Newsletter 1417 April 2010
Monica Piris Chavarri
Monica Piris is our expedition doctor and this is her third time working on Everest for Himex. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to do an interview with Monica as I only had a couple of days to talk to all the expedition members and guides, and Monica was busy getting the huge medical kit ready for the trip. Not only did she have to prepare the medical kit for Everest base camp, she also had to put together small kits for the trek to base camp, the trips to the high camps and, of course, for summit day.
I met Monica last year and it was a real pleasure to spend time with her at base camp. She is a very accomplished high altitude doctor and she was fantastic at looking after the clients. She made sure everyone was well and healthy and took a lot of time and effort to explain the dangers of high altitude sickness to everyone.
Monica was born in Oxford, UK, to Spanish parents and she is completely bilingual. Her English is so posh you sometimes wonder whether you are actually speaking to the Queen herself!
She spends her summers rock-climbing in the Spanish Pyrenees and her winters skiing and ice-climbing in the US and Chamonix in France. She funds her amazing lifestyle by working as a locum doctor in the UK, where she goes in between her climbing trips. She is a great asset to the team and it is fantastic that Himex has its own doctor. I am very much looking forward to spending some time with Monica at base camp and maybe learn some more about high altitude medicine.
Finally, I would like to write a short introduction about myself. I was born in Bavaria to German parents and spent my childhood skiing, however, climbing or even hiking was never my cup of tea. In 1998, I came to Nepal for the first time and immediately fell in love with the country. After having come here every year to do some trekking and climbing, I finally moved to Kathmandu in 2004. I have live here ever since, and during the expedition season I work for the Himalayan chronicler, Miss Elizabeth Hawley. This work entails racing around Kathmandu on my bike, trying to track down expeditions in order to interview them. I also work as a freelance journalist, editor, expedition leader and translator. I have just finished a six-months posting with the United Nations in Islamabad, Pakistan but I am very happy to be back in the madness of Kathmandu.
Last year, I climbed Everest with Himex, which I thoroughly enjoyed – in fact, I enjoyed it so much that I approached Russell last autumn offering him my services as a writer for his website. I was very happy when he accepted and I am very much looking forward to going back to base camp and providing you with interesting stories from the life there. I will try and make this Newsletter as interesting as possible as there are dozens of stories to tell – especially the ones behind the scene.