The year was 1981. I remember it like it was yesterday. Surrounded by nervous first-year physical education students, I sat in the University of Calgary lecture hall anxiously awaiting the arrival of my exercise physiology professor, Dr. George Kinnear. To my delight, Dr. Kinnear was the expedition leader for a 15-man Canadian team who were aiming to scale Mount Everest, via a new route the following year. Imagine - the expedition leader was our teacher! As you might imagine, it took little effort from the class to guide Dr. Kinnear away from the curriculum and toward expedition logistics and plans.
Tragically, like many attempts to climb the world's highest peak, the 1982 expedition was costly both in terms of finances and human life. Ang Chuldim Sherpa, Dawa Dorje Sherpa, and Pasang Sona Sherpa died in an avalanche on Aug. 31, while Canadian cameraman Blair Griffiths died in a serac fall on Sept. 2. Several climbers abandoned the expedition because of the heavy toll, but a core group continued their adventure. On October 5, Sundare Sherpa, Lhakpa Dorje Sherpa, and Calgarian Laurie Skreslet successfully reached the summit.
Truthfully, I don't remember much of what Dr. Kinnear taught me about exercise physiology, but his tales of Sagarmatha / Chomolungma, "Goddess Mother of the World" and the majestic Himalayas left a lasting impression on me. Not just an impression, but a thirst to visit. A thirst that has taken me over 40 years to quench. I suppose in today's world of instant gratification, hanging on to a dream for over 40 years is something to be proud of. However, what I am most excited about is the fact that I will be sharing my dream with my "dream guy" and adventure partner Rob and our dear friend, adventurer, nomad, author, and neighbour, Kim Letson. www.kimletson.ca
We invite you to follow our blog, and although we can't promise frequent posts, quality writing, or focused images we will attempt to share a few of our impressions and pictures along the way.
Giggle of the Day:
I know you rolled your eyes over my "dream guy" reference, but let me transport you back to the 1980's. You may change your mind after looking at this pic of Robbie hiking the West Coast Trail during the external frame pack, converse sweats, and headband era.