Setback

Costa Mesa, California

January 14, 2016

Dear Family & Friends:

2016 has not started well for me.

I had a freak accident on New Years Eve. Every year, a good friend invites Sharon and I to his New Years Eve party. He is a 92-year old World War II veteran. He doesn’t drink, so no alcohol was served at the party. At 11 pm, Sharon and I left the party to return home. As we left his home, I was carrying a tray of food in the dark, and I could not see my feet. I walked off a curb and fell forward. My left leg was caught in a drainage culvert in the street and the full force of the forward fall smashed my ankle and calf on the concrete culvert. Nothing heroic about this fall.

The pain from the fall was excruciating. But, I was sure I would recover quickly, so I decided to wait to seek treatment. After two weeks, I was still walking with a limp and enduring sporadic spasms of searing pain in my leg. Yesterday, I decided to see a doctor. He told me I severed my achilles tendon.

My plan for 2016 was to return to Burke-Khang in the Spring to attempt an unsupported, fast ascent of Burke-Khang. Two Sherpas would help me fix lines up the mountain, and I would complete the climb in 4-5 days. My doctor told me a Spring expedition is out of the question. I am now wearing a boot, 24/7, to keep my foot in place, and I may need surgery to repair the tendon. Either option puts me out of action for months, perhaps the entire year. This news is absolutely devastating.

Mark my word: I will not let this accident kill my dream. I will stand on the summit of Burke-Khang. My revised plan is for a quick recovery and an Autumn expedition at age 74. If that plan is not possible, I’ll return in the Spring of 2017 at age 75. The mountain beckons, and I will heed the call.

God is good, so I’ll search for the good in this setback.

Bill

IMG_2344

Burke-Khang from Advance Base Camp