To view photos and read about Ricardo’s 2017 Everest expedition go to http://www.summitssongsandscience.com/mount-everest.html
On May 7, Ricardo was finally able to fly home to Denver, Colorado.
The week he arrived he gave interviews to Colorado Public Radio, Fox News and Univision who contacted him to find out more about the Everest events. You can listen to the Colorado Public Radio interview here:
Thank you all for your continued financial support! I am very glad you are all enjoying my posts and my photos (I just posted several more photos on Facebook). I will continue sharing this Nepal experience with some Facebook posts but more importantly with the report I will prepare exclusively for all of you donors with the best images and detailed descriptions. I am flying back to the US this Wednesday. When I get home I will get to work on this.
I did not expect more financial support when I got off the mountain but it has been such a happy and wonderfully helpful surprise in this extremely expensive expedition, especially with all the added costs that arose from the expedition being cancelled a month before it was originally scheduled to end! Thank you all for your new donations!!!
Dear friends and family,
I apologize for the message being cut. The power goes out every day several times a day here in Kathmandu and so the internet gets cut off when you least expect it.
As I was saying I feel extremely fortunate, grateful and moved by your generosity. Your donations are helping a lot at a time when I’m stuck in Kathmandu trying tout a plug to this money drain!! With your donations I will now be able to fly back home next week to start working and paying back the debt from this expedition. All your donations from the beginning of this campaign and continuing now are helping enormously to make this huge money investment I made more manageable. The more money raised the less years I will have to be working just to pay for this expedition where tragically many people died and no one got a chance to climb. The total cost of this expedition has been around $55,000 dollars. The almost $32,000 that you have contributed are a HUGE help to pay for that! You have given me a chance to come and try the biggest mountain in the world, unfortunately the biggest tragedy on Everest happened this time and a historical event has happened where no one gets to climb.
Some of you, have even more generously offered to donate again for me to try this again in the future.
I cannot describe how moved I feel about such noble gestures!
But I do not want to take anyone’s money for a future climb unless there is some assurance that this fiasco won’t happen again.
Many things have to be settled before we even think of embarking on another huge project like that. Things like; will the Nepal government actually honor their promise to not charge us the $10,000 permit if we come back to try Everest again in the next 5 years. That would of course make the climb $10,000 cheaper (or more since they are saying the permit will now cost $11,000 per person).
I would have to get on my feet financially too before I would even think of trying Everest again.
Anyway, just sharing my thoughts for those of you who have so generously offered to support me again!!
Above all this experience has shown me how kind and generous people can be and that will be a truly unforgettable part of this project. I will always be grateful with you all. I hope I get a chance to give back to you as much as you have given me!
For now I will try to visit a few more interesting sites in Kathmandu to share with you a trip report that is as interesting and stimulating as possible…to try to make te most out of your money!
Thank you all!!
Thank you so much to everyone that has made donations in the last 48 hours! Your donations are helping me get home!! I really appreciate that! Looks like with your help and hopefully a few more donations I will be able to go home next Wednesday May 7! I really, really appreciate that!!! I am very fortunate to have your support and I am looking forward to being back home to share this experience with you all! THANK YOU!!!
Thank you to everyone that is making donations now! This will really help me get back home next week instead of being stuck in Kathmandu for more than two weeks spending more money and making nothing. Your donations are really helping me right now! Thank you so much!!! You are all amazing!!
$25,000 is the debt I end up after Everest. That is a lot of money for a musician/mountain guide for me and it will probably take me 8 or 10 years to pay back. But that is the price I pay for trying to climb Everest. I really appreciate all your donations past and recent. I am very grateful for all your generosity and I am also very sorry for the outcome of this expedition. I hope you can all see that we fought until the end to keep the expedition going but in the end it became impossible.
I am now trying to find a way to get back home as soon as possible but it looks hard. I went to the office of Korean Airlines and the first flight they can put me on is May 15!! I am looking for alternatives because I need to get back home and start working and generating money to pay my debt. Let’s see what I can do.
Everything went to hell after the avalanche on Everest! There was a small group of Sherpas that used this tragedy as an opportunity to make demands from the government unfortunately this was the wrong way to handle things as now we are all screwed! These Sherpas mobilized a lot of other Sherpas to essentially go on strike and abandon their expeditions. Phil Crampton (our expedition leader) and Russel Brice took a helicopter to Kathmandu to talk directly to government officials to try to get the Sherpas their demands met so the climbing season would be saved. This way we could climb, the Sherpas could get what they want and not be hurt financially. The government said to Phil and Russel that they would agree to all demands and would make sure the climbing season would continue.
When the government officials showed up at base camp they basically told the Sherpas they were with them. No Sherpas on the mountains as they wanted and that they would discuss their requests after the climbing season. Then in English they told us they were with us! They were supporting us!…now let me translate what this meant! The government completely lied to Russel and Phil! They did not meet the demands of the Sherpas at all! They will probably not give them anything they want. The government has officially kept the mountain open. Why? Because they know nobody can climb now without the Sherpas fixing ropes and also because some Sherpas have threatened some westerners that if they did not leave within 7 days there’d be trouble! By stating that the mountain is open the government wants to avoid having to explain why they are not giving back any of the $10,000 dollar permits each of us paid. As far a they are concerned we are free to climb! The Sherpas are getting screwed once again by the government who will probably do nothing for them. The strategy of the small group of Sherpas who got this movement going now got us climbers screwed having paid millions of dollars to the Nepal economy as well as directly to the Sherpa community while having no chance to climb. They have screwed other Sherpas now because many of them wanted to continue to work and earn their living. Remember that these climbing Sherpas make 10 times more in one climbing season than the average ANNUAL income for Nepalis. Sherpas will probably hurt next years as business could be down from western companies not trusting they can do business safely in Nepal. Now the families of the dead are most likely guaranteed they will not get assistance from the government! Luckily assistance is coming from 1st world countries and organizations like the American Alpine club and many others.
The small group of Sherpas that mobilized the masses screwed the other Sherpas, themselves and us. The government screwed everyone!
Everybody loses! This is a total mess!
The mountain may be officially open but everyone has to leave now, not just because there is no Sherpa support but because if anyone tries to climb they can be threatened (foreign or Sherpa both).
Climbers are all moving out of base camp quickly. Most climbers are out now. Sherpas and guides are still there tearing down base camp and organizing porters to move the tons of gear down the mountain (including all of our personal gear. We hiked and flew with just a medium sized backpack full).
Many Sherpas, like our team are very hard working, professional, loyal and great wonderful people. These other Sherpas (many of them of the younger generation with a heavy Maoist influence) are unfortunately giving all Sherpas a bad name and handled things in a very distructive way.
Who is to blame for this human tragedy having turned into this political and financial mess? I think it’s a result of people handling a tragedy in a very emotional, irrational way. Acting without thinking things through. Mob mentality is also to blame. Religion and superstition as always also bring their destructive contribution! In this case the belief that the mountain gods were angry and made the mountain dangerous did not help. Then the high lama at Tiangboche monastery makes a typical statement of religious leaders claiming to know things they cannot possible know! He said: “there will be more deaths on the mountain this season!” Unfortunately the Sherpas are very religious people! Why do they listen to this man say something he cannot possibly know? Because of faith, because it’s so much easier to have faith than to think rationally and on your own. Why did they listen to these other Sherpas and became a mob that forced all Sherpas to abandon the climb? Because those leaders said things that felt right! Because they were not thinking rationally, intelligently into the future, realizing this was going to hurt them more than help them.
Complicating all of this is a very corrupt government that doesn’t give a damn about the small Sherpa population in their country. They are happy dispatching BS everywhere and keeping millions of dollars received in permits for their personal benefit. They don’t seem to grasp or care that this will hurt Nepali’s tourism, economy and the Sherpa.
Some of the Sherpas turning against westerners is just absurd. It was the fact that we have to pay for Sherpas rescue insurance that made it possible for helicopters to rescue survivors from he avalanche. It is some of the guiding companies who are giving money directly to the families of the dead.
Of course not all westerners treat Sherpas as good as we do or take care of them as Phil’s company does. But all of them bring income directly to the Sherpa community paying wages, using tea houses on the trek, buying food and paying like we did for internet ($10 per hour, which is a lot of money in Nepal!) or for charging electronics (also about $10 per hour on some of the highest lodges). These are just a few examples of many ways we contribute to their economy. All the tons of gear at base camp has to be brought there on foot and with yaks. All of this gets paid in cash. All of this plus the thousands of Trekkers contribute to be the main source of income of the Sherpa community today. All of this may suffer because of how badly things were handled!
Like I said on my interview with Discovery channel at base camp.
If us abandoning our Everest expedition, my lifelong dream, would somehow help the families of the dead, I would feel a lot better about this. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s helping at all. I think it’s going to hurt them in the long run! How absurd is all this!!
Like I said before, the most tragic part of this is the death of the poor Sherpas that were on the mountain doing their job and the pain they leave behind with their loved ones.
That’s the most serious thing that happened on the mountain. The rest is now a very complicated and messy thing that is hurting everyone and will continue to hurt many people in Nepal unless pressure can be put on the Nepali government to start having some resemblance of decency and care for their citizens and some integrity when dealing with foreigners.
Also I hope the Sherpa community can find a better way to handle things so they won’t hurt themselves so badly.
I am very disappointed and frustrated on how things played out. At the same time I am very glad to be alive. If we would have left an hour or two earlier we could have been all killed in the avalanche. I realize the immense fortune I have to be alive, to live a great quality of life in a country where the government doesn’t screw its people in such a blatant and disgusting way. The US government can be blamed of many things but it does give citizens like me the opportunity to make a living as a musician and a mountain guide with very good and safe living conditions.
I am very lucky to have been born where I was born, to a family like mine. I am fortunate to have the opportunities and quality of life that I have.
Yes, now I have to pay a $25,000 dollar debt for a climb I never had the chance to make. That is a lot of mon
(Message cut by power cut in Kathmandu)
Quick update while I have internet access here on Gorakshep (a village 2 miles down the valley from Base camp).
A lot of sherpas and climbers are leaving base camp. There is obviously a deep feeling of mourning around base camp. We have all been very affected but this huge tragedy. Our sherpas have been wonderful and we are giving them time to relax and process this. If they want to continue I know Phil and I want to continue the expedition and I believe most or all of our team members will want to also. No decisions are being made in our expedition right now, but many of the big companies are pulling the plug on their expeditions. We all feel very sorry for the deaths of the 17 sherpas and even more for their families.
I know the American Alpine Club and other organizations are already raising money to help the families (besides the money the will receive from the outfitters and the insurance every outfitter must pay for each sherpa). We want to be very respectful to all the sherpas and their loss and even more our sherpas who have been so professional and so wonderful with us. If our sherpas decide they do not want to continue we will have to respect their decision, but so far it looks like they will want to continue. I will keep you all updated.
Yesterday, while I was in Gorakshep sending my dispatches a Puja and a general meeting was held in base camp with Sherpas and western expedition leaders including Phil Crampton and Russel Brice. Some outspoken Sherpas keep demanding their requests granted by the government AND they also want to go home without putting any more work with full pay!
The older Sherpas being much wiser realize that if they all go home now everyone will suffer! They may not get anything from the government, they will not get paid in full, they will lose their job as many large outfitters are threatening to not come back to Nepal anymore and the families of the dead will not receive additional compensation.
Things have taken a turn for the worse now as some of Himex clients have been threatened by some Sherpas that if they don’t leave within 7 days there will be trouble!
This is a very disturbing twist as so far this was not a struggle between westerners and Sherpas but now some Sherpas are beginning to direct their anger towards westerners!
Himex leader Russell Brice (famous for the discovery channel Everest TV shows) and our leader Phil Crampton have asked the government to bring military personnel to base camp to keep things stable!
They both took a helicopter yesterday from base camp to Kathmandu to meet with other leaders of the big outfitters and go talk directly to the high ranking officials in the government of Nepal.
They want to encourage the government to agree to the terms of the Sherpas so the expeditions can resume. Obviously in this case the government and the outfitters would expect the Sherpas to resume the work they were contracted to do.
The best scenario as I see it is if the trouble maker Sherpas that are insisting that everyone leave actually leave! And let the other Sherpas who want to work…stay and work and us climbers climb!
We are being dragged into this whole political nonsense when all we came to do here is to climb and we have all contributed a lot of money to the Sherpa community and to Nepal to do this! Western countries will probably donate a lot more money to the families of the victims than anyone else. This is definitely not fair to us! And now to begin to receive threats is completely insane! We have nothing against the Sherpas and in fact we are the ones trying to help get their demands met!
It’s absolutely crazy!
Our Sherpas and us (altitude junkies) continue together and in very good and friendly terms.
This is reaching very critical proportions and I imagine we will know soon if this whole thing is going to get solved or if we need to leave the mountain!
I’ll continue to keep you updated as I am able.