You never know who you’re going to run into in the lobby of the Hotel Yak & Yeti. The former royal palace, with its scarlet lobby chairs, baby grand piano, and bar that serves a cold Tuburg beer, is the last gasp of Kathmandu comfort for climbers and trekkers on their way to the Khumbu. It’s the kind of place you might see Elizabeth Hawley interviewing Conrad Anker. Or David Breashears having dinner with Wongchu Sherpa, his head sirdar back in the mid-90s when Breashears was filming theEverest Imax movie.
So it was not too surprising when our microbus, jammed with 22 bright blue duffelsand ten trekkers, pulled into the hotel’s circular reception area after a 20-hour flight from the States, practically ran into this massive banner: “Hearty welcome to the Dick Bass Everest Base Camp Trek Group Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Dick Bass’s Ascent of Mount Everest April 30, 1985.”
Considering that Bass will soon turn 81 years old, I wasn’t sure if the Man himself would actually be commemorating his own climb. But having just read Seven Summits, the book by Bass, Frank Wells, and Rick Ridgeway that chronicles the owner of Snowbird Resort’s successful attempt to be the first man to climb the seven highest mountains in the world, I started to stalk Bass as if he were a rock star.