Thursday, December 24, 2009

Slide Show!

I don't know if anyone will even see this, but we wanted to let people know that the Logan Concert and Lecture series has invited Bruce to give his presentation at the Logan Tabernacle on Friday, January 8th, at 7 p.m. It's free and open to the public. He's given his slide show several times since he got home, but this is really the first one that hasn't been for a specific club or church group. So if you need a Friday night activity after all the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, come watch a pretty darn good presentation about Mt. Everest!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

He's home --

and he's skinny! Bruce (who is sleeping soundly right this minute) got on the scale this morning and has lost 20 pounds! The sad part is when you lose weight at altitude, it's not fat you lose, it's muscle. Anyway, he looks thin, and his stomach is still bothering him after a bout with food poisoning that a bunch of them got in one of the villages on the way down the mountain, but he's home and it's wonderful to have him back.

These are some photos he sent from Kathmandu before he left for home. The captions are in his words.
The Summit from the south col. The route goes right up the center of the face up the snow tongue. It hits the south east ridge at about midpoint at a place called the Balcony. From there it goes left up the ridge to the summit.

This is the somewhat daunting view of the Summit Ridge from the south summit. The Hillary step is the rock step in the center of the ridge. The ridge drops off vertically on both sides for several thousand feet. This view scared one of our team members enough that he turned around at this point. I had seen enough photos of this prior to getting there that I knew pretty much what to expect.

Summit photo. No view from the summit that day, the weather was not good. I kept expecting Russell to tell us to turn around.

The five-section ladder in the icefall. When we came around the corner and first saw this ladder, Hiro, the guide who was leading at the time stopped dead in his tracks and simply said "Oh sh - -". It was very nerve wracking.

Me with my Sherpa, Pemba Nuru, taken just as we were leaving the summit. This photo was taken in a hurry so I didn't take the time to remove my oxygen mask. Pemba and I were probably the last two people to leave the summit that day which makes us the last people this season to stand on the summit. I don't believe that anyone summited Everest the day after we did or anytime since unless someone came up from the North.

These next three are of our family at the airport, Bruce in front of our garage next to the sign we had made for him, and our wonderful neighbors who came out and banged pots and pans to welcome him home!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

He'll be home . . .

TOMORROW!! We're picking Bruce up at the airport tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon. Here's Carlie modeling the shirts we're all going to wear. Mine says 'husband' instead of 'Dad,' and we even got a onesie for my granddaughter that says 'My Grandpa climbed Mt. Everest!' Okay, so we're a little excited.

Stay tuned for awesome Everest photos . . .

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On his way home . . .

I don't know if anyone is still watching this blog, but I received an email from Bruce this morning and thought I'd share some of it. When they got back to base camp after the climb, it was snowing hard and continued to snow for the next 24+ hours. They were prepared to be snowed in for a while, but it looks like things worked out and they were able to leave. Here's what he says:

As you have probably guessed because of the lack of a phone call, we are on the move. The day after I last called you (the day of the huge snow storm) it dawned perfectly clear and Russell got us all out of bed early and told us to get packed. I've never packed in such a hurry and within an hour and a half we were headed out of base camp and on our way. It was pretty tricky going for the first half of the day because the trail was covered with so much packed snow. As we slowly descended the snow turned to slush and it became very sloppy and wet but we didn't care because we are headed home! At about the 14,000' elevation grass and small bushes began to appear. That is always such a great sight after being in a lifeless land for so long. It was a very long day but after all the time acclimatizing at 17,000' I felt like I was getting drunk on air. It really feels great. We spent the night at Pangboche, which I am guessing is about 18 or so miles from base camp, at around 13,000'. We are below the snowline and it is absolutely beautiful. There are evergreen trees and grass and bushes. I'm suffering from sensory overload. It was nice for the first time in two months to not wake up in the night gasping for breath.

Today we walked for about 4 hours in a drizzle and have arrived and Namche Bazaar. It has changed since we were here two months ago. With the recent rain, all the fields around the town have turned green. The trekking season has pretty much ended so the place feels like a ghost town. Tomorrow we walk to Lukla and spend the night and hope for good weather the next morning so we can fly to Kathmandu.

As we have been walking I have thought a lot about what climbing Everest means to me. It still hasn't hit me what I have accomplished and perhaps it won't until I get home. All my life I feel like I have struggled with my ability to complete what I start. I have had many goals in my life that I have started and then allowed to fall by the wayside. This has taught me that I do have the ability to follow through if I want to enough. It is totally up to me. This probably sounds trite but I have learned that I can be a finisher and not just a starter.

Sorry I haven't sent any more photos. With the big snowstorm I spent so much time dealing with keeping my tent cleared off (so it wouldn’t collapse) and other housekeeping issues that I didn't get a chance. My laptop computer is packed away now and hopefully on its way, on the back of a yak, to Kathmandu, so I don't have a way to resize my photos and send them from here. They are so huge that I don't think I could send them full size. You'll have to wait until I get to KTM.

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather two days from now. I'll call you as soon as I can.

Okay, this is Janet again. Isn't it interesting how we judge ourselves so much more harshly than others judge us? I have never thought of Bruce as someone who didn't see things through, in fact to me he's exactly the opposite . . .

I will continue to update the blog at least until Bruce gets home, so that he can add his own thoughts and share some experiences and add some photos. At this point I'm not sure what day he'll be getting home. He will call from Kathmandu and then I get to start working on changing his flight itinerary. I imagine it will be sometime next week. I'll let everyone know as soon as I know.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Safely back to Base Camp!

Bruce called late last night to let me know that he had just arrived safely back at base camp. This is great news. The icefall has been notoriously unstable this entire season, and was my last, big worry. He said that every time they've gone through the icefall, the route has been different, because it collapses and avalanches and the sherpas have to go in and re-fix the route. At one point on this last time through, they had to cross over a huge crevasse, which was spanned by five (FIVE!) ladders lashed together vertically. It scared him to death, apparently, as the whole thing swayed back and forth as they crossed it, and it seemed like it went on forever. You can't just walk across those things looking straight ahead, you have to look down to make sure you are placing your feet properly, and therefore you are forced to stare down into a seemingly bottomless crevasse as you cross. Can you imagine?!

Anyway, as the climbers came into base camp they were greeted by a huge crowd of the climbers in group one, the sherpas, sherpa cook staff, guides, etc., all banging on pots and pans and shouting congratulations. He said it was pretty fun. As we were talking some other climbers came into camp and I could actually hear the pot-banging through the phone.

He says he's lost weight and has the usual dry cough that always occurs at high altitude, but other than that he feels great, and still has all his fingers and toes. He will be home earlier than June 10th, which was the projected date, so that's good news, but we're not sure exactly what day at this point. He said he might email some pictures for me to post, so if you want to keep checking you can watch for those. I think I'll keep this blog going at least long enough for Bruce to add some of his own thoughts when he gets home.

Thanks everyone, so much, for all the prayers and good wishes. It has helped more than you know. You can't imagine how relieved we are and how proud I am of Bruce!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


At approximately 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 23, 2009, (10 p.m. Friday Utah time) Bruce made it to the summit of Mt. Everest!

He borrowed someone's sat phone and called at 3:15 a.m. this morning to let us know that he had made it and was back at the South Col (Camp 4). Still very high, and still using oxygen, he will spend the night there, then head to Camp 2 for one night, then back to base camp. He will call from base camp with much more information.

When I asked how he did, he said, "Oh, it was hard. I struggled, but it was so worth it." He said the weather was a little dicey at the summit; cloudy, windy and very cold. He said he feels good, and he sounded good (strong, healthy, no coughing) to me, and very happy. He said, "We still have a long, steep descent ahead, and we have to go back through the ice fall, but I don't anticipate any problems."

I will post again after he calls from base camp, probably Sunday. Right now I have to go do something -- cartwheels maybe . . . : )

Friday, May 22, 2009

I wish . . .

I wish I had some news. I wish I could find some mention of what is happening on the Himex website. I wish I had a crystal ball. I wish this was over.

The other morning, KSL ran a little news spot on Bruce. They had interviewed me on the phone the day before, and didn't tell me that they would actually use part of that interview in the news spot, but they did. I don't love to hear myself recorded, but oh well. And it was pretty short, thankfully, so I didn't have time to sound too stupid. Anyway, the newscasters made the comment that "he didn't take the satellite phone with him," and then at the end of the report, they joked, kind of sarcastically, about "What kind of guy goes to Everest and forgets to take the phone?"

If you logged on to and listened to the story there, it was a completely different news person who did it, interestingly enough, and he didn't make a joke, but he also said that Bruce "didn't take the phone."

What I had said to them was that he didn't take the phone with him "to the summit," not that he didn't take the phone at all. The whole experience made me realize two things:

1. This is why I am squeamish about having articles or news stories done about all of this, and
2. Maybe everyone is wondering why he didn't take the phone to the summit, so I'll try to explain.

A satellite phone is not like a cell phone, it's bigger and weighs more. When you're at that kind of altitude, working so hard to just put one foot in front of the other, sometimes having to stop and breathe several times before you can even take another step, every extra ounce that you're carrying on your back makes a difference. There is a fair amount of gear that you simply have to carry, but anything extra could be a liability. Bruce and I together decided that he shouldn't take it with him to the summit, and I would endure until he could call me (most likely when he returned to base camp).

Of course I would love it if he had it. I would love to have gotten a phone call from the summit of Mt. Everest. I would love to not be sitting here wondering where he is and if he has made it or not -- but I wanted him to be able to fully concentrate on what he is doing, rather than worrying about calling me, having to take his gloves off for even a minute to make the call, having to take his oxygen mask off while he talked to me -- you get the picture.

So here we are. If everything is going perfectly according to plan, he should have made the summit by now and be on his way back to Camp 4. I hope, I hope, I hope. I promise I will update this blog the minute I hear anything -- and many of you will probably get a phone call. Thank you so much for all the support and concern and prayers and good wishes. It means more than you can imagine.