February 16, 2017
This week was a prep week for the 2017 Everest Expedition. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain:
Phase 1: Gather Materials
Over the past few months we’ve been putting together all the gear needed for the expedition. We’re talking tents, gear for the sherpas, guide duffle bags, upgrades to existing equipment, zip ties, duct tape, batteries, sharpies, you name it. It’s time to get it all in one place. Once that was done it was time to go shopping. (Note: Oxygen is a whole different ballgame – that’s been done for a few weeks now).
Phase 2: Boxes & Costco
Before we go shopping we need somewhere to put all this stuff. Where do we put it? Yup, boxes, but not just any boxes. These boxes take quite a beating so we use some pretty burly boxes that will ride well on the yaks. Tape doesn’t quite cut it for these boxes so we beef them up by taking them to our friends at Jim Little Staples who run them through their industrial stapler.
Ok, now we have boxes to put the stuff in, but we need some more stuff. Costco sells stuff, so we went to Costco. After the first couple flatbed carts were full we started getting odd looks and then the questions came: “what the heck are you guys shopping for, a cruise?”, “do you know where the chicken broth is?”, or my personal favorite “that’s a lot of junk food – sign me up for whatever it is you’re shopping for”… “Ok, this is for Mt. Everest”…. “Whoa, I love candy bars, but not that much!”.
All kidding aside, the primary purpose for this trip to Costco was to buy some of the supplemental food the climbers will eat on their rotations, as well as some comfort food to kick things up a notch in the dining tent at Base Camp. It’s a long expedition. What did we buy you ask? Well, a few of the must haves around base camp include: ranch dressing, Sriracha hot sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, tortillas, Red Vines, pancake mix & real maple syrup, salsa, etc. You get the idea. For the upper camps we mixed in some mac ‘n cheese, instant potatoes, Bear Creek Soups, Cup-a-Soups, etc. For the climbers’ snacks on their rotations we’re talking the classics: Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, M & M’s, granola bars, Oreos, those orange crackers with the peanut butter (you know what I’m talking about), mixed nuts, beef jerky, etc. A lot of money & a couple hours later we were out the door. (Note we didn’t forget the bacon & cheese. They’ll be dealt with separately to make sure they does not spoil!)
Phase 3: Packing
Seems simple enough, and it generally is if you follow the system. The first step is to minimize the packaging. There is a lot of unnecessary plastic & cardboard – better to recycle it here than ship half way around the world! From there we count it, bag it, put it in a box, label it, then set it aside. Repeat. Once it’s all in the boxes it’s time to take it to the airport.
Phase 4: Shipping
This morning we dropped the gear off at the airport for the first part of its journey to EBC. Total weight was just over a ton! Next stop Kathmandu. This is just the first shipment. We’ll send another one over in a few weeks with some last minute odds & ends.
It’s starting to come together!