Monday, October 10, 2011
Everest In a Week?!
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m clearly in the purist, old-fashioned camp when it comes to Himalayan trekking. I was not a big fan, early on, of the introduction of modern world conveniences and artifacts into the Himalayan trekking arena. Things like cell phones and helicopters. But I’m also a businessman, and I came to realize that such things, when used appropriately, can be both time-savers and even life-savers. Appropriately being the key word.
I still believe, and probably will always believe, that there’s no better way to watch sunrise or sunset on the Himalayan peaks than sitting somewhere quiet and peaceful and taking in the view at one’s leisure. Nevertheless, when I was offered the chance to take a chopper ride through the Khumbu in October 2010, I couldn’t say no. Even after nearly 40 years of poking around in every corner of the Himalaya, this ride blew me away. We crossed three passes, all over 17,000’, the last one over 18,000’, and then soared high above Island Peak (20,305’), watching the ant-like climbers on their final push to the summit. The grand finale was the fly-by of Ama Dablam, the Khumbu’s iconic peak, and the fly-over at Thyangboche monastery.
I knew immediately that this was an experience that millions of mountain lovers, trekkers and non-trekkers alike, would love as much as I did. I also realized that the presence of these powerful, modern helicopters (Eurocopter AS350 B2 and B3) would enable people who were short on time to experience an Everest trek and then cap it off with an unforgettable close-up view of the world’s tallest peaks unavailable to all but world-class mountaineers and eagles.
And who better to lead the inaugural run of this trek in the spring of 2011 than our good friend, Jamling Tenzing. And if you’re not yet convinced, I’ll conclude by telling you that even Jamling, son of Tenzing and an Everest summitteer in his own right, was blown away. If that doesn’t convince you, check your pulse.