Archive for the ‘Everest 2009’ Category

Injury Report and General Update

August 31st, 2009

At long last I’ve finished a report on what happened to me on Mount Everest. You can read the report here. If you have any corrections please contact me at and I’ll revise the document as needed.

I’m now nearly 3 weeks out from surgery. I had all 60+ stitches removed last Thursday. It wasn’t fun but now I can wear shoes and socks for the first time in three months. This helps with walking considerably. I’m wearing some lovely Isotoner gloves on my hands to help reduce fluid retention. My knuckles are still swollen and my fingers are very weak; my forearm muscles have disappeared over the months. So I spend a lot of time flexing my fingers and working to get my range of motion back. My thumbs did not undergo surgery but they still have scabs at the tips.

I’m doing a lot of things very slowly. Between the shortened fingers and the gloves I really have to think about what I’m doing. I’m back on the exercise bike and will be doing as much non-impact aerobic activity as I can to get my general level of fitness to where I can put in a full day’s work.

I’m not going to post any photos of my hands and feet; I’d rather deal with my injuries in terms of what I can do rather than how I look. While I will occasionally mention a significant milestone in my recovery, this pretty much ends my 2009 Everest expedition account. I thank you all for your wonderful support and best wishes over the past few months.

Here’s a photo of me with Bernice Notenboom and Walter Laserer in Kathmandu. They found me at nearly 8400m and took precious time out of their ascent to care for me, for which I will always be grateful. See my report for a full listing of those who helped me.


Posted in Everest 2009 | Comments (0)

Five days out

August 17th, 2009

Still in the hospital. Healing ok, but the chance of infection is too high to take any risks. Every day the dr squeezes the digit tips to expel any fluid containing infectious critters; today, no fluid! I’m given morphine and Versed, which send me to la-la land for a few hours. The biggest problem right now is some swelling that prevents urination so I have to relearn how to pee tomorrow. Otherwise I watch TV. I’m checking email but don’t be surprised if I don’t respond to your emails for a while.

Thanks again for your support. Surgery went as well as could be expected.

Posted in Everest 2009 | Comments (0)

Surgery Done

August 13th, 2009

Mike had surgery on Tuesday and is now going through a painful healing process. His hands and feet are completely wrapped and he is not supposed to put any weight on them for a few days. Kathy (his wife) is sending this message because Mike can’t hold on to anything from the TV remote to silverware or a pencil to punch out a computer message. We think Mike will come home sometime this weekend and he will send a post when he can.

Posted in Everest 2009 | Comments (0)

Surgery on Tuesday

August 10th, 2009

Tuesday is the Big Day. I’m having surgery that morning. I’ll try and put up a post in a few days to confirm that all went well. I’ll be in the hospital for about four days. No more black bits and no more stinky hands and feet!

Posted in Everest 2009 | Comments (0)

Two good books

August 7th, 2009

Neil Heil’s ‘Dark Summit’ and Lincoln Hall’s ‘Dead Lucky’ both describe events on the northside of Everest in 2006. Hall’s book talks about his person experiences (surviving a night out high on the north ridge after developing cerebral edema) while Heil covers the entire tragic season (11 deaths I think).

Also, famed Italian alpinist Ricardo Cassin died yesterday at the age of 100. Ciao, baby.

Photos: Namche Bazaar is the capital of Sherpaland This horse had to wait nerly 15 minutes to get into the Danfe Bar, Namche Bazaar



Posted in Everest 2009, Opinion | Comments (0)

Nothing happening/book recommendation

July 21st, 2009

I haven’t posted in a while because nothing new has happened recently. Still healing, still shriveling, still sitting around a lot. I won’t be posting any more about my condition until after my surgery August 11. I do hope to post a preliminary report on what happened in the next few days, so stay tuned.

I do want to steer the blog back to its intended use, which is to talk about altitude-related issues. An important book that I failed to cite in my book is Paul Auerbach’s Wilderness Medicine, fifth edition. This 2300 page monster covers just about every subject you can think about plus a few more. It not only covers altitude issues, it also covers marine issues, deserts, volcanoes, etc. etc. it’s way too heavy to carry on a trip but it should be on the bookshelf of any serious wilderness traveler.

Posted in Everest 2009, The Altitude Experience | Comments (0)

American Idiot

June 24th, 2009

This is the title of a song by the band Green Day that was popular a few years back. It’s also used for me now, as in “Did you hear about the American idiot who got frostbite on Mount Everest? Why do they let people like that on the mountain…”

While I’m upset about the frostbite (who wouldn’t be), I’m more upset with myself for making the mistakes that led to the frostbite. Unfortunately I recall almost nothing that happened between 6 PM and midnight but I shouldn’t have been up there at 6 PM.

I’m working on my timeline of events right now but for the moment you’ll just have to be patient until it is both complete and accurate. The short version is that I screwed up, got lucky, and made it down. There’s a long list of people who helped me (and continue to help); I will acknowledge them publicly when I’m sure the list is complete.

Frostbite update: the fingers and toes continue to ‘mature’. The nose is mostly healed though a scab continues to fall off and reform. There has been surprisingly little pain and I have yet to take a prescription painkiller. I am taking fairly high doses of ibuprofen and another prescription medication. These two together have been effective so far.

Some fingers and toes have clearly declared their intentions, while others are apparently still deciding what to keep and what to shed. Again, I should have very good function after the surgery. Even though I can’t use my fingertips and have bandages on my hands, I replaced the hard drive in my laptop this weekend without any help. I’m doing an hour a day on the recumbent exercise bike and a variety of exercises and stretches to get back into shape. After I heal from the surgery I should be able to resume virtually all of my normal activities. Probably no ice climbing or skiing this winter, though, as I’ll be quite sensitive to the cold.

I’m still wearing my glove bandages on the hands and socklike bandages on my feet. These bandages aren’t particularly comfortable in our hot, sticky weather.

My surgery will take place on August 11. I’ll be in the hospital a few days, and then laid up at home for while. I should be in good enough shape to start classes on September 8.

The rest of my gear arrived from Nepal. Thanks to Kedar from Explore Himalaya for dealing with this.

Photos: one photo shows the summit, with a statue of Buddha in the box. The other is a picture of me (though it’s hard to tell) with the summit reflected in my glasses. There’s also a lo-res video where you can see the wind blowing (1 MB). You guess how fast. Click the photos for larger versions.



Posted in Everest 2009 | Comments (0)

117 calories

June 13th, 2009

The title refers to the number of calories I burned on the exercise bike yesterday–my first real exercise since descending to Base Camp. Of course, I’ve been eating about 300 calories per hour, but it’s a start towards rebuilding my physique anyway.

I visited the doctor Friday, and I can now drive and exercise a reasonable amount. I’ll have surgery about the second week of August. By then, everything will have dried up and mummified. Attractive, huh?

I’m using my new speech recognition software to type this. So far it’s working fine, but it’s more like working on a typewriter; you have to decide exactly what you want to say in advance. Hopefully the software will handle technical terms — we’ll see.

I’m looking forward to being more active as time progresses. Hopefully I’ll see some of you local folks soon. I can’t run, bike, climb, etc. but I can drink beer or coffee afterwards. And eat, of course.

Photos: me in my usual position, and my strawberry nose after the ¬†frostbite scab fell off (it’s since scabbed up again). Click to enlarge if you dare…



Posted in Everest 2009 | Comments (0)

Were you there? Contact me (sticky)

June 8th, 2009

If you were on above the South Col on Everest on May 22-23 and had contact with me, could you please send me an email at everest09[AT]

I want to put together a timeline of my movements and figure out who helped me during my descent. My memory is very spotty and unreliable and I want to acknowledge all assistance that I received.


Posted in Everest 2009 | Comments (0)

Natural nose enhancement

June 8th, 2009

I got up this morning, looked in the mirror, and to my surprise my black nose scab had fallen off, revealing a red but rebuilt nose tip underneath. So no nose surgery and I look more like a normal clown.

I’m watching a lot of tv and have seen about 23,674 commercials for ‘natural male enhancement.’ I wonder if it works on fingers and toes?

Nothing much else to report–no serious pain, lots of dressing changes. I’m doing exercises to stretch my hands and feet back out. Otherwise, I wait for my body to heal. And watch more tv.

Posted in Everest 2009 | Comments (0)