September 21, 2017
Dear Family & Friends:
Good news! I made all my flights.
I booked my flights from LAX to Kathmandu with China Southern Airlines. The plane stopped in Guangzhou, China. After a short layover, I boarded another plane bound for KTM. The total flight time from LAX to KTM was about 17 hours.
All was well until I searched for my bags at the airport in Kathmandu. One bag was missing. I found out the bag was detained in the Guangzhou airport because the baggage scanner detected lithium batteries inside the bag. These batteries power my cameras and satellite telephone. I had to send an email authorization for Chinese security agents to open my bag and remove the offending items. This is the first time this has happened in 13 trips to Nepal over the last 13 years. The bag arrived today and everything is accounted for, except for the batteries.
We had our meeting at the Ministry of Tourism yesterday and picked up the Permit.
This morning, we met with Billi Bierling of the Himalaya Database to brief her on the expedition. Billi recently succeeded the beloved Elizabeth Hawley, who started this wonderful Database, which chronicles all Himalaya climbs that originate in KTM. As they say “if your summit isn’t recorded in the Database, you didn’t summit.” Billi is a friend and an accomplished mountaineer in her own right. She has summitted four of the 8,000 meter mountains. She is doing a great job filling Ms. Hawley’s big shoes. Billi told me the post-climb debriefing will be completed at Ms. Hawley’s apartment in KTM. We are all excited about that meeting.
We had a very productive meeting this afternoon at the Asian Trekking offices to discuss and plan the trek and climb. In the evening, Asian Trekking graciously hosted a team dinner at their offices.
Tomorrow morning, weather permitting, we will fly to Lukla at 7:30 am. From Lukla, we will trek to Phakding where we will spend the night.
All of the activities today were captured on film for the documentary.
I am really happy with the team we have assembled for this expedition. We complement each other perfectly and have formed an immediate bond. Everyone is super excited about the trip.
My next report will be from Phakding.