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The dream of Everest Base Camp ("EBC ") was discussed over some very good New Zealand pinot gris at Milford Sound in the South Island of New Zealand. Paul Blanchard, Andrew Brown and I had just finished hiking the Milford Track over 3 days with our wives, and we were discussing what to do next. Unbeknown to each other, Paul and I had always wanted to see Mt Everest, and the best way to achieve this we judged was to be there and look up at it, rather than to look down from the summit!

Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander, was the first to the top of Mt Everest in 1953 . As a New Zealander as well, I'd always dreamed of being on the summit one day. With factors such as advancing years, the onset of wisdom and other thoughts of self-preservation, and not to mention damage to knees through years of rugby and running a number of marathons, a trek to EBC was decided as the better alternative.

I turned to a New Zealand operation run by John Gully, called Everest Expeditions. John has been a highly successful trek leader since the late 1980's, and has numerous contacts in Nepal and in the Khumbu Valley, having taken at least two group there each year for the past 20 years.

He was amazed that a group of overseas lawyers who all practiced in the area of IP would want to go away together without eventually causing grievous bodily harm to each other. However, a quick briefing on the wonderful world of IP had him convinced, if not entirely satisfied.

Paul and I then set about forming our group. People we asked were quite straightforward with their answer. It was either "you're f!#$% crazy!", or "I'm in - when are we going?" In fact, only two people pulled out from our original group - one because his wife was due at the time we were going, and the other because of serious stress fractures (not caused through the training). Nobody said "I'm too busy", or "I don't have the time".

Our 12 lawyers on the group came from all over, including New Zealand, Venezuela, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, England, and the Basque region of Spain.

In October, 2003, we all met up in Katmandu, and after a day of buying equipment and relaxing in our hotel, we flew out to the Khumbu Valley for the start of our dream.

The experience was exceptional, and I still have a warm smile on my face every time I think of the scenery, the people, and the friends who came with me. The Sherpa people and the spiritual beauty of the region just takes your breath away. It was a humbling experience in many ways, particularly one occasion when looking up at all the mountains and feeling quite insignificant, knowing they'd be around a lot longer than us mere mortals.

Have a look at the photos on the website to get but a glimpse of the experience. It's not necessary to be a super-fit athlete to savour the experience.

We had all shapes and sizes, a wide range of age groups, and yet everybody realized their dreams and objectives.

by John B Hackett, June 2005, Auckland, NZ

For more stories and pictures, visit the following members' sites/galleries:

Annette Freeman's Gallery
About Everest-Nepal:

Members who attended Everest Base Camp/Nepal:

Karel Bentata
Paul Blanchard
Annette Freeman
John Hackett
David Keltie
Carlos Nogueira
Catherine Nursaw
Ravi Ravindran
Ken Ross
Ikukop Wada
Joh Sissons
Alex Zuazo

Special Thanks to:

Tour Leader:
John Gully

Head Sherpas (Sirdars)
Mingma and Pinzo

Future Treks

Other Past Treks:

Altas Mountains-Marrakech-Essaouira
Morocco, 2011
Silk Road
(Uzbekistan)/Fann Mountains(Tajikistan), 2009
Inca Trail/Machu Picchu
Peru, 2008
Mt. Kilimanjaro
Tanzania, 2007
Cradle Mountain
Tazmania, Austalia, 2006
Canadian Rockies
Argentina/Chile, 2005
Bizkaia (Basque) Region
Spain, 2004
Everest Base Camp
Nepal, 2003
Milford Track
New Zealand, 2001
Quttinirpaaq National Park
Ellesmere Is., 1999

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