenges we all face in life. I have Matt to thank for what has developed into a life-long passion for me. It all started with one trip to the Himalaya.




My journey to Nepal with Matt and Four Winds was inspirational and life-transforming. Matt's expertise in guiding allowed us to safely explore the exquisite beauty of the Himalayas and experience Nepal's fascinating culture. We always felt welcome wherever we went, as Matt has formed incredible connections with the people of Kathmandu, the sherpas who gently encouraged us, and the families who brought us into their homes and fed us delicious meals. Nepal is a hiker and climber's paradise and an adventurer's dream. It's beauty is truly divine. The journey has made a permanent impact on the way I live my life, appreciate nature and take risks. I highly recommend traveling with Four Winds! Aileen P.



The smell was of burning lantern oils and incense. The colors were the bluest of blues for the sky and the whitest of whites for the clouds. The sounds were of another language, and the ringing of yak bells were soothing to my ears late into the night. The touch of the air was bitter cold in a soothing way. The taste of the food was bland, yet sweet and interesting to my taste buds. When I close my eyes and think back on this journey , it was the most romantic thing I have aver experienced on my own. I have returned with Four Winds 3 times. David Frisk



“Thank you Matt for my wonderful trip to Nepal. It really changed my life forever” Jeanne


Matt, I wanted to officially thank you for a seamless trip to Nepal which you made fun and easy. The trip and all its details were extremely well thought out. With all your planning, I never had to worry about any of the details one would normally have to deal with when traveling half way around the world. I also felt priviledged and protected to be under the many watchful eyes of all the friends you have made over the years (Gombu, Qayoom, Dawafuti & family, Tsedem, etc). Even when I branched off on my own your friends were there to make sure I was safe and happy (Hira, Ramesh, etc). If it wasnt for you and your flexible, can-do attitude, I would never have made this trip to the wonderful and amazing Nepal. D. Oxford


My trip to Nepal was life alterning and I owe so much of that to Matt and his team. He has such a passion for the country and the people that my trip was anything but ordinary. While we were taken to many of the main tourist attraction sites, we were also shown sites of Nepal that few tourists rarely see. My trek back to the 5th holy lake at Goyko will forever be in my heart as one of the greatest experiences of my life. Matt was in constant communication about changes to the intinerary (a common fact when traveling in the third world) and always worked diligently to ensure that things went as smoothly as possible, and that we were getting the best experiences everyday. His easy going personality allows for lots of laughs with quick and lasting bonds being formed. I am grateful to have found Matt and his team. I didn't have one bad expereince on this trip and I look forward to when I will be able to go again!


Everest at sunset from 20,000 ft.Everest Sunset from Pumori.

Everest at sunset from 20,000 ft.Everest Sunset from Pumori.

Nuptse

Nuptse
Taken from Camp I -Pumori

Pumori

Pumori
S. W. Ridge. Pumori

We are insignificant

We are insignificant
Trekkers at 16,000 feet dwarfed by some of the smaller peaks in Nepal. Have trouble acclimatizing? Our treks are designed so everyone acclimatizes.

Nirekha- 5th pitch

Nirekha- 5th pitch
Join us in October 2015 on this beautiful climb

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ama dablam


Ama Dablam is always quite a visual experience. Its name means "mothers charm box". Locals believe it looks like the prayer box that Tibetan and Sherpa women wore around their neck. I spent 3 years guiding the right hand side of this face. I know her well.

lammergeier


One of the heighlights of our journey was experiencing a Lammergeier. This is a bird that is the size of a small Cesna. No joke this photo was taken with only a 120mm lenz, the bird was a mile away. We guessed the wing span to be 2.5 meters across or 9 feet across. The wing was probably 18 inches wide. Sherpas tell us that they will pick up a baby yak.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Snore Fest

Hello Everyone,
Sorry we have not been able to post throughout the journey. We had technical difficulties. Basically the dashboard of my blog has been somehow switched to Chinese characters. "Technical difficulty" is a subtle description.

We have had a great journey only rough by the fact that almost everyone snored and snored loud. No one could sleep and no one wanted to stay with this person or that person. This person purs that one sounds like a deisle engine. (Roger sounds like a diesel engine that is breaking down). He thinks he does not snore.

To all the English contigent, Roger says hello to field church. John pushed him up the hill. Dont tell him I told you.

Other than the snoring the trip was fantastic. We all hiked a small peak called Gokyo and arrived at 17600 feet.

More to come. Just wanted to let you know that we are down and survived sleep deprevation. England, Please email so they "think" you love them. Matt

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Way is Beautiful

Will she live or will she die? This is the question that came to mind. I was on the 4th floor of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance waiting for the nurse with the clipboard to come out and call my name. It was my 5th anniversary from transplant last Monday, October 4th, 10. I was in for my 6 month check up. The woman perpendicular to me sat in a wheel chair. Her head slumped, too tired from the Chemo sessions. Her bald head a pale grey color with a few wisps of hair. She wore slippers because her feet were too swollen to fit into shoes, side effects of the chemo and an alchemy of drugs. A tear came from the corner of her eye. I knew exactly what she was thinking. I was in her same position physically, spiritually, emotionally. Just 5 years ago I sat with death just as she does now. In 3 days I fly back to the Himalaya for another trek. The journey to get back to the mountains I love I remember well. I see my journey reflected in the woman sitting in the wheel chair in front of me. She sits up, straightens her head and wipes the tear from her cheek. She flattens the wrinkles on the thigh of her pant. I know what she is thinking: I am alive now and whichever direction life takes me it will be good. The nurse with the clip board calls my name and a rush of emotion fills me. Images pass through my mind like a fast slide show. Whatever my blood readings reveal today I know I am alive now and which ever direction life takes me it will be good. The woman in the wheel chair turns her head my way as I rise from the chair. She knows exactly what I am thinking. We smile into each others eyes, mind, and heart.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

28th season

Just getting ready for my 28th season in the Himalaya. We depart October 9th. This season I am not leading a climbing expedition. I wanted to rest my body. We are doing a trek which will include staying at the 5th Holy lake below the south face of Cho Oyu. We then will hike over the Cho La pass at 17800 feet and head toward Everest Base Camp. Clients are excited as we will work our way to Advance Base Camp on Pumori SW ridge at 18500 feet where few people go. On the way down I hope to bring the group to Ama Dablams Base Camp. A magical high pasture setting with a stream running through, the huge South West face looms above. The contrast of ice and rock reaching 22500 feet, against the pastoral setting makes me feel like Im in a playground made for Gods. We are small. I always feel grateful to be walking amongst the office of the Gods again knowing they have given one more day.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

glacier crossing

Crossing the glacier with our route in the backround.

endless rubble

David on the endless boulder fields on the approach to the climb

17600 feet

We acclimatized on a hike called Gokyo Ri

remote trail

The high remote trail that only locals travel.  Urkin Sherpa showed us this high and wild trail.  

Urkin Sherpa

Urkin took us on two great adventures.  He is a great friend and always takes us in like family.

monks at monastary

We wandered some back roads in Kathmandu before the climb and found this amazing monastary.   It had a do not enter sign but these young monks waved us in.

blessings

Carter receiving a blessing from a monk at the Monkey Temple.  David and I received a blessing also.  At one point the monk wanted us to drink some yellow water.  Everyone of us pretended to drink by dumping the water down our chin.  

demonstration on how to use the "epi pen"

Preparing a first aid kit in Seattle prior to the trip.  We can perform minor surgery with this kit.

entitlement granted?


I had to pee bad.  I had been holding it for way to long.  The day before I had arrived at the Lukla airport with 2 duffle bags of climbing gear at 8am.  I left at 6pm after a policeman with a rifle crossed the tarmac and in broken English delivered the message "you flight cancel".   With the way things work in Nepal I wondered if he was supposed to deliver that message 6 hours earlier.  Today I stood in a line with tons of gear from different climbing and trekking groups vying to fly to Kathmandu.  I did not want to lose my spot in line and risk another 8 hour day at the Lukla airport with no flight.  A Sherpa friend of mine tapped me on the back and instead of the cordial Namaste, hello how are you? I said "wait here".

I ran to the bathroom.  Bathrooms in Nepal can be harsh.  I have often straddled a hole in a dark, dank outhouse.  The wood floor flexing under my weight, creaking, legs burning from the squat.  Is this floor going to hold?  I burst out of the door gasping for breath.  I am at altitude but hold my breath because the smell is horrible and am happy to escape the dilapidated floor and the possible plunge.

I expected something different in the Lukla airport bathroom but was greeted by a stench that had me holding my breath.  The floor was covered in filth and dampness.  It seemed as if people were urinating,  and worse, on the floor.  Even though I had been wearing the same pants for 20 days I lifted the hem hoping they would not touch the floor.  I tiptoed passing a sink that was equally filthy as the floor and thought to myself "I wouldn't wash my dirty pants in that thing let alone my hands".  I am still holding my breath and a man in his mid twenties enters.  I look to my right from the stall toward the sink.  He pauses sets down his backpack on what looks like a puddle of urine, bends over the sink and begins to wash his face.  I can see that the water is rust colored out of the tap.  He fills his hands and takes to big handfuls into his mouth swallows half and spits out half.  He stands slicks his hair back and acts as if he is refreshed.

At first this sends repulsive shivers down my spine.   I zip my pants and tiptoe past the man holding the hem of my pants.

When i arrive home in Seattle I want to take a shower to wash the travel off my body.  I walk into a clean bathroom, flip a switch and the clean bathroom is illuminated.  I drop my clothes on a clean floor.  Turn on the sink and brush my teeth with clean water.  Enter a tiled shower surrounded by glass.  I turn a lever and hot clean water comes out.  There is a button I can push to have a hot steam bath. 

I think back to the man washing in the Lukla bathroom.  I am reminded that nothing can be taken for granted.  To turn a lever and have clean hot water is nothing short of a miracle.  To turn a switch and have a flame appear on the stove, to push a button and have heat flowing into the home, to be able to pick from 10 different kinds of apples,  simple things that may take days, weeks, or month in the third world we have with the flip of a switch.  I am aware of taking nothing and no one for granted.  I am not entitled to anything and no one is.  

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Down and Safe

On May 15th we (Matt Fioretti, David Frisk, Carter Nelson, Peter Carey, and assistant guide John Miller) had a leasurely morning waking at camp I. We just had to move from camp I to a camp II on a high cole at 17800 ft just about 3 hours away. We departed camp I at 9:30 am dumping any weight we could.

The approach up until now was difficult terrain. There is no trail to Kyajo Ri. The approach is loose scree, large rolling- moving bolders, and crap that is hard to relax on. It is a very taxing approach. A friend of mine "Mingma Sherpa who is has summitted Everest 3 times said to me in Namche "Matt, I climb Everest many times but Kyajo Ri harder than Everest". He definately is refering to the approach where one momentary lapse in concentration on the bolder field will end with a sprained ankle or broken leg.

This approach was taxing on everyone of us. Everybody remained very possitive and in great spirits as we approached the cole which would leave us roughly 1800 feet to the summit.

One hour from the col, I could see that David was slowing and sensed that he was nearing his end. A conversation confirmed his status with few words "I am tired, dont think I can make the col. I decided to take David down and give John and gang a shot at the summit. There are few climbers like David who dont let their egos get in the way and I appreciated his truthfulness. Very selfless of him as if he continued, the possibility of putting the group in a dangerous situation may have befallen us.

John and Carter continued on the morning of the 16th and reached a high point just 150 meters below the summit before Carter let John know that he was out of gas. What a great try! Peter stayed at the col with a crampon problem and showed us all an awesome response to his crampon, now broken in two parts. "Well Ill just stay at the col and take photos of these guys". Most of us would have been swearing at the mountain Gods for the shitty crampon and bad luck, possibly throw our gear in a crevace and stomp down the mountain making hand gestures.

Thank You John Miller for taking up the slack and leading every pitch. This is not easy work at altitude. AI 3 becomes very sharp at altitude. John lead every pitch in cool style.

Over all it was a great trip and great team. All easy going. Photos and more with in the next day. Next post : The Lukla toilet

Monday, May 17, 2010

Namche Cyber Cafe

What would I do with out Santosh at the Namche Cyber Cafe? I am still learning how to send email! Thank You Santosh.

Camp I


We moved to Camp I and begin our alpine style ascent. Everyone is well.

Base Camp



Arrived Base Camp on May 10th. What a heavenly place. According to the Nepal Mountaineering Association only 16 climbers have visited the valley since 2006. The Base Camp is remote, a high pasture with wild flowers, rock walls on both sides rising 1000 plus feet. At the head of the valley a 600 foot water fall cascades to the grass floor and a quiet stream passes by our tents to the end of the valley. The Yeti dwells here no doubt. We are at 15000 feet. To arrive at this place we researched a high trail over a pass from Khunde, an approach trail rarely used by locals. Imagine "Lord of the Rings" type terrain, a fairy tale land. The photo I have attached you can just make out our Base Camp tents in yellow, small and insignificant. This is a place where you can only be humble. Matt

Sunday, May 9, 2010

escaping the pig

Ramesh presented us the pork yesterday. It was fried. Behind Ramesh I could see Urkin Sherpa communicate with his eyes, "please dont eat that". Ramesh put the plate in front of me. "Oh Ramesh, we are all Mulem" just escaped my mouth without thinking. Ramesh said "Ok sure sure, no problem". We all escaped the pig.

One day from Base Camp

We have arrived in Khunde. Urkin Sherpa showed us a local trail that was nothing short of a National Geographic adventure. The trail was pioneered by his great grandfather and only locals use it between Namche and Dole. We all had a great time.

The trekkers are on their way home and the climbers on to base camp and we are all a little sad to split up. We all have had fun. Christo Corzatte said "This was one of the most challenging yet one of the most rewarding things I have ever done".

Bob Stier says "The peaks are amazing, of course, but I have been so struck by the small things we have encountered. Exotic birds, baby yaks, wild flowers, and wonderful people."

Carter, David, and I leave for BC tomorrow over a secret pass out of Khunde. Usually it takes 2 days from Namche. Our new route will take 6 hours from Namche.

Photos and blogs after our return. Love to you all.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Slab of Pig

In 2008 I was on my way to climb the South West ridge of Pumori. On that journey we had a porter named Ramesh who loved to drink Chang, the local rice wine. He was always drunk but very positive and strong. He would be passed out by 7pm and wake to carry more than all the other porters. He always smiles and sings on the trail. After the Pumori trip I always hoped to see Ramesh again.

When we landed in Lukla and began to organize our duffel bags I hear a voice from the crowd of porters waiting for work. Ramesh never called me by my first name and always called my by the phrase "my boss". Now through the sea of voices I hear "My boss, my boss, OK OK, my boss". I turn and see Ramesh and his wind blown and alcohol colored cheeks.

We leave Lukla, Ramesh on my heels. I ask him whens the last time he showered. "OK my boss no problem, sure sure". I find that he has not showered for 20 days. We continue down the trail, I try to stay in front of him as the smell is horrible but his company uplifting.

We are in Machermo now at 14600 feet. Sitting in the warm tea room all of us sipping tea. Ramesh enters the room. "OK my boss, sure sure". He has a big smile and smells like Chang. He has a package wrapped in news paper and holds the package in his hands like it is a precious diamond. He slams it down in front of me and opens the news paper. Inside was a slab of meat. "What is this Ramesh?" "Pig" he replies.

Ramesh had purchased a slab of pig in Namche and was presenting it to me and the group to help us over the 18000 foot Renjo Pass. I smile at the gesture and kindness. "Thank you Ramesh". He grabs the slab of meat with his unwashed hands of 20 days, opens his grease stained jacket and exits the tea house happy to be expedition support.

Later I pull the group aside and begin to plan how we will receive the meat but not eat it. The Renjo pass is a few days away and we all are dreading the moment he pulls out the pig meat and says "my boss my boss, sure sure"

I am happy to have Ramesh again as a porter. Everyone is enjoying him.

In Search of the Illusive Yarsa Gomba

We are still on approach to our climb and one of our stops is the small village of Dole. We had a real treat in Dole. Urkin Sherpa took us on an acclimatization hike. Urkin was a Sirdar (head sherpa) for several of the early expeditions to the Himalaya. He is a wealth of knowledge and History. We followed him for several hours like little ducklings. He was silent most of the hike. At one point he dropped to his knees and began crawling on all fours. We all looked at each other puzzled. He tells us that there is a plant that grows here that cures cancer, it is rare but if you are lucky we will find one. He crawls and searches with a passion. "Ahhhh you are lucky today" Urkin wave us over.

He begins to explain the rare plant called Yarsa Gomba. At first several of us are in disbelief as he explains that the plant is not just a plant but half plant half catapiller. It is very rare to find one and we are all excited but confused. I ask him again "this is a bug and a plant in one?" He replies "you will see". We all drop to our knees to search for more, 5 Americans cralling on hands and knees at 15000 feet in a remote valley of the Himalaya. We all begin to laugh at the thought.

We follow Urkin back to the tea house and he drops the Yarsa Gomba into a bowl of water. Before our eyes a huge catapiller like bug shows itself. Its cocoon produces a plant which grows out of the head and produces 2 leaves. Urkin will eat it for breakfast and we are relieved that he does not offer it to us.

We hike to Machrmo tomorrow at 14600 feet.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Memories of Chapa

We all have arrived at the village of Namche at 11200 feet. We had a beautiful morning on our acclimatization hike to 12500 feet. Everyone had there first view of Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and several of the high peaks. I always feel small and insignificant, humbled to walk amongst these peaks.

Ama Dablam holds many memories for me. I spent 3 seasons on the peak with my head Sherpa Chapa. Chapa passed in August of 2007. To view Ama Dablam today from a distance sparked a landslide of emotion. I can feel him watching over me as he always did.

His son Gombu Sherpa is on this trip with me helping with the trekking clients. I have been passing stories to Gombu about his father and how great of a Sirdar(head Sherpa) he was. Today Gombu said to me "I will try to be a great Sirdar like my father".

One story that sticks out in my mind happened on Ama Dablam. I had hiked to camp 1 on Ama Dablam with Chapa and clients. We set up tents and Chapa went on his way back down to Base camp 3 hours away. As I crawled in my tent I realized I had forgotten my sleeping pad. It was going to be a cold night without a pad and 20 digree temperatures. I emptied my pack and spread out the climbing rope and settled in for a long uncomfortable night at 18000 feet.

At 8 pm in the cold evening I see a headlamp through the icy tent wall. Chapa pokes his head in and tosses my sleeping pad in. He had descended to Base Camp and ascended back to camp one when he noticed my mistake. He said "I go down now" and he was gone. I think he had traveled 11 hours that day just to keep me safe.

We went through climbing gear today and we are all packed to go. Everyone is healthy.

This will be my last entry until We get off the mountain around May 20th. Would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 27th A Guides Job

Arrived in Kathmandu on the 26th. When I left I had a suprise at the Sea Tac Airport. One of the clients pulled me aside and with a serious voice said "I have a problem". I thought, "we are at the airport so he must of forgotten his passport or ticket". In a low voice he hunches over and says "You need to give me a shot every 10 days." I was relieved that it was not the forgoten passport or ticket. No problem David. I ask "in the arm?". He gives me a blank face. I then realize I will have to give him an innoculation in his butt and wish he had forgoten his passport. I have done many things for clients but this one is beyond a guide duty. In trying to be a consumate guide I agree then turn to the other clients, "we will be having a card game every 10 days. The loser has to give David a shot in his ass. "

We arrived kathmandu and within 5 minutes the gate keeper of all expeditions called me on the phone. Elizabeth Hawley is a writer reporter who has been documenting every expedition coming to Nepal since the American expedition of 1963. She is a true legend and I always feel privilaged to sit and talk with her.

We depart for Lukla a small village with an even smaller landing strip. I always have felt that the landing in Lukla is as scary as some of the climbs. Lukla is the gateway to the Khumbu region (Everest region). We will then take two days to hike to Namche at 11200 feet. A rest day will be welcomed on the 30th, sleeping, eating, reading, card games, writing. On the first we continue our approach to Kyajo Ri via the Renjo La pass at 17300 feet.

Be well.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

April 24,2010- Waking


  Sixth day of Transplant October 10th, 2005

Kyajo Ri

April 24th 6a.m., 2010.  I wake up this morning with the excitement of another expedition.  Waking is such a gift.  Just 3 years ago I was fighting for my life.  During the bone marrow transplant period I remember going to sleep and wondering if I would wake up in the morning.  Waking is such a gift.  At one point I had set a goal.  After my 

4th round of Rutaxan, a nasty last chance Chemotherapy, my physical strength was gone.  I returned home and set the goal of being able to walk to my mail box just 40 yards down the road.  My first journey out I made it to the bottom of my steps just 10 feet from the front door of my house.  The mailbox expedition would have to wait another day as I could just make it back up the steps and the 10 feet back to my sofa.  For 7 months I lay all day on the sofa.  Daily I would try for the mailbox.  At one point I encountered a white owl sitting above my Koi pond on one of my attempts.  At the time I didn’t know the significance but recently found that native Americans believe that death is near when a white owl presents itself.   It took me 14 days before I could make the 40 yards to the mail box.  


This morning I am thankful.  It has taken 4 years to recover but I can finally say I am healthier, stronger than I was before transplant.  Today I depart to climb a peak called Kyajo Ri.  A 20,390 foot peak west of Everest.  In 2002 I tried the first ascent of the peak on its east face.  We hope for a 6 day ascent from Base Camp on its south face.


I want to thank:  My friends( you know who you are) family (too many to list),  Dr. Linenberger, Dr. Keel,  Natalia Rudovsky, Anne and Charlie Diemer, Dr Steve Carter,  Kishor and Dawn Shrestha,  Bob and Georgia Conglton, Michael Brannon, Fabrizio Zangrilli.  Support from the gang at active.com, Nalgene , Steripen, North Face, and Black Diamond, Smith Sunglasses.


A special Thanks to my wife, Thank you, Thank you ,  Thank you


Thank you all for helping me wake this morning.  Waking is such a gift.  



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