Sep 19, 2012

The People You Meet: The Alpenglow Expeditions Makalu 2012 Team

Expeditions would make a fine social psychology experiment – You take a group of people from different nationalities and backgrounds who don’t know each other and you put them together under challenging conditions for 1 – 2 months and get them to work together. They will all have their own personal objectives but must work together to reach one common objective – to summit and descent safely both as individuals and as a team. And then, of course, even more importantly, they must bond as a team and be ready to celebrate in the after party!  For a leader or guide ,this presents a tremendous challenge. Similarly for the individuals on the team, it can be a daunting prospect. If you all get along – fantastic – if not, then you must learn to compromise and work together regardless. 

So, when I received the initial email from Adrian Ballinger, the guide for the expedition, which ‘introduced’ the team, it really made the expedition feel ‘real’. This was actually happening! Having said that, it did feel like the start of a joke…. 

“SO, there’s a Latvian, an American, a Russian and a Canadian and they all decide to go to Makalu… they have two American guides and one Spanish doctor…..”

In all seriousness, in spite of the fact that our team sounds like a make-shift United Nations, I couldn’t ask for a better group. We met as a team for the first time in Kathmandu over a fantastic dinner where we gelled immediately, sharing stories, experiences,  and a love for the mountains. In spite of the fact that we all come from different backgrounds, I’m confident that we will get on brilliantly and will make a fine strong team for this exciting ascent of Makalu.

Team members are:
Heather Geluk - Canada
Corbin Olsen - USA
Voldemars Spruzs - Latvia
Sergey Baranov - Russia (attempting ski)

Adrian Ballinger - UK - team leader and ski guide with Sergey Baranov
Chad Peele - USA - climbing guide with main group

Monica Piris - Spain

Sirdar: ('head honcho sherpa')
Dorji Sonam Sherpa

Climbing Sherpa: ('legendary climbing sherpa)
Dan Nuru Sherpa
Nima Tsering Sherpa
Palden Namgyal Sherpa
Pasang Rinzing Sherpa

Cook (Haute Cuisine par excellence)
Tashi Ram Basnet


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