Daniel Foutz who has come up with a unique idea for a documentary film that I think many would enjoy seeing.
Daniel calls his project The Long Way to Everest, and he has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his idea. You see, as a child Daniel read books about Everest, and the mountain became a place that he fell in love with even though he had never seen it in person. That is something a lot of us can probably relate to. He often organized climbs with his friends back in his home country of the Philippines, and while they didn't come close to comparing to climbing the Himalaya, it spurred on a young man's imagination for adventure.
Now, Daniel would like to make the trek to Everest Base Camp himself so he can visit the place that he has read so much about. But unlike most trekkers who make that journey, he wants to skip the flight to Lukla and trek from a village called Jiri instead. You see, Jiri is the place where Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay – along with the rest of their climbing team – began the trek to Everest on the historic expedition that ultimately produced the first ascent of the mountain. The hike from Jiri adds quite a few kilometers and days to the journey, which Daniel believes will take about three weeks to complete.
Prior to the construction of the airport in Lukla, Jiri and other villages along the original route received an influx of visitors that brought money to the local economy there. But now, those villages are all but ignored. Daniel says that in 2011 more than 37,000 people visited the Everest region. Only about 400 of those passed along the route that begins in Jiri. The idea behind The Long Way to Everest project is to follow the old route to the mountain and explore how the villages along that section of the trek are faring these days.
While the focus of the trek is to make a documentary film about the original trekking route and the villages that are found along the route that Hillary and Norgay used, there is another intriguing element to the project as well. Daniel also intends to carry a geocache time capsule with him to Base Camp which will contain historical information about the mountain, mementos from the trek, and letters from supporters of his efforts. He intends to lock that cache when he hides it, but provide clues to the combination to that lock which will be scattered along the trekking route. The coordinates will be shared for geocachers to find later, and whoever collects the clues gets to unlock the capsule and discover what is inside.
Not only do I think this sounds like a very interest project, I also applaud Daniel for not asking for others to completely fund it for him. He has set a very modest goal for his Kickstarter campaign of just $500 CAD, which is roughly $400 US at the moment. He has nearly reached halfway to his goal with more than 20 days to go, so hopefully he'll be able to get the funding he needs to get his project off the ground.
As someone who has made the trek to Everest Base Camp himself, and had some first hand experience in the villages that fall along the route, I think a documentary of this type would be very interesting. Hopefully we'll all get a chance to see it in the future.