Hong Kong and the trip ahead

Hong Kong and the trip ahead

Editor's note: For eight years, Telluride local/mountaineer Ben Clark and a few friends/professional colleagues have made Spring treks to the majestic Himalayas. Follow his adventures on Telluride Inside… and Out, including links to his regular podcasts. If you have missed any of Ben's posts, just type "Ben Clark" into Lijit Search to find them all.

When I broke my ankle on May 1 last spring, I was at 17,600’ on 23,390' Baruntse, also known as my own personal Moby Dick for reasons you can research at www.skithehimalayas.com. Unlike Ahab, I was rescued by a vessel rather than doomed to one. Lifted into the skies, wrapped in bandages, worked over through weeks of PT and now here I am again today, returning to wrestle with ambition and not the ankle. Hopefully stronger, admittedly risk averse and yet still with an appetite for the unknown. The whale is gone though, off my range for a spell. 

It’s a funny thing this trip to Nepal. In the midst of sat phone calls to Global Rescue and to all of those I cared about in the days after the break last May, it was the rally cries of those who knew how important climbing and skiing in Nepal was to me that were heard the most. My friends and backcountry partners. Their words melded me to a new goal, that’s right, a new goal. “Fun” is the “new” badass for me; attainable is also a word I like. Baruntse will lay on the shelf until Spring 2012. Today, we are sleeping like dirtbags on seats on the Hong Kong airport, tonight our crooked spines will rest easy knowing we have arrived in Nepal for great skiing in the province of Mustang. I'm beaming through bloodshot eyes and a half-grin mired by sleep deprivation.
“It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun” I’ve heard, but today, it has to be fun to get my friends out. It also has to be safe, really safe. I want to live a long life and one that is enriched by my relationships with not only my beautiful loving wife, but also the righteous experiences I’ve had with my boys in Telluride. Oh yeah…it also includes multiple trips a year to ski Nepal…hmmmm, thankfully I have 14 years of climbing experience to let me tiptoe that balance.  
So she (my beautiful loving wife) told me to go, and I am with the mightiest of friends in search of an attainable conquest. We hope to vanquish a misty summit hidden in a remote province and then ski down. The five of us. There really isn’t much more to that that words can express without gushing at how extremely grateful I am to have such supportive and wonderful partners at home that will join me at large. Well, I could say that Jon Miller has returned and that you will get to know these three additional folks as we write our way through this experience and blast it into your inbox with some photos to inspire.
Join us as we trek to the province of Mustang and climb and ski a 6,000-meter peak named Saribung.  This expedition promises to be unique. It’s actually the type of dream trip that I would have followed up Baruntse with had I summited this spring. Funny how that works; as a hopelessly committed explorer, it seems that the mountains will always call me back. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose but this: my fifth ski expedition to Nepal since 2007 will truly be the one I cherish most. Read the dispatches, feel free to e-mail us and stay tuned to learn why.
Live the Dream, 

Ben Clark

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