Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Harvard Travellers Club...

Harvard travellers club dinner

Menu from the evening and the nifty 'Harvard Travellers Club' notebook too!

I had the fortune to go with my Boston host Anita to the 800th meeting of the Harvard Travellers Group. It was a big dinner group of about 150 visitors and the guest speaker was Conrad Anker. Conrad was the man who discovered George Mallory’s body on Mount Everest (please excuse any details that I may be getting mixed up or wrong here - I’m not an expert on any of these matters!).

His talk and presentation was amazing!!! It was inspiring, funny and very entertaining. He talked about a recent expedition to climb a mountain in India. Amongst some tough times, they fell 100 metres short of the summit! So close yet so far away.

The Boston Harvard Club itself is pretty amazing. I think I have some research to do on the origins of their tapestries that hang in the main hall… really beautiful stuff.

Dinner was pretty special too. My favourite part was the dessert which reminded me of my mum’s ice-cream Christmas puddings (I think there was a good dose of rum in there!) The menu was a re-creation of the menu served at a dinner given to Theodore Roosevelt at the Exchange Blub boston, on December 12, 1911, at which the former President told of his then recent East African safari… bit of a history lesson for us all!

Here's a bit more info on Conrad's talk from my host Anita:

In September of 2008 Conrad Anker and his partners attempted to climb Mount Meru, a 6,310-meter peak in the Garwhal Himalaya of India. Their goal was the Shark’s Fin, a massive high altitude wall that had yet to be climbed despite attempts by many climbers. A week-long storm pinned the team at 5,300 meters. In perhaps the toughest climb of their lives, Conrad and his teammates delved deep into their souls to find the will to continue. The team spent 19 days on the route, including 17 days on the wall, despite having just 10 days of rations with them. Low on endurance and faced with the prospect of negotiating a large granite block that would have meant a night exposed to the elements, they turned back. While they did not make the summit, they cherish the climb for the lessons learned along the way – particularly the role that teamwork and trust plays in surviving difficult times.

Conrad Anker has made a specialty of climbing the most technically challenging terrain he can find. This search has taken him from the mountains of Alaska and Antarctica, to the big walls of Patagonia and Baffin, as well as the massive peaks of the Himalaya. His climbing resume includes first ascents in three regions of Antarctica, all three towers of the Cerro Torre group in Patagonia, including new routes on two of them, and climbs of Latok II and Spansar Peak in Pakistan's Karakorum. Among rock climbers at Yosemite and Zion he is well respected for his numerous speed ascents on El Capitan and difficult new lines that have yet to see second ascents. In addition to all of this, Conrad has reached the summit of Everest on two occasions, the first time as a member of the Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition of 1999. On that occasion Conrad discovered the body of George Mallory, the preeminent Everest explorer of the 1920s.

Conrad is active in numerous charitable causes, including serving on the board of the Conservation Alliance, the Rowell Fund for Tibet and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation."

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