19 Sep Simple Things Go a Long Way Around Everest
Being a few days walk from Everest Base Camp on April 18, 2014, the most deadly day in its history, was a humbling experience. As word of the avalanche spread amongst the trekkers and stories of the sixteen fallen Sherpas came to light, it was difficult not to be humbled by the fragility of life, especially in the face of the world’s largest mountains. Influencing the remainder of our time there, we were grateful to be alive, treasured our time in the Himalayas, and enjoyed every moment we got to spend with our local Sherpa guide Dorjee, porter Mauritz, and all the locals we met along the way in remote parts of the world’s tallest mountains.
Given the fact that we were pushing our bodies to the limits every day in remote mountain regions, often asleep just after dark, it wasn’t the easiest place to connect with people in need to solve problems. In the mountains life gets down to the basics: eat, sleep, walk, stay warm, stay alive. The simplest things become super important (proper winter gear), and the slightest luxuries (good chocolate) are more exciting than a Bentley will ever be.
All supplies get carried in by porters who are borderline superhuman.
Weather comes without warning and can take lives in seconds or prevent you from moving for days – and sometimes weeks – at a time.
Our porter Mauritz was an absolute rockstar. He is 20 years our senior and carried 15x times our weight in duffle bags tied together with rope. The whole mountain affectionately called him “Grandpa”, and we also called him “Superman” (in Nepali, of course). Not only did he smile the whole 3 weeks on the trail, but he did it in running shoes with no tread, including through the snowy passes. I gifted my hiking shoes, socks, and hiking poles to him. I think he’ll make good use of them 😉
The owner of one of the lodges we stayed in just after a blizzard had forgotten his iPhone cable and was a two or three day walk from the closest town. With limited electricity and no charger at his mountain hut, he had a solar panel and iPad but no cable and was thus unable to send emails, communicate with family and friends, or check the weather. Though countless guests had come through there before us, no one thought to solve this problem for him, but it was a no-brainer for us!
One thing unchanging in this world is people’s appreciation for random acts of kindness. So while perhaps not the biggest Miracles we’ll ever perform, it was super fun to help get some folks what they needed along the mountainside.
And to show our appreciation for their hard work and great attitudes, we treated our hardworking team to a celebratory night out before parting ways. Of course we’d never use donor Miracle Bank funds for that. We’d paid for it ourselves, but man oh man, was it a fun night. After all, no one ever said humanitarianism had to be boring!