Episode 061: The End Of The Expedition

One Door Closes, Another Opens. The last two days in Kathmandu were some of the most exciting of my life. It was a pleasure to get back to a bathroom with a flushing toilet! Oh, simple pleasures.

Really, though, it was amazing to be back in KTM with a successful Everest summit under our team’s collective belt. Ben and I spent a lot of time just sitting around in padded chairs drinking Orange Fanta. There wasn’t much more we wanted to do.

We were fortunate enough to score tickets to the 50th anniversary celebration of Everest’s first successful summit by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary. It was held at the Kathmandu Hyatt and was quite the event. Apparently it was put on by the Sherpa People but there weren’t many sherpa there. A shame.

It was pretty amazing to get to meet Sir Endmund Hillary and even Reinhold Messner. Especially having just come off of Everest seemingly hours earlier. I’ll never forget that feeling.

What I’ll also never forget was the strange sensation of having to pee and needing to find a BATHROOM to do so! For two months I’d been able to go whenever and wherever I was. It was bizarre to feel the need to “hold it” even though we were outside on a grassy lawn for the reception banquet after the event.

The next day we made it to the airport after some teary goodbyes. I was especially sad to say farewell to my good friend Dawa. I gave him all of the cash I had left on my person along with my climbing boots. They were only a small token of my enduring gratitude for his professionalism and friendship. Some day I hope to have him over to my home and I’ll cook HIM a meal! Of course, knowing Dawa he’d end up doing the cooking for me anyway. These guys are truly the best.

The flights home were largely uneventful. We made it into Denver on time and were surprised to be met at the airport by a throng of people and news crews. Ben was one of the only people from Colorado to summit this year and I guess it was newsworthy. While he went off to do some interviews I found my Heidi and wrapped my arms around her. She was the only person I cared to talk to.

It’s good to be home.

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 32:55