Film Confab in Southhampton

Costa Mesa, California

October 26, 2017

Dear Family & Friends:

The BK Team (Noel, Micah, Jeff, Richard and I) met in Southhampton, New York last weekend to review the Burke-Khang photos and video footage and discuss the film. Our work was mixed with, and fueled by, a healthy dose of fine red wines.

We have over 10,000 photos and many hours of video from the expedition. All total, we have collected over one terabyte of media data. These are not just ordinary photos and video footage, since most of the photographers and videographers are seasoned professionals. In addition, we have stunning overhead video from the drone.

Our filmmaker, Jeff, is confident we have a great story to tell in the film. We all feel the same way. Here is a preview, which is subject to change as we fine tune the theme and content of the film.

The story begins here in Costa Mesa with my family, especially my wife and children and my grandson Ollie. It then moves to Kathmandu for the expedition planning at Asian Trekking, the meeting at the Ministry of Tourism to collect the climbing permit and the briefing by Billi Bierling of the Himalayan Database. We also include some cultural color with visits to temples and historical sites in KTM.

Next, we fly to Lukla to begin the 50+ mike trek to Gokyo. Some of the trekking footage is entertaining as we performed impromptu jam sessions with the ukulele and harmonica on the trekking trail and in the tea houses. The poor, unsuspecting guests in these tea houses were our captive audience. In Machermo, we were treated to a very special and sacred dance performance by local Sherpas, using authentic Nepalese musical instruments. So much fun!

Next stop is BK Base Camp. After the traditional Buddhist Puja prayer ceremony, things get serious as the climbing begins. Every aspect of the climb was filmed, including our moves to C1, C2 and the summit.

The summit day photos and video will blow you away. Noel had cameras mounted on each shoulder capturing every single foot of movement from C2 to the summit. The route to the summit was studded with fragile cornices, menacing crevasses, concave ice walls and deep avalanche-prone snow. The terrain was consistently vertical, often exceeding 80 degrees. Some of the most dramatic footage is the descent from the summit because the camera angle shows the steepness of the summit ridge and the summit ridge headwall.

The celebration on the summit is priceless. I am touched by the sheer joy expressed in the faces of the Sherpas. They were standing on the summit of their Mountain in their Country. So appropriate! They are now viewed as rock stars in their villages.

Noel is at the center of the action on summit day, having worked tirelessly with the Sherpa team to make this happen. Noel was so happy to reach the summit of Burke-Khang he now sports a tattoo to commemorate the climb. I am not a fan of tattoos, but this one has the Burke and Burke-Khang seal of 100% approval.

The movie closes where it started in Costa Mesa with my homecoming and the greeting from my grateful family.

We will begin by producing a movie trailer to show to potential sponsors and distributors of the film. Next up will be a “rough cut” of the film, which will be submitted to the owners-Noel, Micah, Richard, Jeff and me-for comment. We have a long way to go, but we are uniformly excited and motivated.

This expedition may be my last. It could not have been scripted better. I salute my teammates-Noel, Micah, Richard, Jeff, Alex, Naga, Samden, Pemba, Tshering, the cook and cook assistants at BC, and the porters and guides.

Namaste dear friends in Nepal, Ireland, France and America. I love you.

Bill

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Bill & Noel in Southhampton

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Noel’s tattoo

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The Burke-Khang drone

 

Please watch the videos in “full screen” mode