Costa Mesa, California
October 11, 2016
Dear Family & Friends:
Thanks to my good friend, Alan Arnette, a video has come to my attention that you must see. This 1-minute video shows a Japanese climber, Nobukazu Kuriki, on his sixth, Autumn (post-monsoon), solo climb of Mt. Everest without oxygen. The video shows him moving up the Hornbein Couloir on the North Face of the mountain. In 2012, Mr. Kuriki lost 9 fingers to frostbite in an attempt to climb Chomolumna (“Mother Goddess of the World”) via the Wet Rib route on the South (Nepal) side of the mountain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=124fXHMoNys (please view in full screen mode). On October 7, Mr. Kuriki ended his summit push due to “conditions of the snow and physical condition.”
The video brings into sharp focus the massive size of this epic and majestic mountain and the utter insignificance of those who stand on its flanks.
Watching the video, summons conflicting emotions. The mountain is cold, savage, merciless and indifferent to the dreams, hopes, fears and aspirations of those who risk life and limb to reach its apex. Yet, its power, mystique and beauty fire the imagination and beckon us to experience life, live the dream, exceed all limits and accomplish the impossible.
My focus is now on Burke-Khang, just 9 miles from Mt. Everest as the crow flys. But, we will move in the shadow of Mt. Everest and draw inspiration and courage from this great mountain as we gaze on it every day.
Below are the routes I followed on Mt. Everest when I summitted from the South (Nepal) side in 2009 and the North (Tibet) side in 2014 (please watch in full screen mode).
South Side Route: http://everestavalanchetragedy.com/mt-everest-journey.html
North Side Route: https://eightsummits.wpengine.com/bill-burke-blog/mountaineering/mt-everest-north-side-route/
Mt. Everest really gets into one’s head.
I know this, and I only went to Base Camp.
“It’s plugging away that will win you the day… just draw up your grit, it’s so easy to quit “–first lines from a Robert Service poem. Everything is about perseverance. Johann von Goethe says it well, “In the realm of ideas, everything depends on enthusiasm; in the real world, all rests on perseverance.” Blessings in your steadfast desire to be the first the summit Burke-Khang.
I now fully understand why you told us the mountaineers route of Whitney would only require a few easy walks to prep for it. Good luck and Godspeed. We will all follow you on your journey and look forward to your safe return.