Episode 136: A Rare Opportunity

I Was Just In The Neighborhood. I stayed at BC a few hours longer than the rest of our group not to take in the scenery, but to catch up with my old friend Dawa.

Jeff was the first to head down and Steve and John followed a bit later leaving just me, Karma and Passang from our workshop group. While technically I’m still a client here in BC, I’ve finally managed to get the staff to understand that I’m “one of them” and don’t need to be catered to in the same way as one of the participants. They’ve been doing an outstanding job ensuring the success of the group but when it’s just me up here they can turn off and just hang out. In fact, I encourage that kind of behavior!

With Karma and Passang kicking back and enjoying the fine weather, the rest of the camp staff relaxed as well and I couldn’t have been happier. I know I’ve always got the best staff in the world to help me out but the reason I come back year after year is because these guys become lifelong friends of mine. Camp cook Dawa is a perfect example of that.

Dawa and I became close during the 2003 expedition I was on with Ben Clark. Now, my job on that expedition was to document as much of it as possible but I was not a climber. So, Ben would disappear for weeks at a time further up on the mountain leaving me in Dawa’s care. That was my first experience in the Himalayas and I was extremely uncomfortable with being waited on hand and foot by the staff every day. Dawa was the one who listened to my incessant complaints about wanting to wash my own dishes and explained to me why it was important to just be OK with it. The staff has an incredible amount of pride in what they do and always strive to do the best job they can. I need to let them do what they do and if I am uncomfortable, just let them know how much I value the work they are doing for my by telling them how much I appreciate it.

I took his advice and we became friends. That friendship was a crucial component of that 2003 experience for me and I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed the expedition if I hadn’t had Dawa. Let me ad to that sentiment: The Rest of Everest may not have existed if it weren’t for Dawa making that first trip such an amazing experience.

I owe a lot to him and his generosity, kindness, patience and hard work.

I thought I would be able to tell him all of that in person in 2007 when I returned to Everest with my friend Scott Jacobs but, alas, it was not to be. Mountain Tribes was scheduled to have a team on the North Side and Dawa was going to be the cook but 2 weeks before the climbing season began the permit was switched to the South Side. When Scott and I walked into BC, Dawa was already encamped on the other side of the mountain. I was crushed because I had come so far from home and was so looking forward to spending some time with Dawa.

This year everything worked out perfectly and I was finally able to tell Dawa “thanks” and to reminisce about that 2003 expedition now 6 years in the past. My, how time flies!

I was also able to finally show him my favorite portions of the film myself and that was great fun. Another case of art imitating life imitating art. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how that 2003 expedition was going to change my life.

Thanks Dawa.

Total Running Time: 34:04