I Think I Can See My House From Here!

| 1 Comment
Where in the world can you just be walking along, minding your own business and get whacked on the head by an airliner, flying at its normal cruising altitude?  Mount Everest, that's where.  How do I know this?  Because I watch a lot of TV.  I have to.  It's my duty, as the Fat Kid, to consume as much television as possible.  Occasionally something interesting makes it to my brain, and sometimes I am even able to recall it later.

So, anyway, there I was, doing my duty when I happened upon a miniseries on the Discovery Channel entitled "Everest: Beyond the Limit." At first I was going to keep channel surfing in search of an infomercial which could help me lounge my way to a tighter waistline, when one of the climbers said "All I do is eat and sleep."  Say what?  Needless to say, I was hooked.  The guy was Tim, a rather large man who was not a professional climber and not in particularly good shape but who was, nonetheless, scaling the world's tallest peak.  Tim had been involved in a motorcycle accident a few years ago, and (as anybody would) decided that once he got out of the hospital, he needed to spend nearly three months four miles above sea level trying to conquer Everest. All he needed was $40,000 and a plane ticket to Nepal.  His eating and sleeping comment was made when he was asked about camp life and getting acclimated to the higher altitude.  Mental note to self: move from your current sea level location to a really high place where your eating and sleeping lifestyle is not considered lazy but high altitude training.


As I watched Tim and his fellow climbers struggle from Base Camp (17,000 feet) to Advanced Base Camp (21,000 feet) and so on up toward the summit of 29,035, I kept noticing the narrator repeating one particular phrase: "The Sherpas went on ahead to set up camp/lay down the rope/set up the ladders."  The Sherpas would go on up ahead, climbing using only their hands, feet, and whatever tools they could attach to these appendages, and lay down ropes for the others to climb with, ladders to bridge chasms, and haul all the heavy gear such as food and oxygen tanks.

I started to wonder "Why are we spending all our time watching these fat Westerners hike, not climb, up this mountain when it would be far more interesting to see how the Sherpas do it?"  Don't get me wrong.  Mount Everest is a menacing place, whose extreme weather can kill a man in little time and with little warning.  More than a hundred climbers' bodies lie on the mountain, left where they died.  The air is so thin near the peak that one can asphyxiate while breathing and frost bite can claim any of the extremities even if you survive.  But if all the heavy lifting (both literally and figuratively) is being done by others who have gone up ahead and made everything easier for you, doesn't that tarnish the accomplishment, even just a little?  On the flip side, it also makes when Hillary and his crew did in 1963 all the more impressive, especially since they did not have the satellite weather forecasting that we enjoy today, and weather is the most dangerous thing about Everest.


At first, I thought of WIllie Wonka and the Oompa Loompas - they did all the work, he got all the credit.  But at least Wonka sought out the Oompa Loompas and brought them to London to work.  When Westerners got to Everest, the Sherpas were already there, and had been for centuries!

All this glory hogging got me thinking.  What I really need to do to be rich and famous is to find some hard-working people, steal credit for their hard work, and then brag about my accomplishment (*cough* Al Gore inventing the Internet *cough*).  I am going to start my search immediately...just as soon as I get done with my sea level version of high altitude training.

1 Comment

To learn how the Sherpas do it read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Sherpas are the true heroes of Everest. Without their assistance, very few would reach the summit. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view.

Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to www.beyondthesummit-novel.com

Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
Richard Blake for Readers Views.

A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest. EverestNews.com

A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review

LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

LeBlanc’s vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week

A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there. USABookNews.com

This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.”
– John (college professor)

Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialog. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA

This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels

Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.
By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Louis Core published on January 22, 2010 9:11 PM.

This Is My Son George. This Is My Other Son George... was the previous entry in this blog.

My Tastes Include Both Twinkies AND Ho-Hos is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.