Partial Payback Of An Everest Debt

By Keith Cowing
August 3, 2009
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Partial Payback Of An Everest Debt

I have spent a lot of time with computers and cameras in comms tents in cold miserable places – three times on Devon Island and more recently at Everest Base Camp. Usually, you establish a professional working relationship with the folks you’ll be working with in close proximity. Some times you make friends in the process. I have to say that the process was near instantaneous this year at Everest. 

Within moments of walking into the Comms then at IMG Base Camp the folks with Tigress Productions dragged me into their family. I was at Everest, in part, as a blogger/web media guy for Discovery Channel while also covering Scott Parazynski’s Everest bid. The Tigress team was shooting the latest of their “Everest to the Limit” series for Discovery Channel with Scott as one of the featured climbers.  They are a mix of Brits with an Aussie and a Scott thrown in for good (?) measure. Not being a shrinking violet when it comes to joking around I seem to have fit in perfectly with this lot.

One afternoon IMG‘s Eric Simonson came to get me in the Comms tent. Most of the Tigress team was either at another base camp or up on Everest. Matt Green and Jamie Berry were calling me on the radio.  I think they were at Camp II at that point. They had a problem storing all of the audio that they were recording and needed some help in getting additional storage sent up.  After checking a few specs out I came up with two solutions. One was to send Scott’s Macbook up such that they could drag the file (very large) onto his hard drive. The other was to send a 32 GB CF card I had to put in their electronics to store the files.

As was usually the case with Matt, Jamie and others at Tigress there was a lot of teasing woven into this conversation. Nothing was ever simple – not even a routine request. After I agreed to help them out I cautioned them that they both “owed me a beer”.  They resisted that suggestion with Matt stating in a Monty Python sort of way that I could “only handle a Shandy”.  So, I agreed to their counter offer (reluctantly). 

Scott and I departed Everest Base Camp before the Tigress folks were done working – so they held onto my CF card. They eventually sent it to me from the UK. But I still demanded my shandies for services rendered. That was a few weeks ago.

Well, today a box arrived from the UK. The customs sticker said “beverage”. Inside was a single can of Fentimans “full-bodied Shandy” that is “traditionally brewed” with “more beer – less fizz”.  Alas, I specifically requested a beverage from both Jamie and Matt.  So I guess I will simply have to go over there and hunt them down for the other can.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.