Everest 2011: Flight of the Climbers – Dave Hahn Guides a Father-Daughter Duo on Everest Attempt


Bill and Sara McGahan and Jeff Martin walking out of Lukla to begin the ten-day trek to Everest Base Camp

Photographs and text by Dave Hahn, a guide for RMI Expeditions and First Ascent. In May 2010 Hahn reached the summit of Mount Everest for the 12th time, the most of any a non-Sherpa climber. This time, he is leading a Bill McGahan and his 16-year-old daughter, Sara, on a bid for the summit. Follow the team's Everest expedition in dispatches here. 
 
Dispatch 1: Kathmandu

My little team began to combine in Kathmandu yesterday afternoon. Jeff Martin, my boss at RMI Expeditions, met my flight into hot and dusty K-Du at around one o'clock. Jeff has already been over here for nearly a week, chasing down logistical details and getting all the arrangements made. My climbers, Bill and his 16-yea-old daughter Sara McGahan, beat me into town by about an hour, having flown East out of Atlanta, while I circled West from Taos. Long, long flights no matter how you slice it … a passel of time zones and bad airplane food. I had time for a quick shower back at the hotel before Jeff and I taxied our way over to the Ministry of Tourism. I scribbled my name a half-dozen times and shook a bunch of official hands … swallowed the obligatory cup of sweet tea and, voile!! We walked out with an all-important Everest climbing permit.

We retreated to the hotel to join Bill and Sara for dinner. Despite the fun reunion, we got yawning and fading fast … hopelessly jet-lagged we stumbled off to our rooms. Linden Mallory is already up in Everest's Khumbu icefalls–we'll get together with him about a week into our trek. Mark Tucker will join us at about the same time to complete the team. But for now it is just the four of us, which made today pretty easy when it came to a final gear check and and packing session.

We enjoyed an interview and conversation with Bili Bierling who is helping the legendary Elizabeth Hawley with the monumental task of keeping track of climber statistics in the Nepal Himalaya. Then we each made a few forays out into the streets to track down odds and ends—our version of sightseeing at this busy point in the expedition. We need to be ready to fly good and early tomorrow morning, up from 4,000 feet in Kathmandu to 9,200 feet in Lukla before the air gets cloudy and turbulent. My alarm is set for 4:15 a.m. and my bags are packed once again… with luck we'll be walking in mountains by mid-morning.


Everest appears behind Bill McGahan and his daughter 16-year-old daugher Sara

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