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October 2002

Nov.

Oct. 11

Arrival in Nepal
Expedition Leader Gary Guller arrived in Nepal earlier this week for a 4-week trek into the remote Makalu region of eastern Nepal in preparation for the Spring 2003 Everest expedition.

Greetings and Namaste from Kathmandu, Himalayan Capital of the World! Chris Auger and I arrived safe, happy and not too jet lagged into Kathmandu after 2 days of flying: Austin to LA, onto Taipei, then Bangkok and finally, Kathmandu. It was an incredible site as the world's highest mountains came into view. Upon arrival, we hit the ground running, first to my favorite Newari restaurant. The Newari people are native to the Kathmandu Valley and their cuisine is tasty - momochha, wild boar, aloo shadeko, chhatamari and bara. Then, of course, sleep followed very quickly.

While in Kathmandu, we are the guests of Loben Sherpa, who will serve a key role in organizing logistics for the TE'03 expedition. He has a small apartment overlooking Boudhanath, one of the largest Buddhists stupas in the world. We awoke one morning at 5:00 am to make our pilgrimage to the stupa. When making the kora, or circle, around Boudhanath at first light, smelling the incense, hearing the chants, praying in your own way, one fully appreciates just being alive. I think about how lucky we all really are, and my mind is filled with thoughts of next March when the whole Team will be making this kora. Each one of us brought together by similar goals for our lives - to have the freedom to explore, to chose, to be alive!

We'll be leaving soon for eastern Nepal, first flying to Tumlingtar just above the Arun River and following the traditional Newari trade route to Makalu (8,156m), the fifth highest mountain in the world. We expect the route to be extremely challenging - over rugged terrain with sharp altitude gains, numerous glaciers and high passes. In short, excellent training for Everest next year!

Oct. 13

Kathmandu
The days thus far have been very busy - all positive and moving ahead. We are making the necessary arrangements for next spring's Team Everest expedition: discussing the route, making food lists, working out the transportation details, securing our fine Sherpa support. The air is filled with this excitement as the whole country is celebrating Dashain, one of the biggest of all Hindu celebrations glorifying the triumph of good over evil, ten days of intense sacrificial and joyous worship. It is truly an amazing sight - vivid and bright colors, flowers everywhere, each person wearing news clothes, taking a holiday, visiting friends and family. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is so happy!

I'm off to the Makalu region of eastern Nepal. As mentioned, our route will take us from Tumlingtar to Makalu base camp (16,700ft), over Sherpani Col (20,200ft), Amphu Cross (19,000ft) and into the Khumbu Himal where we will trek to Everest base camp. All of us, including the climbing Sherpa team headed up by Nima Dawa Sherpa of TE '03, have been up since 4:00 a.m. packing the food and gear for this 28-day trip.

I want to say thanks to our friends all over the world from the folks here at Team Everest and CTD for your support and belief in all of us. Happy Dashain - God bless.
Gary Guller, Team Everest 03

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