Everest Base Camp
April 29, 2009

“O we few, we merry few. We band of brothers”


I have climbed all over the world, but never with a group that has bonded as close and as fast as this Eco-Everest 2009 team. We are truly a Band of Brothers.

What a great team we have for this expedition. Everyone gets along well, and it is almost like we have climbed together for years. I think one of the reasons we get along so well is because of the wide diversity in the age, nationality, cultural background, and gender of the team. All opinions and views are accepted, and we are all pulling for each other to succeed. We are also at the happy point where every little peccadillo of each team member is fair game for exploitation in the dining tent.

Here is the team:

—-Nick Cunningham: the big strapping farm boy from Minnesota, full of questions, quips and comments, topped with a refreshing dose of youthful enthusiasm. Nick’s hallmark characteristic is his booming voice which allows him to communicate with his Mom from Base Camp without using a telephone. Nick could easily toss me on his back like a bale of hay and haul me up the mountain. He is truly a pleasure to be around at Base Camp.

—-Jesse Easterling: the young insurance salesman, with a quiet and dry sense of humor, who constantly banters with Nick. Jesse opened himself up to endless abuse because of the tattoo around his navel he inadvertently (and foolishly) revealed to a team member. The tattoo was a youthful mistake, he now admits. Jesse also made the mistake of moving up from Camp 3 in light clothing, even though his Sherpa was fully outfitted with a down suit and heavy gloves. He is still recovering from that inexplicable mistake. Jessee is a strong climber who will do well on this expedition.

—-Mogens Jensen: the Dane who ran and bicycled from Denmark to Tibet to climb Mt. Everest in 2005. Every day he bicycled 62 miles and ran 10 miles, while his girlfriend trailed him in a car.< He did not summit that year, but summitted in 2007 on the North Side. He was featured in the Discovery Everest program. We love having Mogens on our team this year.

—-Will Cross: the world class adventurer, who regales us with his amazing stories, including multiple trips to the summit of Mt. Everest and traverses to the North and South Poles. Will is a great resource to us in terms of climbing strategy on Mt. Everest. Like, my wife, he is hopelessly addicted to Diet Coke.

—-Yury Pritzker: the romantic, who wears his emotions on his sleeve, and is prone to tears at big events involving team members. This occurred when he saw me enter the dining tent at Base Camp upon my return from Camp 2. His high sense of emotion undoubtedly stems from his background as an emigrant to the United States from Russia. Yury and his family were admitted to the US as Jewish refugees 20-years ago. He and his family are now proud Americans. Yury is also a very strong climber.

—-Henry Voigt; the German, who listens intently to every discussion, but rarely utters a word. He was almost in tears when he woke up for his first rotation up the mountain, only to be stopped by a nasty tooth infection that swelled the entire right side of his face. He came close to ending his trip until we talked him into moving down to Namche Bazaar to seek medical attention from a dentist. I was thrilled to see him back at Base Camp when I came down from Camp 2. There he stood, smiling broadly, minus one wisdom tooth. Henry is a super-strong climber. He is now at Camp 2 on his first rotation up the mountain with Krushnaa.

—-Krushnaa Patil: the 19-year old Indian woman, who fits right in with the guys. She has no choice, as we cut her no slack because of her age and gender. She got off to a slow start because of ailments, but is now parked at Camp 2 with Henry, feeling just super. We all enjoy having her on the team.

—-Bud Allen: my great friend, who is such a pleasure to be with again on a mountain expedition. Bud keeps all of us in rapt attention (and sometimes laughter) with his life stories and his incredible grasp of science and technology. We spent a good portion of the morning today listening to his amazing stories of airplanes and aerobatics. Bud is a great climber and is looking to complete the 7 summits.

Asian Trekking has assembled a great team of leaders, Sherpas, Sirdars, porters and cooks, led by Dawa Steven. Dawa Steven, a 2x Everest summiteer, is so attentive to everyone’s needs and has a great sense of humor. He is also a great writer, as you will know if you have been reading his trip reports posted on the Asian Trekking website.

We are expecting a weather front to move in on Friday, which should bring 1-2 inches of snow. I expect we will wait this out before moving back up the mountain for our next rotation early next week.

I plan to send some photos to Sharon, which will be posted on my website, probably tomorrow.


PS: Current “Cash for Trash” count: over 5 tons.