Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Kathmandu Legend

I had the pleasure to meet one of the great Everest Kathmandu legends today. Jim and I were sitting in his room talking when he received a phone call that Miss Elizabeth Hawley was downstairs wanting to speak to him. Miss Hawley's worked for Reuters as a reporter and started chronicling Himalayan climbs, especially Everest climbs, in the early 60s. She was a very close personal friend of Sir Edmund Hillary, and many legendary climbers. Every Everest summiter must meet with her and be questioned about their climb before it will verified in the record books. She's now 91 years old and still gets around Kathmandu in her 1962 light blue VW bug - although, today she has a driver.

We both immediately went down to greet her. Her first comment to Jim was "that sure is one mountain you've got." She proceeded to ask Jim about our expeditions and even had a few questions for me.  I've known about her for years. The last time I was in Kathmandu I saw her business card sitting on a coffee table in my hotel lobby and I had wished I had taken it for a keepsake. It was much better to actually meet her in person.

I was impressed with her attention to details and her intense stare when she asked a question. She listened very closely to what you were saying and usually had a follow up question or comment to add. She and Jim have known each other for decades and you could tell she had genuine affection for him. Given all that has happened on this trip, it was a nice way to cap the trip off before leaving today.

Barbara and I are now in Delhi, India waiting for our 2:35 am flight to London. We're both looking forward to being home soon.

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