In November 2004, David Schachne set out to climb Kala Patthar. At 18,192 feet above sea level, it offers an amazing view of Mount Everest.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Schachne camped and hiked in the Catskills and Adirondacks. The Himalayas beckoned — as a physical challenge, and for emotional fulfillment.
Schachne moved to Westport in 1996. He loved writing but — having earned an MBA at Harvard — he spent his time on business proposals, not manuscripts.
After 9/11, he decided to pursue his passions. He wrote and hiked more extensively. Three years later, he headed to the Himalayas.
Schachne never expected his trek to be a walk in the park. However, he admits, he was “ill-prepared” for what lay ahead. His website says:
Continuously dodging bull-dozing yaks to prevent from being gored was the least of his worries. Climbing for hours and hours each day while mentally and physically exhausted; confronting constant sub-freezing temperatures; dealing with illness, high altitude sickness, piercing headaches, wretched odors, utter filth, bacterial infections, dysentery and more, he endured 2 weeks of pure, nightmarish misery.
But Schachne got something out of his attempt — beyond fulfillment.
He wrote a book.
In The Trek — his “gut-wrenching (account of) 14 mostly sleepless days and nights, while basically malnourished,” Schachne describes “both the ‘glory’ of the Himalayas and the ‘gory,’ chilling details of his daily despair.”
He writes about “the most spectacular scenery on the planet, along with the most horrific, unsanitary outhouses ever imaginable.”
Schachne calls his book “an adventure comedy.”
It’s quite a read. Whether you plan your own assault on Kala Patthar, or just plan to live Schachne’s trek vicariously, curled up with a Nook on your sofa.