Everest 2016 season comes to an end

I must admit to following every Everest season closely since my first trek in Nepal in 2008, and subsequent visits since then.

For the past few seasons I have been fortunate enough to know quite a number of the Everest climbers, having met them on my various treks & little climbs.  This of course has my heart in my mouth, anxious to hear they are safe and well, and proud of their judgement on the mountain, irrespective of whether they summit or not.  I will always remember Tim Rippel of Peak Freaks say – you are only half way there when you bag the summit.  Sage advice for sure.

This year two friends were on Everest.

I first met TA  Loeffler from St John’s in Newfondland in 2008 in Nepal.  She and I (being the only females in the group) shared a tent.  I had never camped in my life.  Why I chose to camp for the first time at Pumori base camp (some 18,000ft) is beyond me.  TA was patient and taught me the tricks of camping in -15C degrees and at high altitude.  In 2008, TA was climbing Pumori in training for climbing Everest.  2016 was TA’s 3rd attempt on Everest but unfortunately she got very sick, contracting HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) and a bit of HACE high altitude cerebral edema) and was airlifted to Kathmandu, having no choice but to abandon her bid for the summit.  TA is home safely in St John’s now, having had a short stay in hospital to allow her to recover before the long flight home from Kathmandu.  TA has a great blog that incorporates educational components for schoolkids and does amazing work in encouraging fitness and the outdoors.  Her blog is worth checking for sure.

TA on the summit of Vinson Massif, Antarctic with the Newfoundland flag

TA on the summit of Vinson Massif, Antarctic with the Newfoundland flag

I met Kuntal Joisher from Mumbai, India in 2011 also in Nepal.  He was doing some real climbing with Peak Freaks in training for Everest, the year I summited the littlest of the Himalayan peaks – Island Peak (6,189m / 20,300ft).  Kuntal is a software engineer, a kind generous spiritual soul, very soft spoken and a beautiful photographer.  And a vegan. Much is always made of the macho-ness of the meat-eating Everest climbers and vegans tend to be looked down upon.  And if they fail, their veganism is blamed.

On May 19 of this year, Kuntal stood on top of the world, a proud vegan and advocate for Alzheimers in honour of his father.  This was Kuntal’s third attempt on Everest.  His first attempt was ended in 2014 after the devastating avalanche on Everest leaving 16 Sherpa dead.  His second attempt was last year, as the April 25th earthquake rocked Nepal.  Kuntal was in Everest Base Camp at the time and barely escaped with his life.

He is a determined young man and returned this year to try and fulfill his lifelong dream.  He did.

Kuntal on Everest, May 19, 2016 - a proud vegan.

Kuntal on Everest, May 19, 2016 – a proud vegan.

Did I mention Kuntal is a beautiful photographer, check out his work here.  He has a stunning eye.

I started this post just planning on linking you to the great blog of Alan Arnette – experienced climber and teller of truths.  He calls a spade a spade and I follow his daily account of the goings on on Everest during climbing season.  The media tend to go crazy during Everest season and it is hard to tell the truth from the fibs, so I find Alan’s blog gives me some insights into what it is like on the mountain – something you cannot get from the media reports.  I hope you enjoy.

The Everest climbing season is now closed for 2016.  But no doubt, there will be many more hopefuls next year, and the year after that …..

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In the past two years, my work in Nepal has expanded to the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation www.bomkarlsson.com and the Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in the north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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1 Response to Everest 2016 season comes to an end

  1. Pingback: Everest 2016 season comes to an end — Bowen to Bangladesh | Better Stronger Brighter Nepal

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