Ed Hommer


  Autumn Everest 2001: The American-Canadian Expedition

Dispatch 22: Our Thanks to Everyone

Advanced Basecamp Rongbuk Glacier

October 9, 2001

As of October 7th any further efforts to reach the summit of Everest have come to an end. After being forced back again by winds and weather, we have exhausted our available time and ourselves.

Our high point was just above 26,000 ft. It almost seems as if we went right from the end of the monsoon season into winter conditions and storms within a few days. The Hungarian team, which has been with us here on the Tibetan side, says they will make one more attempt within a few days.

All of us are, to say the least, quite disappointed that we were not successful in reaching the summit; however, we know that we gave it our all, and had we had a break in the weather, our chances would have been excellent for a successful summit.

We will now spend the next few days preparing to descend back down to basecamp. Some of us have been here at ABC and above for over two weeks. As one of those, I am exhausted and, though disappointed, I am ready to descend to a level where there is a little more air to breathe.

I would again take this opportunity to thank our major corporate sponsors who made this expedition possible and stood behind us with their support the entire way.

First there is Mr. Greg Howard, President and CEO of Polaris Pool Systems in Vista, California. Greg has not only been a major sponsor of my climbing expeditions for two years but is also a very dear and trusted friend who has been a driving force behind making these expeditions go from a dream to the end of a rope with ice axe in hand. As always, thanks Greg.

Thanks to Touchstone Energy, a national alliance of electric cooperatives, who not only provided major sponsorship but also provided this web site and an associated school curriculum that was made available nationwide.

Touchstone Energy sponsors many community events across the nation from small towns to large cities that bring people together. Their corporate slogan, “The power of human connections,” is in fact more than just words. We are not only very thankful for their support but also quite proud to be associated with them.

If you cannot walk, you certainly cannot climb. My sincere thanks to Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics for giving me the ability to be here on Everest. Hanger has not only allowed me to continue to achieve my dreams but has helped countless other people across the nation to continue leading active lives because of their dedication to providing the most advanced prosthetic devices in the world.

My special thanks to everybody in Hangar’s Duluth, Minnesota, office. Everybody put forth so much extra effort to insure that when I left for this expedition everything was perfect as far as my prosthetic legs were concerned. All of you are absolutely the greatest and I owe all of you so much.

United Parcel Service very generously provided all of our shipping needs in order to get this expedition here. They shipped 54 boxes from Duluth, Minnesota, to Kathmandu in ten days, and every single one made it with all contents in their original condition. The loss of a single box can have a major impact on this type of expedition, so our sincere thanks to all the great folks at UPS who eliminated any such worry right from the start. I wish the yak drivers who made the final 13-mile delivery of many of those same boxes had been able to do the same.

Thanks to Granite Gear in Two Harbors, Minnesota. They just happen to make some of the finest and most rugged outdoor gear in the world. I have put more abuse on the Granite Gear product line over the last four years than you can imagine.

Last year, for example, during a sort of “emergency” decent, Scotty Anderson (who works for Granite Gear) and I dropped two fully loaded Cirrus 7000 packs down an 800-foot snow gully on our way out of the Annapurna region in Nepal. When we got to the bottom and retrieved them, there was not a single popped stitch. It is not just the durability of everything they make, it’s the innovative and design to function under all conditions.

Thanks to all of you at Granite Gear who put a lot of extra hours into this expedition and all the past ones as well. It’s not just the gear but all the great times just hanging out at the shop or around a fire someplace, telling stories — some of which are even true. So when we get back, it’s a fire and food for all of you at my place, The Fish Lake Shack.

Our sincere thanks to all of our sponsors who provided us with their top quality products and who are listed on this web site. I pursued these sponsors because I believed that they had the best and most reliable product lines on the market — items that we could trust to perform when we needed them the most. If something fails out here that’s it, you’re out of luck. So, before you go, research and find the best because nothing less will do.

Everest will always be here and perhaps in the future we shall again have the opportunity to return. Though disappointed in not making the summit, we had a safe climb. What is most important is that in a few days we shall all be returning home safe to our family and friends whom we have all missed so much over the past two months.

The support and understanding that we receive from our family and friends when we embark on these lengthy journeys are as important as any other aspects of the journeys.

We have been somewhat plagued with problems when it comes to sending photos. It has been sort of hit and miss and we never did quite nail it down. We know that the root of it was satellite transmission. So you may want to check back after we have had the opportunity to do a bulk transmission of photos.

In closing, we send our thanks to all of the people who followed the progress of this expedition. Upon my return I look forward to dedicating my efforts to the High Exposure Foundation and helping other amputees follow through with their dreams.

--Ed Hommer

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