Today's News
   8000 Meters Facts
Banners Ads
   Classified Ads
   Climb for Peace
   E-mail (Free)
Mailing List

   News (current)
   News Archives
   Sat Phones
   Seven Summits
   Readers Guide
   Visitor Agreement



Everest South Side Expedition: American Commemorative Expedition

 Current Nepal Time

We Meet Again at 50th Everest at Fairmont, San Francisco June 10, 2003: So I think for everyone it is finally sinking in that we were on an expedition to Mt. Everest, the mountain of our dreams, for all our team members. Whether we submitted or not, we had a journey of a lifetime and are all so happy to be home with family and friends, and to appreciate life for what it is. I personally have never felt so happy and alive.

At the celebration in San Francisco we met again, Tom Burch, Brian OąConnor, Bob Hoffman and myself. We recognized each other, but definitely looked different that we had the last 66 or so days. I was so happy to see them and again to congratulate ourselves on our summit. We all were so desperate, (mostly me) to get home and see our loved ones, we had a hard time saying goodbye.

We really missed the rest of the team at the celebration, but I just want to thank all our team members and highlight the special qualities of each and everyone.

Bob Boice - I have never met a nicer, caring, appreciative, courageous and compassionate person as Bob. Bob had sacrificed his previous summit attempts in 1998 to help a fallen climber, Sherman Bull, and again in 2000 for horrendous weather where he and Hoffman were out on the mountain for over 24 hours. Unfortunately, Bob then had gotten bad frostbite and lost parts of his fingers. This year he was our rock! Our patience guru! We could have never done it without him and his determination that the weather would allow us our chance.

So this year when Bob was at the South Summit, he had to make a very difficult decision. I was with him when he was deciding. He was really concerned about the build up of people ahead of him going up slowly and now all the others returning. The winds had increased to at minimum 80 miles an hour, his few fingers were going to get frostbitten, (he would know), the fact that he would run out of oxygen if he got caught up there, not being able to make it down and the temperatures were not really warming up. Based on the conditions of this year: Going down could be harder and take more energy than going up. Bob is an experienced climber and knew his ability and risks. I commend him for his decision. It is so much harder to turn around than to keep going and hope for the best. He has my and our whole teams admiration. My next goal in life is to be as much like Bob Boice as possible. He just brings out the best in people and one of the highlights of the trip for me was to be honored to get to know him.

Tom Burch - Tom Burch was one of the strongest of the team and had a connection with the climbing Sherpas that was just incredible. His caring and love for them was admired by all of us. He made sure they had their crampons sharpend, had head lamps, mittens, whatever they needed to have a safe and hopefully successful ascent. He had all the respect of all the Sherpas, they love him. As for the team, well he was not only one of the strongest , but also since he had been there last season in 2002, he had knowledge and respect from all of us. Especially us rookies, like me. I have climbed and skied with Tom on some wonderful mountains in many countries like Nepal, Alaska, Peru, Switzerland, France and Canada. He helped me through one of the hardest moments I had on this expedition. I am so grateful for that. He is definitely one of the most experienced and most deserving of the summit to the "Top of the World". I hope we will be friends forever. I hope my children turn out as good a person as Tom!!!

Brian O'Connor - Well this guy is a piece of work. I mean this in the most complimentary way. He was such a great team member, friend to all, father of a seven year old, Weston, and one of the most positive people on the trip. This was his seventh summit (really eight), so it was even more of just Mt. Everest to him. If you can believe it, he had and still has (unless he has attempted a summit since our return) never failed on any peak. So he was our good luck charm. He is so funny, caring, compassionate and his real talent is to "read or listen between the lines". He kept us on track, as we needed due to distractions. He is so focused and a good friend to all. Whenever we would do the "petty complaining thing", Brian was there to put it respective. We needed him, there was no doubt. If there are any single women out there - This is your guy!!! He has a seven year old that he loves more than life itself and this in itself is so honorable. Not to mention his mother is the Federal Supreme Court Justice. Although we were so impressed with his family, which he adores, we were so proud of his strength and committed to our climb. It was an honor again to meet him and spend time on the mountain of my and his dreams together.

Brett Sheppard - I think there must be some special being that was placed on this earth, because I canąt even think of one negative thing to say about Brett. He is so filled with giving of himself and helping others it is incredible. He is one of the healthiest and strongest people I know. His biggest attribute was his non judgmental attitude and his personal inner strength. Unfortunately, Brett got what I call the "Khumbu cough", but in reality was a respiratory infection that was weakening him by the minute. He just kept hanging in there at base camp and finally descended to lower altitude to recuperate. He was so mentally and physically strong and attempted the summit from Camp IV, but realized early on that he hadnąt recuperated enough to make the summit and turned around. We will be incredibly grateful to him, because when we (Tom and myself) were exhausted, he was there to help go from tent to tent and communicate with us for a potential rescue of Hoffman on the mountain. He was committed to making sure we all got down safely… Especially his teammate and dear friend Brian O'Connor.

Chuck Huss - Our Veteran climber and doctor from Iowa that was an encouragement to everyone. Especially all his stories from around the world. Chuck was so devoted to his life and family in Iowa, especially his wife Pam. He always was hiking and exercising to keep in shape for the summit. Every morning you would see his feet in the air and he was walking on his hands. The rest of us could hardly walk on our feet at that altitude. I will never forget the first time we went across the ladders and he was helping me and showing me how to do it safely. My feet were so small that the crampons would barely reach to the next rung. So I just concentrated on just having my front points touching and forgot about the back part of the crampons, well I got stuck in the middle of the ladder. My foot was not going to move, I tried and tried, looking down at bottomless crevasse below. The last thing you want, is to have two people on the ladder at a time, but Chuck and Tom came and rescued me and I will never forget that. Chuck knew so much about the base camp and we really relied on him for all our questions and insecurities of the unknown. He was so helpful and never made us feel like we were rookies. Which we were!! I sure hope we can climb together again. The team was so sad when Chuck and Dan had to leave. We knew they had a date they had to go and the weather was just not cooperating. Everyday when we were at Camp II, waiting watching the wind and getting the weather reports, hoping we would get a break before they had to leave. We really all wanted them to stay. At the same time I was so envious that they were going down to lower oxygen, green, and home. I am sure if you are on some mountain in South America soon, you will run into Chuck. I sure hope I do.

Dan Smith - Well we would have never been able to communicate or have any of the new technology if it wasnąt for Dan. He was so talented with the lap top, emails etc. He was also the most level headed, easy going, low key person on the team. No wonder he is a manager at REI, leader for University trips, and works for the State of Utah in the Wilderness Fire Department. Three jobs!!! We had the most organize base camp and it was all due to Dan. He knew everything and would sacrifice his hiking and other adventure time to make things organized and nice for us at camp. He and Chuck were partners and Dan was the photographer, with about three cameras around his neck at all times. He is such a strong climber, he even got sick, and climbed up the ice fall like it was just an morning workout. As with Chuck above, we didnąt want them to leave. Dan continued to encourage us and tell us to hang in there, even when he was leaving.

Robert Rowley - He was the life of the base camp while he was there. Just coming from Chile, he brought hats for everyone, even the Sherpas, and they all just seemed to fit perfectly for our personalities. He brought his guitar and played for us and as background music which was a welcomed change. Robert had all the climbing experience needed for the Everest, but his heart was in rock climbing, and big walls and warmer weather. He was to be my partner, so when he decided to leave due to the cold and acclimatization problems, I was really bummed. I wanted for him to stay and give it a try, selfishly for me to share the mountain time with him. He knew better and did what was best for him. It was so strange because it was like he could see into the future, about the cold weather, the wind, the climbing leader and team. He just knew what was best for him and he was right. We all missed him around the base camp again understood, but didnąt want him to leave. Iąm sure we will share some other mountain time in the future.

Bob Hoffman - Our expedition and logistics leader!! Bob did so much work behind the scenes to make this trip happen. He not only worked for more than a year to put this trip together, but it was his cumulative time of his previous trips that made our trip a success. His dear friends, the Sherpas, all came to our expedition because of Bob. He has helped so many people over there, and we had the BEST Sherpas on the mountain. Now they have all become our friends, and that is the biggest gift anyone could have given us. I thank Bob for that!! Unfortunately as we all know, Bob is now suffering from frostbite on his toes and fingers. We are hoping and praying for the best for his recovery. He had an epic of a descent and had the strength and determination make it down without a major rescue. Upon their return to Camp IV, Bob came in the tent (we were tent mates) with Apa Sherpa. Apa thanked and praised him so much for continuing to descend to Camp IV, knowing how hard it was for him. Bob does have the biggest heart, but we aren't suppose to let anyone know because it would ruin his reputation. He does have a reputation, as all leaders of all expedition have and will continue to have. Bob wants everything perfect and as we know there is no perfect (or it is perfect as it is). That's why we had such a comfortable base camp and the strong climbing team of climbers and Sherpas. I will be thankful for Bob for the opportunity to have gone on this American Commemorative 2003 Expedition. Bob always said "You will have this experience for the rest of your lives, no one can ever take this away from you". He was right!

-Mimi Vadasz

I was the only woman on the team, and the one who was always mistaken for a trekker, support team, cook, etc anything but a climber. I think is was all my "good luck, old purple down jacket" ! I will continue climbing more mountains, but Everest, "Top of the World" was special. It was the dream that came true, not the goal of the climb. ~ Never lose your dreams!

Bob had a rough trip on Summit day and has suffered frostbite on this feet, which will probably result in lost of toes. To e-mail Bob your best wishes



  Altitude pre-
Backcountry Gear
Bags& Luggage
Boot & Fabric Care

Camp Furniture
Camping Accessories
Car Racks
Child Carriers
Climbing Bags
Cooking Supplies
Cycling Components
Cycling Repair
Dry Bags
Dry Boxes
First Aid
Fishing Accessories
Float Tubes
Fly Boxes
Fly Line
Fly Rods
Fly Tying
Fly Vests & Packs
Gifts & Games
Gloves & Mittens
Hydration Packs
Indoor Climbing Gear
Infant Apparel
Kid's Cycling Gear
Kid's Paddling Gear
Knives & Tools
Leaders & Tippets
Lifejackets/ PFDs
Long Underwear
Messenger & Bike
Mountaineering Gear
Paddles & Oars
Pet Gear
Prints & Posters
Reels & Spools
Rescue Gear
Rock Climbing Gear
Rod & Reel Kits
Rod Tubes & Bags
Shell Outerwear
Showers & Toilets
Skates & Scooters
Ski & Board Repair
Skirts & Dresses
Sleds and Tubes
Sleeping Bags
Travel Accessories

Watches & Clocks
Water Bottles
Water Filtration

Send email to everestnews2004@adelphia.net   •   Copyright© 1998-2003 EverestNews.com
All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, Visitor Agreement, Legal Notes: Read it.