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  Canadian Mt. Everest 2005: Home and almost homeÖ


Dr Sean Egan

Update: Monday 16th May, Toronto

By Harold Mah

Hello everyone. You will be surprised to read that I am writing this final blog to you from my home in Toronto.

Anna the Banana, Seamas the Famous and I learned late last week (Thursday evening) that we had airline tickets to leave Nepal on Friday afternoon.  That meant late night packing and power shopping on Friday. Anna and Seamas are now in Ireland with their fatherís family mourning and putting closure to their loss.  They are planning to return late this week. 

Details for Seanís funeral in Ottawa will be announced by his family later this week and a Blog will follow with the information.

Our final days in Nepal were spent re-tracing Seanís footsteps to Everest Base Camp.  We planned to do a 4-day trek to Namche Bazaar.

Due to cloudy weather conditions, the first day of our trek, May 7, 2005 was spent at the Kathmandu airport waiting for the skyís to clear over Lukla to allow us to fly and land safely there.  We spent over 10 hours sitting in the airport and on the airport runway (we were actually sitting on the tarmac of the runway for 3 hours, so much for security). 

At one point we were going to take a chartered helicopter to Lukla and we were even seated in the helicopter and then the flight was cancelled. They put us in an airplane and then that was grounded because of weather. Finally, it was decided flights were cancelled for the day.

On a positive note, we learned that there were people at the airport that had been waiting for 3 days to catch a flight to Lukla.  Our wait didnít seem that bad after all.  Also, my friend Todd decided to join us for our trek and see a part of Nepal he hadnít seen in his past 7 weeks of travelling.  Anna and Seamas found joy in feeding the monkeys that live in the area around the airport.  Lapka Tsheri Sherpa who was the climbing guide for Sean would also be our guide for the trek.  This would provide an opportunity for Anna and Seamas to talk to the last person who was with their father before he passed away.

The next day the sky cleared and we were off to Lukla.  They were amazed at the flight scenery and the incredible landing strip built onto the side of the mountain at Lukla airport.  A number of the airport staff recognised me getting off the airplane and welcomed me back. What a surprise! An easy trek to Phakding was the goal of the day. For the first time I observed Anna and Seamas demonstrating the fun qualities of being brother and sister. Jokes and picking on each other! Seamas starting the first signs of a true trekking experience.  A gastrointestinal infection (GI) was starting in his system (you can use your imagination)Ö. Lapka shared his sadness with me about the loss of Sean.  It was very touching and very sad.

The next day is considered the toughest part of the trek whether youíre just going to Namche or going all the way to Everest Base Camp.  A 2,000-foot climb is the final approach to Namche.  However, on the way you cross 3 suspended bridges over some of the most spectacular rivers and valleys you will ever see.

On the way, we saw the winner of last yearís Everest Marathon run by.  I was able to enjoy the trail again as it was full of life because the trees and plants were blooming.  The air was full of wonderful smells except for when the occasional Yak convoy went by.  The month prior when I came up with the expedition, everything was still dormant.  Perhaps this was Seanís spiritual way of showing his children why he came and loved the country of Nepal.

The climb up Namche proved to be very hard for Seamas.  His GI was now full blown and he suffered up the entire climb.  He was sick quite a few times yet carried on to Namche.  We were all very proud of him and we all agreed he is very dramatic when not feeling well.  His sister did the best she could to look after him.  I canít describe this in words so if you know or ever meet Seamas ask him about his double poling technique for trekking.  Iíve never seen it in any guidebooks.

Upon our arrival into Namche the children and Todd loved the place.  Built into a valley and with numerous shops selling souvenirs and trekking gear Namche is a very interesting village of 1500 people, which mostly serves the two trekking seasons of the year in Nepal.  Anna went shopping of course and Seamas had to sleep because of his GI and effort getting to Namche.  I was able to visit a number of people I met the first time I came to Namche.  We also bumped into a trekking group we met the previous day from New Zealand.  They informed us three of their trekkers had stayed behind in Phakding because of a GI infection that had similar characteristics to what Seamas was suffering from.  In other words, a bug was on the loose in the valley.

The next day was the most memorable day for Anna and Seamas.  The clouds finally disappeared which allowed us to take a short morning side trip to two lookouts.  The first lookout was located in Namche and the second on the trail that leads to Everest Base Camp.  We were finally able to have a clear view of the Himalayan range and their fatherís goal, Mount Everest.  There was an incredible plume coming off Everest that day.  We were all awe-struck.

Seamas was feeling 100% better and ran down the same hill he was sick on the previous day.  Everyone was happy we came to Namche.  For the children, it was the first sign of healing and closure.

Upon our return to Lukla, we learned there were no flights that day to take us back to Kathmandu.  The result, an anything-you-want-to-do day in Lukla.  Anna went shopping againÖThe highlight of the day was watching Anna and Seamas eat two kilograms of ripe tomatoes.  For some odd reason they couldnít stop eating tomatoes.  By late afternoon we ended up playing Euchre and drinking Everest Beer in the teahouse we were staying in and arguing on how to pronounce our Porterís name.  Anna and Todd tried Yak meat for the first time and survived!

We caught an early flight out the next day.  Lapka stayed behind in Lukla because he was preparing to head back up to Everest Base Camp.  I know the time he spent with us was very therapeutic.  He got along amazingly with the children and we strengthened our bond.  Lapka talked to Seamas about his father, which I hope will allow him to move on with his mourning.

Later that evening we learned we were leaving the next day for home or Ireland.

This concludes my journey of a lifetime.  My 49 day trip was like a book full of very different chapters which I will never forget.

Being with Anna and Seamas has allowed me to put closure to Seanís death.  They are great young adults.  We had a wonderful time in Nepal to talk about their father for 8 days.  I hope I have helped them with their grieving process.

Some of you have asked me via e-mail if I would ever come back to Nepal.  ABSOLUTELY!  The country is amazing.  Iím even considering organising a small trekking trip for 2006 and another climbing trip for 2007.  I have unfinished business here. 

The guiding company we used, operated by Kili Sherpa, is amazing.  His staff person Shankar Gurung arranged all our in country trip details.  Shankar was the one that got our airline tickets to fly out of Nepal.  If it werenít for him, we would be in Nepal until June!

To the trekking team, I miss our laughs and team dynamics.  I know some of you still are still mourning and I hope I can help you with closure when I see you.

Dr. Sean Egan, he had a goal and brought with him 16 other people from diverse backgrounds to share his dream.  His tragic death didnít mean we didnít accomplish our goal.  Knowing Sean he knew regardless of whatever happened it would become a trip we would never forget and in some small way we would forever be joined in the various spiritual ways he preached.  Sean could make us laugh or cry.  He was an inspiration.

We hope to keep Seanís name and legacy alive.  Preliminary talks with the Founders of Child Haven (www.ChildHaven.ca) have taken place to start a fundraising effort to build a school in Kathmandu, Nepal.  If you are interested in helping in some way, further details will be sent out in the very near future.

Finally, to all the Blog readers, thank you for joining us on our trek and sharing your messages with me.  Keep your dreams and goals alive and obtainable.  Donít hold back and never regret your decisions.  I look forward to one day reading about your adventure.

Harold Mah

Dispatches

 

Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75įF Gore-Texģ Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Texģ gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz ē 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Corduraģ upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibramģ rubber rand See more here.

 






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