NEWSLETTERS - Everest South 2012

Newsletter 612 April 2012

Medical checks, short walks and climbing practice

On their second day at base camp, some of the members went for a stroll up to the main camp while others did their laundry, enjoyed the White Pod or in the case of the Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) crew, went for a brief ice climbing practice just outside our camp. In between these small activities, the members popped in to see our expedition doctor Monica to undergo a brief medical test to make sure they are adjusting well to the higher elevation of base camp.



The group will spend another two nights at base camp before they will head back down to Lobuje to start their first acclimatisation rotation on Lobuje East. While they will be on the peak, our Lhotse and Nuptse members will embark on their trek towards Everest base camp, which means that our expedition should be complete in about 10 days time. I will also be heading up to the Khumbu to be with the team and provide you with more insight into expedition life, however, in the meantime I would like to introduce our two Johns to you.


John D. Burns Jr

International trader John D. Burns is originally from Portland Oregon but has lived in Shenzhen, China for 25 years. He is married with three children (Ariel 7, Trinity 11 and Shiyu 21). The 48-year-old, who has already climbed Cho Oyo, is on his quest to finish the seven highest mountains on the seven continents and Everest will be his last.

How did you first come across Everest and who inspired you to climb it?
I scaled communication towers as a kid, and everything else I could hang off from - from Oregon beach monoliths to the underbelly of those Portland bridges. When I was two, my father built a fence to keep me in the yard, and I climbed right over it the day it was finished, diaper and all. I grew up skiing and was comfortable in the mountains. Climbing Kilimanjaro had been an aspiration since I was a boy. I do not know why. When I finally went to Africa in 2007 and climbed it, the Seven Summits torch was lit.


What has been your biggest achievement so far?


What is your biggest challenge on this Everest expedition?
The long period of downtime and duration of the climb is tough. You are far removed and the world turns while you are staring at tent walls.


How do you think Everest will change your life?
A life changing epiphany, or even to put my mid-life crisis behind me would be welcome. Though I’ll settle for the personal satisfaction at finishing what I started.


How mentally prepared are you for the possibility of not getting to the top?
Prepared, that’s mountaineering. Just a shot, that’s success! My real goal: a safe return to hug my kids and kiss my wife at the front door.


What will you carry to the top?
A personal item




John Carney

John from Alexandria, Virginia is yet another contender for the Seven Summits on this expedition. The 48-year-old has already climbed Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Denali, Vinson and Carstensz Pyramid and if he reaches the summit of Mount Everest, Elbrus in Europe will be his last. Climbing high mountains does not seem enough for John - he has already completed seven Ironman Triathlons and being on Everest might be his way of training for his eighth, which he is planning to do in November this year. The business owner is married to Leslie, who together with their son Alex, will be trekking to Base Camp. The two have four more children and fate permitting, John could be reaching the summit on their 26th wedding anniversary, which they will celebrate on 24th May 2012.


How did you first come across Everest and who inspired you to climb it?
I grew up with a mother, who would constantly tell me that nothing was impossible if I put my mind and energy toward it. Everest is a continuation of a theme that runs through my life of making the seemingly impossible, possible – for me, and for all those around me.


What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I have a successful business, the opportunity for amazing adventures all around the world, and a rich set of friends. However, my biggest accomplishment so far (with most of the credit going to my wife of course) is to have five amazing children, who are all healthy, well-adjusted and on their way to being great people and making great contributions.


What is your biggest challenge on this Everest expedition?
This will be my first Himalayan climb and my first climb above 26,000 feet. My biggest challenge will certainly be the unknown, and while I feel that I have prepared for the challenges ahead, I am asking myself: was it really enough??


How do you think Everest will change your life?
The climb will reinforce that confidence and momentum, which will lead to many future possibilities, both in the adventure category and in a life journey. With this, I will continue my work to create the capability and opportunity for all of us - no matter our circumstances - to reach our full human potential.


How mentally prepared are you for the possibility of not getting to the top?
I know that getting up is optional, however, getting down with all fingers, toes, and nose is mandatory.


What will you carry to the summit?
I will take the dreams of over 100 schoolchildren from Tanzania and three Tanzanian flags. The reason for this is that after I had climbed Kilimanjaro in 2006, I visited a small school, called Nianjema. Ever since then I have used my climbing to raise awareness and money to support the school. In Tanzania, there are only enough middle schools and high schools for 22 percent of the eligible student population. With my Everest climb I am working to find 100,000 “Nianjema Ambassadors”, who will all donate $10 USD to raise $1 million USD for an endowment fund. This past January, I went back to the school to have the students and teachers tell their stories, which will be released on the website via video throughout our expedition. On this occasion, I asked the students to write down their greatest dream for me to take to the highest place on earth.

When I return, I will travel back to the school with their lofty dreams that had been taken so high and the flags to keep on display – a testament to making the seemingly impossible… possible.


John Carney:

Nianjema Ambassador Campaign: or



Billi Bierling in Kathmandu