April 5, 2014

We are at Namche.

Internet here is practically useless! It works for a minute and then it stops!

I’m hoping I can send this message in one of those lucky moments!

I am doing what I can between a local phone I bought, my iPhone and my iPad!

Namche is the main trading city of the Sherpa people in Nepal.

It is a town built on the side of a steep hill with no roads and the only way of getting here or transporting goods to and from here is by foot and by pack animals, or helicopter (though this is extremely expensive so the locals use it moderately)

I have a cold today, I woke up with a sore throat and coughing a bit. I feel ok right now and luckily we have an acclimatization day here today so I am resting a lot and staying well hydrated. I am hoping I get this over before we get too high.

We still have about 7 days before we get to base camp at 17,500′

Getting sick is common in these expeditions as you travel across the world in crowded planes, you see tons of people in the crowded and very narrow streets of Kathmandu and there are lots of trekkers on the trail from different parts of the world.

Once we reach base camp we are more isolated as Trekkers are no longer allowed inside Everest base camp. Also our base camp will be a closed camp with no visitors allowed from other camps so we don’t introduce outside viruses into our team.

For our next couple of days we climb to 12,700′ and then to14,460′ so we are not that high yet and hopefully I can get this cold over quickly.

Namche is fascinating, colorful and it boasts amazing views of peaks above 20,000′

The cobblestone walkways have stores, lodges and restaurants and you see a mix of trekkers, climbers, and pack animals walking on them. No yaks yet, because Yaks live above 14k and they cannot come lower because they can overheat and die.

We have many porters in the process of carrying all the gear/food etc, etc. necessary for our two month expedition. We don’t see those Porters as they left a day before us. Also our Sherpas are already at base camp establishing our camp. The porters are carrying an average of almost a ton of gear, supplies and food  per each one of us climbers! And that is not including the personal gear we are carrying (about 20-25lbs for each of us) for our 10 day trek. We are not using Sherpas for our trek as trekkers do since we can carry these medium loads ourselves without a problem and it means we have our stuff with us at all times, which is very practical. Also this bit of exercise is good to stay in shape and to aid in acclimatization.

Looking forward to getting over this cold and getting to the mountain! Though I am really enjoying this beautiful and culturally fascinating trek trough the mountains of the Himalaya!

I’ll be in touch as soon as I can!


April 2, 2014

I arrived in Kathmandu on March 31st after two days of traveling. Long and tiring but not as bad as I though as I was able to sleep well on the long 12.5 hour flight from LA to Seoul, Korea. We flew on a new jet called the A380 which I guess it’s also called the super jumbo jet. It has two  complete levels of seats. Economy is all in the lower level. The seats were more comfortable than older planes and since the whole flight was in the dark I got some good sleep!

The 25+ hours of travel helped me begin the transition from the really stressful state I was in the last two weeks in Colorado trying to do a million things to get ready for Everest and leave both my businesses in order (music and mountain guiding) to minimize loss of income as much as possible! It was a rough two weeks with too much to do. I wasn’t able to start earlier because I traveled to Argentina to guide the Andes Survivors trip and then to Mexico to guide a third volcanoes expedition this season. A trip to Sweden and a quick trip to San Diego with my band to play a very fun and special wedding! All this traveling had left just 12 days to get ready for Everest and do way too many things that needed to be done before the expedition began, including figuring out how to fundraise enough to pay for the $42,500 cost of the logistics which could not be paid by credit card! I had really intense days where it looked like I would have no way to make the payments but as if this was “meant to be” all the donors came through with incredible donations and my brother Horacio bailed me out with a huge loan that I needed, to have enough money in the bank so that my rent and utilities would be paid while I was gone for two months!

Now, 5 days after I left, I am finally relaxed and feeling great, healthy, and focused on enjoying and performing at my best on this Everest expedition!

My 6.5 hour flight from Seoul to Kathmandu was uneventful except for an unusual little friendly interaction. I was sitting on the window and the two seats next to me were open. Finally at the end of the boarding process a young, attractive Nepali girl sat next to the aisle. As I moved a few things around to make room for her to use the middle seat for her stuff she asked me in broken English if she could sit next to me…sure! I said…a bit confused! “That’s a bit odd” I thought. “Maybe it’s just for the take off because she wants to see Seoul from the air” but no! She sat there the whole 6.5 hour flight!

Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with a young pretty girl wanting to sit next to me, but she had almost lost her voice and had a rough dry cough going and all I could think of was: “the last thing I need just before Everest is a nasty virus!”

That was awkward! The worse thing was that she was really sweet and friendly. We couldn’t really talk much because she spoke just a bit of English and I speak zero Nepali! But she was really friendly the whole flight giving me her peanuts, her ice cream dessert from her dinner and I swear, almost treating me as if she was the host and I was her guest! Helping me with the food tray, moving things around so I would be more comfortable, and all sorts of nice gestures!

She was so sweet and nice that I couldn’t do anything! What could I do? Say, “hmm, can you move over?” Or change my seat? But there really weren’t that many options! She was very sweet but it was quite strange.

I was very polite to her and I felt very grateful with all the little details she did including at the end telling me If I needed anything in Nepal she and her family would be glad to help me and giving me a few Nepali bills as a gift: a $500 and a $100 rupee note which is about 7 dollars. She wished me good luck on Everest. I helped her with her heavy carry on and in immigration we went our separate ways.

Kind of a strange odd little story isn’t it? She was 23 years old flying to Nepal to see her family and friends for a few weeks after 3 years of working in Korea without a chance to visit. She gave me her email in case I needed anything while in Nepal!

 It was an awfully friendly welcome to Nepal and I still don’t quite get it…did she think I was rich? Maybe! Who can afford Everest?! But I did explain to her that I was a musician and guide and that I was lucky to receive most of the cost of Everest in donations!!

So far I have found people here very friendly (not as much as her but very nice everywhere).

Everest 2014 Expedition Trip Report

The 2014 Everest season was a tragic season as the mountain witnessed the most deadly single day in its history (only surpassed by the 2015 Earthquake). 17 sherpas died on an avalanche in the Khumbu ice fall. Ricardo was on his way up the icefall when this happened. Later on Ricardo assisted the doctors at base camp with the survivors. The events that followed were very complicated and they resulted in all expeditions being forced to cancel and no one having a chance to attempt the summit. You can read all about this historic event and see the photos on this page.

Here you can find all the best photos from the expedition and read Ricardo’s captions below (press pause or press the arrows that appears if you hover your pointer over the photo if you want to read the full captions). For more detail you  can scroll down to find all the dispatches that Ricardo sent throughout the expedition including the final messages sent through his Gofundme page.

Listen to Ricardo’s Colorado Public Radio interview given the day after he arrived from Nepal



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