from Dan Bridges, Bela Kogler before departing from
back to Kathmandu.
is my first expedition and I can tell you it is more
than I imagined. Nepal is very beautiful, the
mountains are breathtaking, and the Nepali people
are wonderful. One interesting thing I have
observed about the expedition is the group that
makes up this incredible team. Here are my
thoughts on this courageous group of individuals:
Link (a.k.a. Robo) - He is a born leader.
Members of the expedition look to him on a daily
basis for advice and direction. The thing I
don't understand is every time a question is posed;
he won't answer it until he consults Lhawang.
- A true mountaineer and a Nepali native. He
has been our saving grace when it comes to the
language and customs of Nepal. Always a smile
on his face and a laugh in his heart, especially
when we are fed anything with yak in it! He
loves to watch our faces when we taste that lovely
Mondry - Also known as the "producer," he
is the catalyst of the expedition. He is the
one who created this magical group. Andy is
also a human garbage can, constantly scoping the
mess tent for any morsel that is left on a plate.
He often squirrels food away to eat later for one of
his many snacks. Andy is a Gemini and loves
taking video. In his spare time he enjoys
chess and working out with the thigh master.
Nickamin - Dave is my bunkmate and a very special
friend. He is the sole reason I am here.
He worked the deal with my wife and smoothed waters
for the trip. I go shopping with Dave he is an
unbelievable haggler. Dave has a unique
communications pattern with the Nepali. He
mumbles a bit, throws a bit of Spanish and Yiddish
and some how I get a great deal.
Nickamin - Adam is very spiritual and really enjoys
learning and participating in the local Nepali
customs. So much that when a local Dhaulagiri
Expedition Historian came to bless the group and
offer a toast with some local apple spirits, I
caught Adam putting the glass to his lips not even
getting them wet when dumping the beverage in his
empty fruit bowl. Thinking he was free, he fell upon
another Nepali custom that the glass should never be
empty and he was back in the game. Adam also
has a problem doing laundry. He says it
affects his acclimatization process. Adam also
coined the phrase, "welcome to my willage."
Clark - Ben is a unique individual full of energy
and excitement. He too can consume the food.
Before I got to know Ben I thought he was a little
off. All he did all day and night was take
photos of himself: Ben in the tent, Ben on the
mountain, Ben tying on his boots. Then I found
out he has his own website and a goal to be the
youngest American to summit Everest. He may be
one of the smartest climbers as well, because he
brought his girlfriend. I have not yet to see
Lindaas (a.k.a. Lindy) - Mike is the true reality
check and businessman of this expedition. Mike
has every answer for any technical question, be it
working on the mountain or working the computer.
He has such a dry sense of humor you never know if
you should believe him. Mike also has a very
unique laugh that would make anybody smile.
Sometimes his jokes aren't that funny, but his laugh
makes you laugh and then he thinks he is funny
Olson (a.k.a. Ole) - I link Ole to the character
James Gardener played in The Great Escape, "the
Scrounger." Ole is our Scrounger.
Any town, village or hamlet we visit, Ole has a
friend, business acquaintance or relative. He
can get anything we need. He has a wealth of
knowledge and great Nepali communication, especially
when speaking to the opposite sex. In fact he
got us a great deal at the Shangri-La in Kathmandu
for hours talking to a female hotel clerk. I
think she hung out with him for so long because she
thought he was Gene Wilder.
Justman (a.k.a. JJ) - All I can say is total badass.
The first day in Pokhara he shaved his head.
All the Nepali kids thought he was Stone Cold Steve
Austin. Everything about JJ is climbing.
He is dedicated, intense and powerful. I
think I can take JJ.
Styllas (a.k.a. The Greek) - "The Greek"
is the ultimate human specimen. He lives on
raw garlic and olive oil. Just the other day
we found out a pass was snow covered and The Greek
offered to shovel a one-mile path up the mountain.
Before joining the expedition the Greek ran in the
Annapurna Race, drinking from a local hose (total
no-no), he became ill, yet still finished the race.
My favorite Greek quote after he finished is,
"It's OK. It's fine. Doesn't matter
what happens, It's OK. It's Fine."
Meggs - Our southern comedian. He somehow
related everything to the south. When he was
offered some music for his CD player, if he didn't
like it, his response was "this dog don't
hunt." Oftentimes we enjoyed sitting
around the campfire listening to Gary talk about
growing up in the south and eating Spam. He
tells us he is thinking about writing a Spam
Bridges (Dano) - My favorite thing about Dan is
watching him hike up the mountain playing air
guitar. Dano is our resident equipment
specialist. Does not matter what gear you put on,
Dan will start rattling off specs and stored where
you can buy them. Not sure why, but he always
ends up plugging Mountain Hardwear gear in the end.
Link - Cari is a wonderful person. She has taken the
Nepali children under her wing. She will stop
to play with them no matter what. She has also
single handedly increased the Nepali economy by
buying something from every street vendor and shop
owner on the trek.
Rinehart - Lindsay is our Communications Specialist
and Ben's girlfriend. She has her own work cut
out for her. Ben showers first and uses all
the hot water, he blew up the computer and expects
her to fix it and then he lost the digital camera
cord and asked her if she packed it in her own
sleeping bag. Yet, she still manages to keep
his website up and running. A real trouper.
Heinrich - Tommy is our cameraman and crew all in
one. He is capturing every moment for the
history books. If it's Robert spilling tea on
the expensive computer system or the team being
blessed at a local temple, Tommy is there.
Tommy is a seasoned climber and captures every Kodak
you can see every member of this team contributes in
their own special way and I am honored and happy to
be a part of this expedition. Thank you Andy,
David, and Adam for including me in this great
close with one of the greatest quotes from a great
band... "At least I'm enjoying the ride."
from Jeff Justman: Adam, Andy, and Dave going over