Another Look at Mt. Everest

Costa Mesa, California

June 24, 2019

Dear Family & Friends:

On June 22, 2019, I presented my last Everest program of the year for Olive Crest, a wonderful charity that serves at-risk children.

This 24-minute video documents my 2014 climb of Mt. Everest from the North approach, which begins in Tibet, and my 2009 climb from the South approach, which begins in Nepal. Some of the footage of my 2009 climb cannot be seen in any other Everest video. It includes dramatic video of Everest Base Camp and the Khumbu Icefall shot from a helicopter just two weeks before the 2015 earthquake that killed over 9,000 people in Nepal and India and 19 people at Everest Base Camp.

On Sunday, Sharon and I will travel to Egeland, North Dakota where we will celebrate the 4th of July, Uncle Harold’s 90th birthday and a memorial service for Beverly Smestad, who is the beloved wife of Sharon’s brother, Robin. We miss Beverly alot. Uncle Harold is a Korean War Veteran. Sharon’s Dad, and many of her Uncles, are WWII Veterans. They are all my heroes.

From Egeland, I will travel to the home of Elizabeth, who is Sharon’s cousin. Elizabeth and her family live in a beautiful lakefront home in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, just one hour from the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itaska, Minnesota. Lake Itasca is the launch point for my next grand adventure.

My canoe is being shipped from Canada to Elizabeth’s home. I will spend a few days practicing on the lake before I travel to Lake Itasca for my July 25 Big Muddy launch.

My emotions mirror the emotions I experienced on my first Everest expedition in 2007: fear, trepidation, excitement and confidence that God will be my guide and my protector.

Live Your Dream.




3 thoughts on “Another Look at Mt. Everest

  1. Hi Bill
    Another great video felt as though I was there minus the ladder crossings yikes! Just wanted your thoughts on this years traffic jam? Are the counties involved just out for the bucks or are they losing a grip/count on the number of permits allowed? Also, is there any news of new efforts in cleaning up all the trash? Thank you Mark

    1. Several factors contribute to traffic jams on Everest.

      First, low cost operators are flooding the market and price undercutting the established guiding companies in order to gain market share. In order to make up for the discounted price, they offer less service to clients. They also accept clients who are less qualified, and this puts everyone at risk. In a conga line of clients on a fixed rope, everyone moves at the pace of the slowest climber. Eight of the eleven deaths on Everest in 2019 were climbers affiliated with low cost operators.

      Second, and related to the first point, there are too many unqualified climbers on the mountain. The Ministry of Tourism and the guiding companies need to tighten the standards applicable to issuing climbing permits and accepting clients.

      Third, 2019 had fewer weather windows than normal. A weather window is a time when the weather at the summit permits climbers to make a summit attempt. Since there were so few weather windows in 2019, everyone was competing for space on the mountain to reach the summit.

      Fourth, at critical points on the mountain, e.g., The Hillary Step, there was only one line for climbers moving up and climbers moving down. An “up” line and separate “down” line would help alleviate this problem.

      The governments of Nepal and China are enforcing strict requirements to keep the mountain clean. Much more needs to be done, but it is much better than it used to be.


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