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My Partners in Climb

October 6, 2012

I’ve told you all about them, but I haven’t yet really told you about them. So here goes.

Fiona likes to laugh a lot. She is always smiling about something and if there isn’t something funny happening, she’ll bring up something funny from earlier in the day and laugh at that. She is an inspiration in so many ways. She’s had a number of careers and complete turns in the road. She recently began guiding wilderness tours in Africa because she “couldn’t think of any reason not to.” She was also the cougar of our clan – always quick to point out the hot, young Nepalis – and our best beer drinker.

Anna exudes joy. She is happy and in love and you feel it when you’re around her. She is in the process of planning her wedding and one of the more surreal conversations I’ve had in my life was about canapés while we were struggling around a boulder. She loves pink and cute and is full of life and energy. You can’t not smile around her.

Adam also makes you smile constantly. Or, more accurately, laugh. Is is always quick with a quip or joke, often at his own expense, and would  always jump in with a little levity during our tough moments. He is responsible for my absolute funniest moment on the trek (and it wasn’t when his pants split in public.) It will be a very long time before I can hear the word cockpit without giggling furiously.

Alyson is soft-spoken and kind. She is quick to lend what she has – her flashlight illuminated my way the entire 17 days and she filled everyone’s water with powdered flavoring (except mine, but that’s only because I have issues). She remembers everything. An off-hand comment early in the trip would lead to a full conversation later on, when something reminded her of it. She is goodness and love.

Gary was our team captain in many ways. A postman in the UK, he is considering joining the army reserves and has all the leadership skills that would make him a natural success. He rallied Nepali children where ever we went with games and gifts and was quick to jump into any activity even when we begged him not to (his dancing rhythm leaves a lot to be desired).

Strong, silent Martin was quite quiet at first, but his still waters hid great depth. He was always the first to reach out a hand to help and pulled more that one of us out of the Seti River or over boulder.  He dismantled our lamps in Bandipur after Emma and I tried unsuccessfully to find a way to turn them off for about 15 minutes and then only gave us an amused smile when we admitted we’d easily found the switches in the morning light. He’s quietly deadly at Uno and was the leeches favorite among us. Martin also gets bonus points for being a twin!

Jamal was the youngest of our group, and was our energizer bunny. He ran up and down the mountain, never slowing. He never stopped moving and he never stopped talking, mostly about his passions – American politics, the Middle East, and football (which is soccer to my compatriots, but I was not allowed to call it that on the trip). Jamal was also quick to help and support. We always knew we were getting close to our destinations on Team Pauly Pauly when we could hear Jamal in the distance. It was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard (sorry BSO-ers).

And finally, Emma. I know I’ve talked a lot about her, but I shall go on a bit more. 20 years younger than me, Emma took care of me the entire trip – sharing packing tips, lending me everything from shampoo to garbage bags, and talking me through the tough times. She also wouldn’t let me get away with anything. She mocked my story telling, my iPad movie and music collection, and my ineptitude with my camera. She was also horrified with my beer pouring technique.  A perfect trek sister.

I already miss them all so much. I repeat, how did I get so lucky that I was able to share this amazing experience with these amazing people?

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