Burke-Khang Redux

Costa Mesa, Ca.

February 23, 2017

“stubborn” |ˈstəbərn|–having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so; difficult to move, remove, or cure; done or continued in a willful, unreasonable or persistent manner. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Dear Family & Friends:

I am going back to climb Burke-Khang next month. This time I will be climbing solo. Just me, with Sherpa support. It took me 2 attempts to reach the summit of Mt. Everest from the South side in 2009 and 4 attempts to reach the summit from the more difficult North side in 2014. Burke-Khang is far more technical, difficult and wily than Mt. Everest. So why give up after just 2 attempts? Yes, Burke-Khang kicked my butt twice, with 2016 being a particularly ruthless and humiliating thrashing. But, I am beginning to understand its terrain and feel its personality. So, this year I will prepare and climb differently, but proceed with great hope and confidence.

Here is my 2017 schedule, fashioned to outwit and subdue the beast:

–February 23-March 1: My three veteran Sherpas, Naga Dorjee Sherpa, Shera Gyalzen Sherpa and Sonam Bhote, will complete a helicopter reconnaissance of Burke-Khang in an effort to find a safe route up the mountain. If they are unable to identify a route that is safe for the Sherpas and me, the expedition will be cancelled. If they identify a safe route…

—March 1: Depart LAX at 22:25 (yes, this time I understand military time)

–March 3: Arrive in Kathmandu

–March 4: Meet with the Ministry of Tourism, brief them on the expedition and secure the permit

–March 5: Fly to Lukla and begin the 50+ mile trek to the mountain. While I am trekking to the mountain, the Sherpa team will fix lines on the mountain up to approximately 50 meters from the summit

–March 6: Arrive in Namche Bazaar

–March 11: Arrive in Gokyo and spend 2 days acclimatizing to the altitude by climbing Gokyo Ri mountain and visiting Renjo La Pass and Gokyo Lake # 5

–March 13: Fly in a helicopter from Gokyo or Gokyo Lake # 5 to Burke-Khang Base Camp at the foot of the mountain

–March 15: Begin the tortuous move up the East Colouir, aka “The Shooting Gallery,” to Camp 1

–March 17: Ascend to Camp 2

–March 19: Ascend to the summit of Burke Khang on my 75th birthday

As usual, I will post written and audio reports documenting the expedition. In the meantime, if you are so inclined, please reassemble the prayer groups and keep the good thoughts and prayers coming. They always sustain me.

Bill Burke

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Eliot

“Dreams rooted in the heart are slow to die.” Bill’s Aphorisms.  IMG_6789


30 thoughts on “Burke-Khang Redux

  1. Bill, your persistence and tenacity are admirable and something I aspire to. I can’t wait to read about the next butt kicking…whether it’s you kicking Burke Khang’s toosh or the other way around.

    Lots of good thoughts being sent your way from over here in Denver.

    “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” — Napoleon Hill

    1. Amen to your post, Lauren.

      Bill, I have been following you since your first attempt from the north side of Everest. Amazed at your dogged determination, but admire it immensely! Just turned 77 – went to Everest Base Camp when I was 63, and I love to climb, vicariously, with you!

      Good luck from Mississippi!

      1. Jill, I just read your post , in which you stated that you went to the Basecamp of Mt. Everest, at 63. Well, I turn 63 this summer and it has been my biggest dream to do the same…. I have been dealing with a career ending back injury for the past 5 years., but I too, am determined to get there, come hell or high water… I would like to talk to you, about this trekking,with you, if you are interested in doing so. I cannot convince my husband to come join me in this dream, so it appears that I will be going it alone or perhaps with a good female friend of mine. My email is: [email protected] I realize that I will have to hire someone or two, to help me deal with the bags part., but I would sincerely appreciate your expertise and knowledge about the region and what I need to prepare for, prior and during the trek. Thanks so much. Alana

  2. Oh Bill! I was surprised to read this until you line “summit on my 75th birthday.” How could you not do this. I look forward to following your adventure. And, of course, I will pray for your safety. Good luck. You’re amazing.

  3. I love reading after you – your focus is so wholesome. Thanks for recognizing God as the creator of the incredible mountains you climb, Also, I love your humility and transparency. May you be safe and be granted the desire of your heart!

  4. Dear Bill

    I notice you have not included a definition of “safe route” among your chosen inspiring quotations. I hope your sherpas have a sensible one.

    Good luck

    🤞 Felicity

  5. Hi Bill,
    You are NOT an “unreasonable” man. Thus, instead of “stubborn”, it’s preferable to characterize your possible next Burke-Khang summit bid, as a reflection your “persistent” spirit (or any of the other apt synonyms below). We all wish you success on this adventure! k;-)



    1. continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Synonyms: tenacious, persevering, determined, resolute, purposeful, dogged, single-minded, tireless, indefatigable, patient, unflagging, untiring, insistent, relentless, unrelenting, pertinacious

  6. Greetings Bill,” life has meaning only to the struggle , victory or defeat, success or failure is in the hands of God…” your faith and perseverance are your strengths.



  7. As one of you bigger fans, Bill, I’m not surprised. As long as you continue to maintain common sense in that hard head of yours, knowing if and when to back off, you’ll do well, I’m sure. Be safe, be fortunate and be happy.


  8. Hi Bill,
    Well what a surprise! (NOT).
    I admire your alternate approach, as it’s said “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you will always win what you’ve always won”
    I am really looking forward to your reports.
    I wish you the very best of luck. May your
    God walk every step with you.
    Tim in the U.K.

  9. Bill,
    May God in heaven protect you and your Sherpas on the way to Burke-Khang and may His angel accompany you.

    I will be anxiously waiting to read all of your posts and to hear of your successful accomplishment! Be safe, stay well and may God bless you!

  10. Bill we will be with you every step of the way and God will with you all too You have so much determination to achieve this goal and summit your mountain we are with you always Will be waiting for your reports The Pearson Family

  11. Dear Bill,
    Yes, I agree w the word “stubborn” but I also have another in mind – courageous! May God be with you as is all our prayers for your safety w lots of love. Lilly

  12. BILL:
    The best of luck in this attempt. I think that you have thought well about what you want to accomplish. I look forward to reading and listening about this TREK. Again, my thoughts will be with YOU!. Emmett

  13. Bill, your Canadian Follower here… I almost fell off my chair when I just read your email, of your plans to return to your mountain.

    You are certainly one determined man, but then, would any of us, expect anything less from someone with your accomplishments of past climbs.

    I will be very excited for you, and like the rest, following with bated breath at every report that you send you.

    I will be praying for your safe climb and return back to your loved ones.

    And Happy 75th Birthday… you are a true inspiration, to anyone, that age is just a number. Just like the size of clothing…they are just numbers, and not a definition of who we are.

    Alana L.

  14. You’re amazing Bill !. It is exciting to follow you on your journeys. May this be the best one ever. Look out Burke-Khang mountain. He’s back to conquer🙏👍👍🇺🇸

  15. Wow, Bill, I’m glad I didn’t unsubscribe from your blog after your fall expedition. Something told me you weren’t giving up that easily (!). I’ve been following you for a long time, since before you ever reached Everest’s summit. As an overweight asthmatic, I thought it was quite a coup to make it to base camp at ages 55 and 58. I love the Khumbu, but thought I was too old to go back a third time. However, although I’m still asthmatic, I’m no longer overweight, and you’re making me believe I could go back again if I really wanted to. Best of luck to you with your endeavors. I’m rooting from the Sierras in Calaveras County.

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