CHO OYU 2006 ~ EVEREST 2004

Friendship Beyond Borders Expeditions

A Team of International Friends Helping Amputees Change the World

Friendships Beyond Borders

The power of a growing network of international friendships between individuals and organizations helping amputees around the world

Great 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.

Soon 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.


In 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.

In 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.

Then 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.

On 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.

When 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.

Upon 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.

© McMillan Associates. All rights reserved. 2004-2009