Expedition Dispatches
Satellite phone updates from the 1998 American Everest Expedition

Wally Berg
Good Omens
Tuesday, March 31, 1998 — Lukla

Hear Wally Berg's call from Kathmandu
Satellite phones for Everest cybercasts provided by MVS/USA

Hi, its Wally with a voice dispatch from Lukla. It's great to be here we arrived late morning I would say, today on the 31st of March. I want to give you a voice dispatch just to let you know we are out of town, underway and of course, that is a great feeling. It is beautiful day here in Lukla, a lot of fresh snow in the mountains around us and I want to fill you in on the some of the old friends that have been involved with us on this trip, the characters I've introduced and should introduce.

Eric Simonson and Newang Gombu Sherpa
First of all, the other day, Dave Hahn who as you know is here to lead Eric's north side trip. [editor's note: Eric Simonson, a climber on this expedition owns a guiding service which is currently beginning an attempt on the north side of Everest.] He is in Kathmandu, of course, and he ran into Gombu Sherpa who is very well know in the northwest because Gombu was on Everest in 1953 and of course was on Everest and did summit in 1963 with Whittaker and in the years since has had a presence on Rainier working as a guide with RMI. Of course because of that he knows Dave Hahn and Eric and Greg very well. He's out of Darjeeling now and just happened to be in Kathmandu, and it was wonderful, and we consider it a very good omen to run into him — great luck for us to see him prior to our trip.

Greg Wilson wearing his Jendu
(photo: Corfield)
So, the community there at the Hotel Tibet, the Tibetan family have been dear friends of mine for years I've mentioned, really great to us and the mother of the family, Stechen, has always treated me extremely well, like a son, I would say, and she presented us with Jendu [multi-colored woven strings worn for good luck] blessed by the Dalai Lama, and what a great token of her care for us and what a wonderful thing for us all to leave Kathmandu wearing around our necks.

Wally Berg receives the team's climbing permit at the Ministry of Tourism.
I got to tell you also, you'll see a photograph of me out at the ministry of tourism where we went for our briefing and we received our, we very proudly received our permit to climb the South Col route of Everest. It was a crazy day that day, we were running around, we had a lot to do, as I was leaving the Hotel Tibet, Stechen, with a furrowed brow and concern looked at me as I was running out of the hotel and commented that my shirt was very wrinkled and I said, 'Well yes, that happens with travel, my shirts are almost always wrinkled,' and she said 'OK,' and walked away. But before I could get out the door, she said 'oh, please come.' She came back up to me and ran me upstairs and a very nicely pressed shirt that I would soon figure out that belonged to her son Tenzing, who was also there at the hotel and is a dear friend of mine. So if I looked good at all out at the ministry of tourism in that nice white pressed shirt, I certainly owe that to the love and care from my dear friends, the [Phocars] at the Hotel Tibet.

Look forward to continuing to be in touch with you and everything else. Take care. Goodbye.

Wally Berg, Expedition Leader