I live in Palo Alto, California, having spent 40 years working for Silicon Valley tech companies. I currently spend time on a couple of nonprofit boards, do pro-bono consulting, and enjoy volunteer work in Yosemite National Park. I have been an avid climber, backpacker, and now trekker for more than 50 years. Since my first trip to Tuolumne Meadows in 1958, where I climbed Lembert Dome for my inaugural ascent, I have done dozens of ascents in the Sierra Nevada, Tetons, and Cascade Mountains, plus a couple of European summits. One of my most recent highlights was taking my three-year-old grandson up Lembert Dome—he did it all by himself, to notch his first ascent.
Why I Started Working with an Adventure Travel Company
I started using an adventure company to organize and lead trips as it became increasingly difficult and time consuming to do it myself, especially in the developing world where my interests were taking me. My first trip to Nepal was to the Khumbu, where we climbed two trekking peaks (Island Peak and Pokhalde). It was a super introduction to the value add that a company can provide. All I had to worry about was personal fitness and equipment. The rest was taken care of.
I am looking for great execution on reasonably challenging trips into the world's mountainous regions. I have also looked to GeoEx to offer unique destinations or to pioneer routes. For example, GeoEx was one of the first to offer the Kilimanjaro trip through the Western Breach which, at the time, was little used. The trip to the K-2 base camp is not frequently offered by any company, because it is so remote and logistically challenging; but GeoEx pulled it off.
In addition to organizing the trip logistics, GeoEx leaders really add value. Sometimes, it is their local knowledge and language skills that provide cultural and historic insights. Others have brought their significant guiding experience that ensures a level of comfort when you are far from the trailhead. You know that should things go wrong, they've been there before and know how to handle the situation.
My Recent Trip in Bhutan
My recent trip to Bhutan is a good example of how GeoEx shines. Our guide provided excellent local insight into the cultural and historic sites we visited in the front country, and was also able to organize two visits to yak herder families while we were in the backcountry. One evening we danced and sang late into the evening high above the timberline. We also had an interesting discussion about the positive impact technology, especially cellular, was having on their lives. We even got a chance to try our hand at Bhutan's national sport, archery, under the watchful eye of Chomolhari. It took a while, but I finally hit the target even though I had the advantage of the thinner air at 13,000 feet. It is these kinds of experiences that don't make it into the brochure, but make for lasting memories and testify to the value of GeoEx.