Giving Thanks Eric Simonson - Basecamp Mon, May 28, 2001 10:15AM
Amid all that has happened on Everest this year, it would be easy to just run for the border now and get out of here before Lady Luck throws more of her random goods at us. The tons of emails we've received from both friends and strangers reaffirms the widespread support for our endeavors and proves to us that there are many ways to define success on this mountain. Thank you all for your words of encouragement and support. I want to share with you some final thoughts, mostly about the sung and unsung heroes that were a big part of our journey.
We wouldn't be here without the sponsorship support that got us on the mountain. In the US, Lowe Alpine, Eureka!, Vasque, and Slumberjack (with support from DuPont) put the resources we needed into this expedition. In the UK, Craghoppers bravely backed us amid fairly widespread negativity from the UK press. I want everyone who reads this to know that these companies are heroes, too. They took a risk, believed, and saved lives doing it. Each of them essentially backed a climber on this team and is directly responsible for our strength on the mountain and our ability to work miracles.
Lots of other companies got involved, too. In particular, PMI, with support from DuPont, once again put the rope on this mountain that was safely relied upon not only by us but by every climber that tried for the top. Metrotech put high tech metal detectors in our hands to assist in the archaeology. Brunton put compasses and altimeters in our hands to help us find the way. Our internet coverage (man, did we get the traffic!) was supported by Honeywell's sat phones, site design by Zaaz and video server support from Activate. Riley Morton, Anya Zolotusky and Ken "Tup" Wright teamed their vast internet production skills to present our story to the world in a professional and beautiful way (man, did we get the traffic!) Many more companies gave what they could, all of it got used, and we are thankful for the help.
The American Foundation for International Mountaineering Exploration and Research has accepted many private donations on our behalf. Every single check, be it for $20 or $200 or $2,000 has counted. We may barely break even on this whole thing, every bit helps, thanks to all who contributed to the cause.
Behind the scenes, were more heroes. A big group of commercial clients joined our team on the mountain as trekkers and climbers. They were a joy to have along, they added an extra dimension to the group, and their participation funded our activities as well. In short, thank you to all for your support of International Mountain Guides and your conduct on this expedition. You tasted the hardship and challenge of high-altitude living and held up well despite the ever-present ailments, setbacks, and disappointments. Each is to be commended. Terry and Mike, thanks for getting to the top and down under your own steam, and breaking trail to the top for the horde that followed. Great job!
There are a few other individuals that I need to personally thank. First, Jochen Hemmleb and Larry Johnson, you guys gave me the nod back in late 1998, put this Mallory & Irvine project in my lap and launched me on The Expedition that Never Ends. You trusted me to do it right and have backed me up every step of the way since then. Thank you both for believing in me. To my friends at Great Escapes Trekking in Kathmandu, Ang Jangbu and Sonam, thanks again for being the professionals that you are in helping me get this chaotic Himalayan season organized, out and back in the door again. Dr. Lee Meyers, you are a sight to behold. In addition to the epic rescue victims that we have reported, you took care of a constant stream of patients from Day 1 and, as always, gave it 110% amid the constraints of high-altitude medical service. You saved many lives, too, and are another hero in my book. Erin, you kept the home fires burning and once again helped me pull it all off! Thanks for being my wife, my business partner, and my daughter's Mom.
To my climbing Sherpas and camp staff from Nepal and Tibet: Pa Nuru, Lhakpa Nuru, Da Nuru, Da Chhiree, Phu Nuru, Ngawang Jimba, Pemba Nuru, Pemba Geljen, Palden Namgye, Lakpa Nuru, Mingma Ongel, Fu Dorji, Ang Chhiring, Pema Tenzi, Dorjee, Kami Rita, Ang Gelzen, Padam Badahur, Man Bahadur, Pemba Tshiri, Pemba Gyalzen, Kami, Mingma Chhiring, Tara Bir. Thanks for another great season together in the Himalaya!
Last but not least, to Andy Politz, Brent Okita, Dave Hahn, Tap Richards, Jake Norton, John Race, Craig John, Heather Macdonald, Jason Tanguay and Heidi Eichner (and Phil Ershler and Greg Wilson over on the South Side, and Kurt Wedburg and Ben Marshall over on Cho Oyu, too): You done me proud, as climbers, as guides, and as friends. Thank you. You are the very best of what mountaineering is. No need for arrogant, instructional matter drafted in private chambers by those who would think to dictate how one should behave, you guys live a higher code than that every day you set foot in the mountains.
Well, the trucks are here, we'll make order out of chaos and get the tons of beat-up gear and our beat-up selves on board soon. Time to say our farewells to Rongbuk and the Mountain, we'll be back someday for another grand adventure! Please don't write in to ask if we'll come back to continue the search, right now all I can think about is a warm shower, a good meal, and a night at home!