Costa Mesa, Ca.
April 10, 2018
Dear Family & Friends:
I hope the first quarter of 2018 has brought you health, happiness and a rich bounty of God’s blessings.
It seems time for an Eight Summits update, so here goes.
Burke Khang Fall 2017 Expedition
I came home from the Fall 2017 Burke Khang expedition with an overwhelming surfeit of media, consisting of more than 10,000 photos and hours of video, including overhead video from our drone. I have used that media to put together a two-part movie of the expedition.
Part One (41 minutes) starts at my home in Costa Mesa with interviews of my family (who uniformly and strongly opposed the expedition) and video of a motorcycle ride with Ollie. It then progresses to Kathmandu and covers our preparation for the climb, including meetings at Asian Trekking and my expedition briefing with Billi Bierling of the Himalayan Database. The film then documents our flight to Lukla and the 50+ mile trek to Burke Khang Base Camp. Included in the footage are some fun, impromptu jam sessions on the trekking trail and at the tea house in Machermo. My thanks to Jeff Oppenheim for helping me put Part One together.
Part Two (49 minutes) documents the climb of Burke Khang from Base Camp to the summit and back. You will see me arrive at Camp 1 completely drained and exhausted. Also included is footage of the team discussing the plan of attack on summit day. You will see my dear friends and teammates Noel Hanna, Naga Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa and Samden Bhote triumphantly arrive on the summit and celebrate this incredible achievement. It concludes with our return to Base Camp where we share our thoughts and reflections in the dining tent. The photos and footage in Part Two are truly stunning. You may also enjoy my teaser announcement in the Epilogue.
Here is a link to an article I wrote for the American Alpine Journal: http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201214494
Film & Book Projects
I am currently working on both a film project and a book project. The film and book will not be about mountaineering. The theme for both the film and the book will be my life with Ollie, who is my beloved and special needs grandson. It will be a grandpa/grandson love story intended to inspire viewers and readers to reach beyond their grasp, overcome physical and mental challenges and help others do the same. The mountains I have climbed all over the world will serve as a metaphor for the mountains we all climb every day of our lives. You will hear more about these two projects as they mature.
Ollie and Papa’s Grand Motorcycle Tour
My next adventure is a four week 3,627 mile motorcycle road trip with Ollie this summer. When I added the sidecar to my Harley Davidson Road King Classic motorcycle, my dream was to take Ollie on road trips. I wanted him to experience the beauty and grandeur of our great country, just like other children. My trip plan will take us to dozens of national parks, national forests and national preserves in 7 states. Like my first trip to Mt. Everest, this will be a daunting challenge wrapped in mystery and intrigue. Every day will be a journey into the unknown.
My plan is to have a film crew travel with us to capture the adventure for the film project. I hope to arrange layovers at the homes of special needs families along the way, so their story can also be told. I plan to invite local motorcycle clubs to join us when we arrive at each destination.
More About Ollie
Ollie is a senior in a special needs class at Estancia High School, right near my home. All four of my children attended this high school. Ollie turns 18 in June. We continue to bicycle every Sunday. I just purchased an e-bike to gain some “pedal assist” for our Sunday outings. I know what you are thinking: “Bill is a wimp!” But, please consider I just turned 76, Ollie weighs over 100 pounds, our trips range from 30-50 miles and we climb a lot of steep hills.
Ollie continues to have multiple cyanotic episodes every single day of his life. It is painful, frightening and heartbreaking to watch this happen as he becomes completely incapacitated and the episodes can last a very long time. He never cries, never complains and quietly and bravely endures this awful condition. Ollie is a study in courage and endurance. Such a handsome, beautiful boy! Please keep him in your prayers.
God is good.
First Ascent of Burke Khang-Part 1
First Ascent of Burke Khang-Part 2
Ollie having an episode