Friday, April 25, 2014

A final thought or two as we prepare to come home

At Lukla airport after flying down from Everest Base Camp.
Left: Jon Reiter of Kenwood, California
 Right: Marcus Bridle of Melbourne, Australia
Marcus and I are headed home. This trip may not have seen us on top of Everest but it has provided more life experience than I had ever expected or bargained for. What a trip!

After getting back to Kathmandu and seeing all the press, I can't help but to step back from it and think "I just wanted to come climb a mountain". But as we all now know, Marcus' and my climb has instead become a pawn in a much bigger story.

The loss of 16 Sherpa's lives, watching their bodies be brought down one by one and the near miss for Marcus and myself, has together somehow changed mountaineering's position on my list of life's priorities.
I've enjoyed a great decade of climbing the world's highest peaks and I've certainly enjoyed sharing these times with all of you back home. However, I think it's time for this chapter of my life to come to an end. It's nice that I have this option, the choice to decide to end this chapter and move on to the next life experience; to spend the next 6 years participating in my boy's life on a day to day basis before he leaves for college; for 16 men on Everest they'll never get that choice.

We've all heard about these life illuminating events and we've all surely experienced something that has set us back on our heels and made us re-evaluate what means what; this expedition has done just that for me. I feel so lucky to be headed home; to get to be there for my boy as he grows; another shot at living a full life (I may have used up all of my "get out of jail free" cards at this point :-) and a chance to appreciate all my friends and family once again..

I'd also like to say thank you to all of you who have taken the time to send thoughtful and appreciated notes offering support for the disappointment that Marcus and I must feel. We have read each and every one of them and they've meant more to us than you know. It's true that missing the summit of Everest is a great disappointment but what we have witnessed and been a part of has impacted us much more than the summit ever could.

Life is a great and unpredictable journey. We each make of it whatever we choose. I think that if we want to focus on the worst, on the negative, surely that's exactly what we'll find and what life will deliver. If we decide to do the best we can, to try to see the best in others and to remember that we only have so many days on this planet to practice this... We'll each do ok.

Thank you all for participating in this adventure with Marcus and me. With each passing year and adventure, it seems to become clearer and clearer to me how simple life really is. As someone once said, we just need to watch our words around others and our thoughts when we're alone... Life is simply a reflection of the thoughts we choose to think..

Today I choose to think about all the wonderful friends as family that share my life. I'm a lucky guy...

Enjoy your journey! JR

Below is a link to the NY Times article that so many people have responded to.  The best part is at the end.


  1. Great words here Jon. All the best to your tent mate Marcus. Glad your on your way home.

  2. Amen Brother! See ya next week: )

  3. Yep!! It's the journey, not the destination! You rock for being there in there in the first place. Take care & safe travels back. Dave

  4. Thank you for letting us share this journey. You are a thoughtful, articulate man with much left to give. Safe journey home

  5. Everest & Nepal, are very special places on this Earth. ( I would love to visit myself one day). However the moments with our close family are by far the most precious of all. I lost my father to a drunk driver when I was 15, his spirit lives with me every day.
    No matter where your brother's ashes are on this planet, his spirit will live with you forever.
    God's Speed JR, looking forward to working with you again this season!

  6. Thanks for the great blog -- you had many of us hanging on your words and rooting for you. A good story, a great experience, even without the peak of the mountain. Glad you are coming home safe

  7. Jon you are a wise man, thank you for sharing with a fellow hiker.

  8. Well said Jon! Thank Goodness you are safe! Hope we see you soon! Janet and Angel

  9. Jon, I think you gained so much more from this trip than if you had conquered that mountain. It's a good thing you have the insight to appreciate that. Here's to the rest of life's journeys and may we appreciate them all. Safe travels home. -Toni and Chuck

  10. Amazing Jon! So well said! I'm so very proud of you and truly feel honored to have you in my life. I know that having you in my life has made me a better person. I look forward to seeing you and giving you a big hug and enjoying the rest of our time together! See you soon bro!

  11. Hi Jon, Having read many interviews, blogs and posts from climbers and survivors to commentators and pundits.....your perspective on the Everest tragedy stood out as one that was honest, insightful, and based on compassion for others and a simple acceptance of what is. The summit of Everest is meaningless, but symbolizes real achievement to those who lead with their ego. I summited in 01' and the entire 10 week trip was wonderfully sublime, with or without a summit.....of course you already know that. Continued blessings to you and your family. Cheers, Rick