French Pastries

Happy Back to School to All,

Sorry this update is late, I actually took a vacation. I think it is first period of time in several years I labeled as “vacation.” I spoke at a high school in Grand Bank and then headed over to the French island of St. Pierre to eat French bread and pastries (as well as rest and hike). After a few days of carbohydrate loading, I spent some time exploring the Burin Peninsula by kayak. I loved being out on the salt water once again and even managed to flip my boat while playing in a rock garden. The good news was that my new dry suit works very well and other than a bruised ego, all was okay ☺.

I leave for Pumori in three short weeks. I received the expedition list from Tim Rippel (the expedition leader) and the team covers four continents. There are 15 climbers on two teams hailing from Canada, US, United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand, and Jordan. We’re joined by two guides (Tim Rippel from Canada and Hugo Searle from the US/Wales) and ten Sherpa climbers/staff from Nepal. Having more trip details makes it all seem much more real and exciting. I tried out my new base camp tent on the Burin and I think it will make a fine mountain home.

I have two more weeks of hard training and will then taper off for the two weeks before the climb begins. Much of the next while will be spent packing, repacking, making what gets to go and what stays behind decisions. I have a few presentations and other projects to keep me busy and out of trouble.

The countdown to “Pink Outside the Box” is on! Rumour has it that a pair of pink wings has been found as well as a pair of pink pumps. If you plan on getting me a pink item to wear for next week, please drop me an email so I can make an arrangement to pick it up and get it into the queue for wearing! For each contribution of $20 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Atlantic, you can have me wear any item of pink clothing or accessory. I will go about my regular week wearing the various items and am somewhat nervous (okay, terrified) of what my wardrobe for next week will entail.

I got an update from Paula Tessier and we’re almost 10 percent of the way towards our fundraising goal of one dollar per metre of Pumori. I’m hoping “Pink Outside the Box,” gets us much further up the mountain. Remember that I’ve promised to dye my hair pink if we reach the halfway mark of the fundraising goal by the end of next week.

Speaking of climbing the mountain, Tim sent out a picture of Pumori with the route highlighted on it. It’s an amazing ridge-based route that promises some great views of Everest and the whole Khumbu valley. Check out the red line on the photo. We’ll place an Advanced Base Camp and then two camps on the mountain before the summit attempt. I will be clogging from the mountain so you’ll be able to follow along every step of the way on my website.

Time to head out to step class and drop lots of salt water on the floor. Thanks for your support and do find me some pink to wear!

With gratitude,


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1 Response to French Pastries

  1. nepalwriter says:

    You’re trip will have even greater meaning if you know more about the Sherpas of the area. They are the true heroes of Everest. Without their assistance, very few would reach the summit. To learn more about this amazing tribe, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view.Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to http://www.beyondthesummit-novel.comBeyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewerConflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.Richard Blake for Readers Views.A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest. EverestNews.comA hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book ReviewLeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily CameraLeBlanc’s vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the WeekA rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there. USABookNews.comThis is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.”– John (college professor)Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialog. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CAThis superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novelsSuch vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina) Available through Barnes and Noble, Borders,,, and the web site

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