The following dispatch will wrap up this expedition. It will sum up our departure from Base Camp to my return home.We departed Ama Dablam BC on November 26. We hiked for 7 hours to Namche Bazar. It was a beautiful hike and I enjoyed it much more that I did on the way in when I was so sick and feeling the effects of the altitude. We stayed in the Tawa Lodge and had a great meal and a comfortable sleep. The next day we hiked to Lukla which took about 6.5 hours and was also a beautiful hike. We walked through a huge gorge following a river for much of the day. We crossed several suspension bridges high above the river. The tourist traffic has diminished greatly since we came in. The tourist season is now almost over the Sherpa people are preparing for the winter.
On November 28 we flew back to Katmandu. We were ready to go by 8am, there was bad weather in Kathmandu so no planes were flying. Around 11:00 we went to the airport, passed security and began the wait for our plane. Suddenly planes started arriving. So did the clouds. Every time we heard a plan we would look to see if it was ours. Eventually at around 1:00 our plane arrived. It was the last plane of the day.Kathmandu was hot and smoggy upon our arrival. We were met at the airport by Nima (our logistics Guru) and boarded his van for the ride into town. After the tranquil atmosphere of the mountains the sudden hustle and bustle of Kathmandu was too much for Angus and I to handle. We both started to get car sick and had to stop talking, open the window and stare out the front window to calm our senses and our stomach down. The next day was spent tying up loose ends and gift shopping. Shopping is a challenge as the shop keepers are poised to pounce upon you as soon as you show the slightest bit of interest. Often this just drove us away. I did however manage to buy a number of gifts and souvenirs. I am back in Canada now. I flew stand-by from Kathmandu on November 30. I went to the airport for 10:30am and the flight was scheduled for 2:00pm. I thought that would give me plenty of time. It turned out I was number 10 on the stand by list. This made me a little nervous, but I was lucky and made it onto the flight. The flight to Bangkok was uneventful and I was looking forward to getting home a few days early. However, when I arrived in Bangkok I learned that my flight to New York had been cancelled until 8:00am the following day. The airline said they would take all the New York passengers to a hotel for the night, but that this would not happen until 10:30pm. Finally at 11:00pm we boarded a bus for what I thought would be a short ride to the hotel. Wrong. 1.5 hours later we pulled into a very nice hotel. I guess the 500 or so hotels we passed along the way were all full. They provided us with a nice meal and I was able to get 3 hours sleep before they put us back on the bus for the return trip to the airport. Eventually I was on the plane for my 17 hour flight to New York. Each seat was equipped with a personal TV and the ability to select from a wide range of movies and TV shows. I watched about 15 hours of TV and arrived in New York tired, but excited to be almost home. As I had missed my connecting flight the airline had booked me on a flight later in the day. When I approached the ticket counter and presented my flight voucher I was told that there was no record of my reservation and that it had never been booked. I called the airline to get it sorted out, but their office was closed for the day. I tried to use my missed flight ticket and was told I would have to pay a $200 penalty. Eventually I determined that it was easier and cheaper to buy a one-way flight to replace my missed flight. $180.00 later I was good to go. I eventually made it home after two long days of travel. Everyone was asleep (it was 12am) and I was locked out. I woke up Susan and was finally home. I am about 90% recovered now and feeling pretty good. It is amazing to be able to drink water out of the tap, eat whatever food I want, and to sleep in a warm bed. I want to thank everyone who followed along. Sorry for the big gaps along the way. I know I lost some of you during this time. I have learned a lot from this trip and can now use the technology without hesitation. The next trip will have a much more consistent dispatch schedule. Speaking of the next trip, it is already in the works. It seems I am a glutton for punishment as Angus and I have decided to attempt Everest this coming spring. We will be joined by Alan Arnette (you can find some of his writing on this site and learn more about him on his web site www.alanarnette.com. His web site is one of the best sources of Himalayan information on the net) and will climb via the North Ridge from Tibet. We will be climbing alongside the Chinese Olympic Torch team who will attempt to take the torch to the summit of Everest on the way to Beijing. I have been training and sorting gear since I got home. This will be a big trip and I will be gone for just over 2 months. I am extremely lucky to have such a supportive family. Otherwise a trip like this would be impossible. Climbing for the last 20+ years has led me to this place. I know there is no guarantee of success on Everest and statistically the odds are against me, but it has always been a dream of mine to try and I feel privileged to have the opportunity. Sometime over the next few months I will start a new page here on MyEverest for the Everest climb. Until then, dream big and make your dreams come true. All the best, Scott.