Mayor Richard Bailey takes on Everest

Barry JantzBarry Jantz 1 Comment


Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey is in the midst of pursuing his lifetime dream to ascend Mount Everest. I will be tracking his progress, as he posts updates to his Facebook page every few days.

His good friend, Brad Gerbel, is also keeping closely abreast of Bailey’s attempt to scale the summit. Brad writes on Tuesday of this week:

“Bailey competed in the Boston Marathon last Monday, then flew to Nepal to attempt to summit Mt. Everest. Mayor Bailey is the third person in history to run the Boston Marathon and climb Mt. Everest in the same season, and he is the first mayor to attempt to summit the world’s tallest mountain at 29,032 feet above sea level.

“Bailey’s expedition is being led by Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja, a world-renown mountain climber. If you are a Netflix subscriber, Nims is the subject of the documentary called ’14 Peaks.’

“Bailey is expected to reach Everest Base Camp this Friday and will begin the acclimatization climbs to the push toward the summit thereafter.”

Here’s Bailey’s first entry from five days ago:

Everest Day 1 and 2 Recap

Day 1 landed in Kathmandu around 10am on Friday. By the time visas were sorted, luggage arrived, and customs were cleared it was closer to 11:30am by the time I made it outside. A driver from the expedition company I’m using, Elite Expedition, picked up me and another climber up and we made our way to the hotel.

If you have never been to Kathmandu, imagine a four lane highway, with eight lanes of traffic, but no actual lanes and no traffic signals. I couldn’t help but wonder what their SANDAG equivalent discussions looked like. Somehow it works.

First and most important task of the day is gear check. When doing a major expedition like this, you have to make sure you have all the necessary gear for a successful summit. And since there are approximately 70 different packing items, it’s easy to forget something.

The person doing my gear check is the legendary Mingma David Sherpa. Although relatively small in stature, you won’t find anyone more accomplished or soft spoken than David. He started his career as a porter, then a cook boy and eventually worked his way up to becoming a guide. He holds several world records including fastest ascent of K2, youngest person to summit the tallest 14 peaks in the world, and multiple records pertaining to rescuing fellow climbers. Experienced leaders like Mingma David and Nimsdai is exactly why I selected Elite Expedition and I feel honored to climb and spend time with them.

After gear check we head into town to pick up a couple minor items then off to dinner with some members of the team and bedtime.

Day 2 begins at 4:30am for some last minute packing and unpacking – I’m still traveling with a lot of stuff from the Boston Marathon that’s basically dead weight out here so I leave a large duffel of clothes at the hotel.

We leave for the airport at 5am to catch a 7am helicopter ride. Everyone and their luggage is weighed and we are carted out to the helicopter area where we meet our pilot – Bimal. I jokingly ask if I can fly and he immediately responds, “yes, my eyesight has been failing me lately so that would be helpful.” Bimal was a great pilot.

The smog in Kathmandu is notoriously bad and limits visibility, but all in all we had great flying conditions and minimal turbulence.

If you know much about Everest Expeditions you’ve undoubtedly heard about the “most dangerous airport in the world” at Lukla. This is where nearly every journey to the summit (from the Nepal side) begins. The airport is runway is very short and leaves little room for error with the mountain terrain and ever-changing winds. Between the traffic at Kathmandu and flying into Lukla, just getting to the trailhead is an adventure. Fortunately the helicopter flight is smooth and we land without issue.

The distance from Lukla to Everest Base Camp is about forty miles and takes seven to eight days depending on conditions and how trekkers are acclimatizing. It is a very popular hike with people from all over the world making their way along the trail.

We then make our way to a stop along the trail, the Namche Bazaar, where we will be staying the next two nights. The weather is great and has clear views of some of the world’s tallest peaks including Ama Dablam, Lhotse, and Everest.

Most of the day is spent eating and napping. I’m still feeling the jet lag from traveling and looking forward to a VERY long night of sleeping.

The typical weather pattern here is clear in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon and then briefly clear at night.

Before going to bed the afternoon clouds give way to a moonlit Everest. An absolutely spectacular view that the iPhone camera just can’t do the view justice but I will definitely remember it.

See all of Bailey’s Everest summit posts here.


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