Steve and I were up early - me at 3:15 AM and Steve a few hours later. With a breakfast gathering scheduled for 8 AM, I thought I might grab a workout at 6 but after throwing on my workout gear and heading down the basement fitness center I discovered it doesn't open until 7 AM. No longer in Seoul with the 24/7 fitness center... Since that didn't give me enough time, I settled for a shower. As it was, we were still about 45 minutes early for breakfast.
But that's all good because several other climbers, guides, and staff were also already down for breakfast. Steve and I sat down with guide Jose Luis and Lapka Rita Sherpa, the sirdar and lead guide. Lapka has been with Alpine Ascents since 1996 or so and lives in Seattle. He was also on the climb or two ahead of us on Aconcagua in 2010. Steve climbed with Jose Luis in Ecuador in late 2010 so it was a very lively chat with lots of questions and catch up.
Also at breakfast was Julie who is one of Island Peak climbers and a friend of Pedro and Lara whom Leslie and I have been working out with in our Mountain Conditioning group fitness class for several years. (While I'm on the subject of MC - instructor Carl Swedberg is AWESOME :-)) Guide Eric was also down.
A bit later the base camp cook, Jennifer and expedition leader, Garrett join us. All in all we sit around chatting and drinking plenty of coffee, and slowly eating until about 9:30am and then it was time to work. Steve and Julie headed out to explorer Thame, while I grabbed my tech gear and headed up to the AAI command center (aka Garrett's room).
With no less than seven of us on and off and moutains of equipment and gear crammed into the twin room, we spent several hours working on setting up and checking out comm gear and computer setup ups. I gave Garrett a quick iMovie tutorial and he praticed a few media processing and uploading workflows to ensure efficient operation while on the mountain. EBC trekking and Island Peak guide, Ben, arrived in Kathmandu and showed up before lunch. Others were busy with their other important pre-trekking details, like Jennifer checking materials inventory lists and researching recipes. Quite an operation and so many details - certainly a treat to see these professionals at work behind the scenes.
Joe and I headed out to buy some SIM cards at the local NCell cell phone shop. Joe helped me pick up a super, super cheep package that allows me gigabytes of 3G data and very low cost voice minutes that I promptly put to the test with a call to Leslie! We went scouting out for solar panels but the shops were closed. Back to the command center for some more configuration and check outs.
With a break for lunch in the hotel restaurant, we met 'Billy' who, along many other things, is the main person behind Himalayan Experience's (HimEx) blog. You might recall HimEx and their leader, Russel Brice, as the featured guide service in the Discovery
Channel's terrific "Everest: Beyond the Limit" reality series. There was a lot of talk about all of the high profile expeditions on Everest this season. There will be a larger media spotlight on Everest this year compared with the past few seasons. That's climbing media so you have to look in the right places. Here's a couple of links:
After lunch, Steve and Julie were back from their walk about and I said, 'Hello, got go back to work!"
We sorted a few more things out and headed out to the patio for a succesful check of the two SPOT position tracking devices I provided for the Everest / Lhotse climb and the Island Peak climb.
With that, Garrett and Ben headed out to Thame for some more shopping and Steve and I hung out in the lounge and the room until about 8 pm when we ventured out for some pizza and Everest beer at Fire & Ice, likely the best pizza place in Kathmandu (I'm told). I was really good - I read that the woman who started this restaurant years ago imported her own computer-controlled Moretti Forni pizza oven and that's why the pizza is so good.
My "working" Saturday is offical done and so am I.