It’s the 60th Anniversary of the First Mt. Everest Climb by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. As such, the Australian Himalayan Foundation held simultaneous fund raising dinner in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Brisbane. When the invite for this dinner was forwarded to me by Ivor, I immediately signed up for Jeanne and myself. To my surprise it was already booked out. I sent an email to the organiser to add us on their waiting list. The organisers also expressed surprise how quickly the Sydney dinner sold out but a few weeks later they were able to add a few more seats and accommodated all 3 of us (Ivor, Jeanne and myself).
The evening is very informative. Seated next to us at the dinner table is someone who has trekked at the Himalayas and Nepal (I didn’t even know they were 2 different places). He spoke about how useful trekking poles can be. This is important to me because I just read an article very negative about poles. Now I’m back to state where I’m tossing whether I want one or not. He also spoke of basic things like socks and how to dry them while trekking, how smelly those quick dry underwear can become which then lead to the use of merino wools that can be used longer without developing smell.
I was able to ask him whether it is wise to leave gears to the porters or will I just be adding to the tons of gears being left in Nepal/Himalayas each year. He gave practical advise in charging electronics when I asked about the use of CPAP. Keep it from the cold as it zapped the charge quicker. He said that as we get higher, sleeping will become harder due to the cold and lack of oxygen. He recommended that I get a thermal liner to my 7 degree sleeping bag to drop it a further 3 to 4 degrees.
As to the guest speaker, Andrew Lock, he spoke of the experience of summitting in Everest, with and without oxygen. He related his own experience as a commercial guide as well as being part of a filming crew of the Discovery Channel. They climbed in groups and support each other by sharing resources – which when compared to the feat achieved by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay all the more amazing. The pair climbed this mountain in 1953 not knowing what to expect and had only each other to rely on when they were on the difficult part of the climb.
The main message of the presentation, however, is the continuing plight of the Himalayan and Nepalese people in poverty and subsistence living. The foundation after all is setup to provide aid to them by way of improving education to give the next generation of children an option. To save them from a life of being porters all their life.