Greetings from Hong Kong as we connect to a flight bound for Kathmandu! We are excited to finally be on our journey after a week of packing gear and making arrangements to be away from home and work for more than a month. Although we've been through this routine a few times before, there was one very special item included as we packed our expedition duffel bags.
Two years ago on Burke Khang I had the misfortune of losing my ice axe that I used throughout the years climbing the Seven Summits and many other peaks. Last year we had the privilege to attend an event honoring the memory of renowned climber and guide Scott Fischer who passed away high up on Mt. Everest in the 1996 storm and ensuing disaster. Many know of the tragedy through Jon Krakauer's best-selling book "Into Thin Air" and more recently in Universal Pictures' big screen movie "Everest". Legendary high-altitude climber Ed Viesturs recounted stories from his ascent of K2 with Scott and the entire evening served as a fundraiser to rebuild the Himalayan English Boarding School in the village of Lukla which was destroyed in the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake.
The most iconic and coveted auction item at the event was Scott Fischer's ice axe. It immediately caught my attention and seemed to be calling my name. If only that ice axe could talk WOW the stories it could tell. I needed to replace my lost ice axe anyhow I rationalized, and ultimately I was lucky enough to be the winning bidder!
|Scott's kids Katie Rose and Andy Fischer-Price with the winning bidders|
Scott's longtime friend and best man in his wedding approached me after the auction. He asked me what I was planning to do his friend's ice axe, hoping that it wasn't destined for a plexiglass display case to be hung on a wall and merely admired and never to be used again. I assured him I would put it to good use and told him about our plans for another attempt for a first ascent of an unclimbed Himalayan peak. The smile on his face told me Scott would be pleased. I'll do my best to channel Scott's adventure-loving spirit and we are proudly taking him along vicariously on our "Secret Mountain" climb of a lifetime!