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Taking a Break - Dramatis Personae

2 min read · tagged nepal, ama dablam 2016, taking a break series, expedition

Before I tell you of my expedition to Nepal, let me introduce the cast of characters for this tale of ambition, hubris, persistence, introspection, and growth:

Grace McDonald

Badass Canadian climber with quite a few 8000m peaks under her belt, including Everest and Lhotse. Joined forces with me on Ama Dablam, since we both went without sherpa support.


Arnold Coster

Dutch climbing guide married to Maya Sherpa, the most accomplished female Nepali climber. Runs his own guiding company with logistics through Seven Summits, a local Nepali company. Made this trip super easy logistically for me. With multiple summits of Everest and other 8000m peaks, he also qualifies as a badass.


Richie Maybank

British Everest summiter who works private security in some of the most dangerous places on Earth. Badass.

I met all three in 2012 on my first trip to Nepal and knew that I'd have fun spending extended time in the mess tent with them (not a common or easily inferred quality). Their plan was to acclimatize on Ama Dablam with the commercial expedition in order to attempt Cholatse (6440m) as a personal climb afterwards.

Patrick Chu

Guide for Alpine Ascents in the summer and ski patroller in the winter, Patrick has life figured out. Moving at a similar pace and climbing unsupported, Patrick, Grace, and I became an informal team, even sharing a tent on summit day.



Belgian software engineer for Pringles on his first Himalayan expedition.


Belgian. Also works at Pringles and is on his first expedition.


Belgian climbing gear shop owner and experienced Himalayan climber.


The quiet Belgian.


Eight of us were under Arnold's banner this expedition. Other climbers had come with Seven Summits, but we didn't interact as much with them.


Chinese ultra-runner with little Himalayan or climbing experience.


Chinese Everest summiter and guide for Yadi.

To be continued...

Avatar of Sean McLaneSean McLane is an amateur climber and coder based in Salt Lake City.