Daily Dispatches [CLICK FOR INDEX]
Round One Ends on THAI Air
Mon, March 15, 1999 Ashford, Washington
I organize expeditions for a living, and I've done over 70 now. This is my job; however, it's not quite like getting in the car and going to work.
Each of my previous seven Everest trips has been different... number eight is looking to be no exception. I must confess to feeling proud of the fact that we have been able to get to this point. Round one is about over, and I used all my organization skills on this one!
The departure is a bittersweet moment of anticipation, excitement, and fear. Walking down the jetway to the big bird is another one of those tangible moments that bookends the whole experience. One voice in your head is telling you that you are nuts, the other voice is saying "go for it." At times like this I draw strength from stories of famous explorers of the past.
What were Ferdinand Magellan or Joshua Slocum thinking when they set out around the world? What was Alan Shepard thinking when he climbed into the Mercury capsule that put him in space? What were Scott and Amundsen thinking when they headed across the Antarctic continent? This is what makes adventure interesting for me... trying to get inside the minds of the pioneers.
When we get on the THAI airlines flight to Bangkok, it's not quite the same as Mallory and Irvine getting on the boat in England in 1924, but the emotions have to be similar. You are walking out of one life and into another.
Expedition mountaineering is such a change from our normal lives, which just seem to go on and on. Expeditions begin and they end. That's probably about the only sure thing you can say about this upcoming trip. It will end. I have no idea how. These are very finite and tangible experiences.
This trip is a tribute and celebration of all the early Everest pioneers, including the early British climbers of the '20s and '30s (and especially of 1953!), and the Chinese in 1960 and 1975. These folks were really out there!
We'll do our best, we'll try to be safe, and we'll definitely tell a great story. That's what this Mallory and Irvine trip is all about. We want to get inside the minds and lives of these guys, who, 75 years ago, climbed to over 28,000 feet using the most primitive equipment. There are 75 years of great Everest history to look back on, and we are privileged to be able to do it.
Eric Simonson, Expedition Leader