Since the earthquake I’ve been mostly holed up at Annapurna base camp. After the quake I couldn’t let go of my desire to finish what I’ve started with Annapurna. I’d put in so much focus and taken on so much risk to be in a position to make a nO’s ascent, especially as a team of one. But the reports of the destruction and hardship kept flooding in. Then one morning I could feel myself having let go of Annapurna and my interest shifted to seeing if I could get out of here to assist the people of Nepal. So that’s it, my Annapurna expedition is finished.
Yesterday I went back up on the mountain to pull my cached equipment at camp 1. I have another cache at camp 3, but it’s unsafe to go that high on the mountain now, so I’ll be abandoning that cache (pictured below)
I’ve teamed up with a few other Americans here in Nepal to work with a NGO affiliated with the UN. The plan is to meet up in Pokhara, then head out by jeeps with equipment and supplies to access remote villages. My first hurdle is it get out of base camp and down to Pokhara; which is easier said than done. Naturally, the government here has commandeered all the helicopters for rescue efforts. But we flew into base camp in helicopters for a reason, the trek out is sketchy. The US embassy has offered to airlift Americans out of remote areas, but I’m fit and able so I intend to walk out on my own. Tomorrow morning I and some others from the Annapurna base camp will be attempting this trek. We’re headed for Pokhara. Once we arrive there, I’ll meet up with the other American climbers. Our current directive from the NGO is to access some of the remote villages in this region and to report back on their situation, conditions, and immediate needs. Hopefully this will help expedite resources to the people in need.
On a totally different topic over the coming days I’d like to post about a disturbing conflict I’ve experienced on Annapurna. A conflict over how “purest” climbers fit into the growing commercialization of the Himalaya. Or should I say don’t fit… No supplemental oxygen, no Sherpa guides, not welcome.