Adventure in Climbing in Nepal

Our speaker today was Richard Durant, both an electrical engineer and an attorney who represents Southern California Edison as his career. Richard focused on some serious training in preparation for this trek. He hiked the Mt. Wilson Trail everyday at 4:30 a.m. for three months with a backpack and accomplished the routine in four hours, up and back. Six years ago Richard climbed Mt. Rainier, at an elevation of 14, 441 feet, and Mt. Adams, at an elevation of 12,280 ft (known as a Stratovolcano, potentially active). Both are located in the state of Washington. He presented a fascinating adventure of trekking in Nepal. His group flew from Katmandu to a tiny airstrip in Lukla eastern Nepal, aka, Tenzing-Hillary Airport and landed on a 1729ft long runway. It is considered the most dangerous airport in the world due to, not only the length of the runway, but there is a 9,000 foot cliff at the end with a straight drop off. It can get fogged-in at the drop of a hat so that even helicopters can’t see it.

The elevation at Lukla Airport is 9,334ft. The official name is the Tenzing-Hillary Airport after a Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary, the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest. It is the place where most people start their climb to Mt. Everest Base Camp. On this trip the group experienced beautiful weather and so after an initial gear-up and planning meeting they began to trek. Your trekking starts after breakfast at mountain lodge. You cross a long suspension bridge over the Dhudh Koshi River, which is originated from Khumbu glacier. From there the trail moves to a steep staircase through the pine forest. After about a half hour of steep walking you will see Mt Everest (8848m/29029ft). The trail ascends until you reach Namche Bazaar through the alpine forest. The Namche Bazaar is the getaway of the Everest Base Camp trekking. The stay is typically two nights to acclimatize. This small town has a few shops, tea houses, even a small Internet Café.

Yak’s are used to help carry much of the heavy supplies but you have to make sure you stay out of the narrow paths that they use, they are a pretty wide animal and have been known to push trekkers off the trail. In addition Sherpas usually accompany those who trek as guides and are known for their mountaineering expertise. There are many hazards along the way so one must be very careful where to step and how to step. Rocks, ice, and even an occasional crevasse all had to be recognized along the way.   There are only two ways to cross a crevasse, one being to jump over it or if it is too wide, build a ladder, with ropes for handrails, it is also good to have some type of webbing on the ladder as well. Richard’s group included two physicians and one paramedic by chance, but at least it was comforting to know they were available in an emergency.

On their final descent the group left at 2:00 a.m. to ensure they could make it in one full day. They arrived at 3:00 p.m. to find the entire area socked in with dense fog. Waiting for the fog to lift meant no flights in or out of Lukla so they began walking out until a helicopter could come to rescue the group at lower elevation. Trekking through ice fields, snow, rocks with dangerous twists and turns and back again is a great accomplishment. Richard and his group now have this amazing memory to share and we at Arcadia Rotary thank him for sharing his experience.

(Pat Dolphin)

ANNOUNCEMENTS for Jan.26, 2018

  1.   Larry Callahan announced that sign ups are being taken for members and their guests who plan to attend the 4-Way Speech Contest and the Stover Music Contest to be held on Friday 02/09/2018 at Arcadia High School.  A buffet dinner will be served at 6:00 P.M. in the  Cafeteria and the program will be held in the Multi Purpose Room.   This is an annual club project and members and guests are encouraged to attend and show the club’s support for each participant. (DARK at noon, Embassy Suites).
  2. Rotary Question of the week:                                                                                            Paul Harris Foundation Recognition – be prepared to recall               who proposed it, when and any other salient details.
  3.   Fine Master: With the sad news that our beloved fine master, Brad Miller is in the hospital recovering from a stroke, we need a volunteer(s) to take over.                                                                                                        Looking forward to your healthy return, Dr. Miller!!

Mt. Lowe Brewery

Programs Report
January 19, 2018

Mike Reiling and his business partner loved drinking and brewing craft beer and figured the only way their wives would let them drink beer in the afternoon would be if they opened their own brewery—and so Mt. Lowe Brewery was created. There probably is a lot more to that story, but Mike jokingly shared this with us as our featured speaker at our January 19th meeting.

When the two friends set out to open their brewery, they wanted to have a name that was from local history. They considered several names such as Arroyo Seco, but decided on Mt. Lowe which has quite a colorful history. Back in the late 1800’s the Mt. Lowe Railway went from Lake Avenue in Pasadena to the crest of the San Gabriel Mountains. At Mt. Lowe there were two structures called Alpine Tavern and Echo Mountain House. There also was a zoo! Fires and natural disasters such as a flood destroyed the buildings and railway but pictures from it’s hey day depicts quite a remarkable location.

Mt. Lowe Brewery is Arcadia’s first Microbrewery which offers 20 beers on tap after just one year in business. Many of their beers are named after Mt. Lowe’s historical features such as “Alpine Lager”, “Inspiration Point” and “Red Line Barley Line.” They are served in over 15 restaurants including BJ’s and Wood Ranch in Arcadia. They just obtained a canning line machinery and will be distributing their beers at the local Grocery Outlet and other stores. While they do not serve food at their family and pet friendly location, they have different food trucks come to the brewery offering customers a wide variety of food choices.

Mike also explained how beer is made from taking the malt grain thru filtering, boiling, fermentation and everything in between until you have the finished product. We learned that an IPA takes about two weeks to make, while a lager takes about 3 week and that yeast is the magic ingredient to all beers. Craft beers make up about $22 billion of the $106 billion overall beer market. We are quite lucky to have our very own microbrewery in Arcadia.

The Economy and Investing Today and the Near Future

The January 12 program was presented by past president Bob Novell and Bob Hoffman.

Bob Novell began by challenging Rotarians to think of the changes that will occur in our nation and economy in the next 20 years. Some mega trends including: a low birth rate in the US, immigration challenges, income disparity between the rich (income growing) and the less rich (income declining) and how employment is being impacted by the efficiency of robots and increasing computer technology.

The overall economy is also influenced by aging Baby Boomers going into retirement, challenges with health care, not only with the elderly but with uninsured.  The economy is full speed ahead now, however, worries of another recession and for inflation persist. The Federal Open Market Committee has been raising short term rates and promises to continue to raise rates in 2018.

Will we have another recession like 2007?  Bob thinks not, however, he thinks there will be some pull backs in the market perhaps 10 to 20%.  Other concerns are promises state and local governments have made to retirees that increase pressure on future workers to pay for the retirements, the $20 Trillion National deficit and Student Loan debt. With regard to Student Loan debt, concern is both for the borrowers and the lenders (will some of that debt be forgiven).

Bob Hoffman talked about the importance of diversification in our investing, while we can’t predict exactly what area of our investments will perform best, having diversification in our portfolio assures us that when one area is negatively impacted other areas pick up the difference.

Bob also reviewed Bitcoin a newer digital currency or Cryptocurrency. Bitcoin balances are kept on a public ledger in the cloud. Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity.

Bob concluded by answering questions about alternative investments, the impact of the legalization of Marijuana and other non traditional investments. Overall it was a very informative program by our two Rotarians. Many thanks to you both.

Announcements for 01/12/2018 by Pat Barnes.

  1.  Larry Callahan announced that sign ups are being taken for members and their guests who plan to attend the 4-Way Speech Contest and the Stover Music Contest to be held on Friday 02/09/2018 at Arcadia High School.  A buffet dinner will be served at 6:00 P.M. in the  Cafeteria and the program will be held in the Multi Purpose Room.   This is an annual club project and members and guests are encouraged to attend and show the club’s support for each participant.
  2.  President-elect Pat Dolphin led the meeting and announced that the next club Board Meeting will be held next Wednesday 02/17/2018 at the Mass. Mutual Building, 70 S. Lake Avenue, Suite 800, Pasadena, CA 91101,
  3. Congratulations to the following Students of the Month:  Nicholas Jimenez – Performing Arts, Kyle Rong – Academics, and Hannah Kennedy – Athletics.
  4.  Dick Martinez announced that the following are the Rotary Questions for next week’s meeting:   What are the principal and the secondary mottoes of Rotary?    When and where were they formally approved as the official mottoes of Rotary?


Recognitions – January 5, 2018

In celebration of the first meeting of the New Year, Finemaster Brad Miller conducted a quiz on New Year celebrations.  With rare occasions available to fine Gerard Tamparong, Brad started the questions with him:  When is New Year’s celebrated in the Philippines?  Gerard correctly identified it as January 1 and his fine was only $25.

Next, Matt Weaver, who has done many projects in Thailand, was asked when the New Year is celebrated there.  He guessed February, but was overruled by Finemaster Brad who identified Thai New Year as celebrated in April.  Over his objections, Matt was fined $50.

Ken Chan not only answered the question correctly about Chinese New Year, he elaborated.  In 2018, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 16 and it will be the Year of the Dog under the Chinese zodiac.  Ken was rewarded with a reduced fine of $25.

The last recognition was for George Fasching.  Finemaster Brad noted when the historic windmill on Denny’s was first restored at a cost of $100,000, George was fined for a light bulb that was burned out.  The light bulb was subsequently fixed, but in light of the news that the windmill sails have recently toppled, George was called to question.  George maintains that he was associated with the restoration of the windmill but didn’t actually work on its repair.  His argument didn’t save him; he was recognized for $25.