Friday, March 30, 2007

Getting It Done

Jerry Mika, base camp co-manager, describes the logistics of sending nearly 1,000 pounds of Everest gear, packed into 15 waterproof bags, to Kathmandu with Apa Sherpa and
Lhapka Sherpa.
"You just gotta know how to pack it right . . . There's over $80,000 worth of gear in there. There are 8,000 meter (26,247 foot) suits that are $2,000 apiece. That's just the suits, specially made by Marmot," an outdoor clothing company, which is among the climb's sponsors.
Then, there are 18 tents. And extra clothing layers for the climbers who will be going in layers, "dressing up, dressing down" for temperatures that can drop to 50 to 60 degrees below zero, and even lower when taking into account wind chill, Mika says. And high tech communication gear that the base camp managers will take with them to Kathmandu.
"It will take 32 yaks and about 24 porters to take up the gear (to base camp). Apa and Lhapka will be gathering extra supplies there as well. You've got, just in our group, about 11
people. That's quite a few people to feed for two months."
When all's said and done, the expedition will have cost nearly $120,000, he says. With the help of the Sherpas' experience, Mika, an outdoor industry insider, has been working to pull
together the gear, while base camp co-manager Roger Kehr has been handling the communications equipment.
"In most cases it takes one year to three years" to plan an Everest expedition. "We started ours in January."
Mika also opened Karma Outdoor Clothing Co. in Salt Lake with Apa in November. And the two base camp managers have been helping the Sherpas adapt to Utah, "taking care of family, taking care of business, parent teacher conferences, driving school. ...
"You just gotta get it done. It's going to happen. It's a big project. It's taking all of my management skills."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saying Goodbye

-Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News.

Apa Sherpa said goodbye to his wife, Yangzin, at the Salt Lake International Airport on Wednesday. Before departing, Apa told the Deseret Morning News that he's excited about co-leading the Super Sherpa expedition. However, it's always difficult to leave his family behind for the roughly two months required for an Everest expedition.
"It is hard for me and all the family to be far away ... I worry for them ... We worry for each other."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Adventure Begins

Two world-record holding Sherpa guides left Utah on Wednesday, March 28, to embark on an unique expedition to the top of the world, designed to raise awareness and funds for the Sherpa people of Nepal.

The "Super Sherpa" ascent will be led by Apa Sherpa, who has reached the 29,035 foot summit of Mount Everest a record 16 times; and Lhapka Sherpa, who has climbed Everest in a record 10 hours, 56 minutes and 46 seconds.

The expedition will be the subject of a documentary, with at least 25 percent of the proceeds going to education, health care, and other needs in Nepal. The team also hopes the documentary will raise awareness about the Sherpa guides and porters who often cross the most dangerous parts of the journey to Everest's summit several times.

Apa and Lhapka will be sending periodic updates as they prepare for the expedition in Kathmandu. Base camp managers Jerry Mika and Roger Kehr will be arriving in Nepal on April 15, along with Dr. Scott McIntosh, of the University of Utah, who will be continuing medical tests on the Sherpa's athleticism that were conducted at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Utah. After reaching base camp, the Sherpas will wait for the right conditions before they attempt to climb to the summit. They hope to climb in early May.

The team will be providing their perspectives on the expedition, Everest and Nepali culture through text, pictures and occasional videos on this site.

We'll also be including perspectives from the home front with contributions from family members living here in Utah.

The route the Sherpa climbers will take is the same route that was taken by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, who first reached the summit in 1953. Keep checking for updates as the expedition progresses.