The power of a
growing network of international friendships between individuals
helping amputees around the world
things can be achieved in life when you have great friends. Our
expedition highlights the power of international friendship to transcend
national borders, cultural differences, and physical limitations.
after Nawang was fitted for his first prosthetic leg in May of 2001,
he was eager to start working toward his dream to climb Mount Everest.
Here he is at Mission Cliffs indoor climbing gym in San Francisco
two days after receiving his first prosthesis. Notice his huge smile!
The next step
was building back his incredible physical strength and endurance.
Here he is hiking with his new leg in the hills of Marin County,
north of San Francisco, in 2001. More smiles and determination.
His friends cheered him on. They could see that he was on the way
to regaining his career as a Sirdar (trekking guide). Steve
Sheridan and other friends from the Annapurna expedition and trek
worked together to provide the funding and connections to experts
who could help him return to the active life he wanted.
2001 Nawang was connected by friends to Ed Hommer, a double trans-tibial
amputee who had attempted to climb Mount Everest and was passing
through Kathmandu. Ed and Nawang immediately became close friends.
In 2002, Ed arranged for The High Exposure Foundation to bring Nawang
to Minnesota (USA) to receive a new "high tech" prosthetic
leg suitable for mountain climbing. Ed's
prosthetist/orthotist, Tom Halvorson, arranged for donations
of the prosthetic leg and foot, and fitted them expertly to Nawang.
2002 Nawang was already actively working toward his dream of climbing
Mount Everest. Here Nawang crosses a ladder over a crevasse in the
treacherous Khumbu Icefield while training on the approach to the
South Col Route of Everest, expecting to eventually climb the mountain
with Ed Hommer. Tragically, Ed was killed by rockfall while practicing
on Mount Rainier that year.
in 2003, Nawang suddenly got a chance to fulfill his dream.
With the help of Tom and Linda McMillan, Hamid Moghadam and
the team at AMB, Tom Halvorson, The High Exposure Foundation,
and other sponsors, the Spring 2004 EVEREST: Friendship Beyond
Borders Expedition was launched.
March 21, 2004 Nawang, Tom, and the Friendship Beyond Borders
Expedition team began their journey to Mount Everest. World
record holder for the most Everest summits, Appa
Sherpa, was among the well-wishers seeing them off as they
caught their flight to Lukla. From there the team trekked for
almost two weeks to the base camp of Mount Everest.
we arrived at Everest base camp we were warmly welcomed by renowned
filmmaker and climber David Breashears (in blue jacket), top
American alpinist Ed
Viesturs, and an old friend from our 1998 Annapurna expedition,
Lhakpa Sherpa. Lhakpa, now a climbing Sherpa, helped David and
Ed with their filming expedition, which shot footage for an
upcoming film about the Everest tragedy of 1996.
their return to Kathmandu, Nawang and Tom celebrated their Everest
success with a prominent placement of the expedition's "Yeti
Foot"plaque at the legendary Rum Doodle Restaurant in Kathmandu.