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Alan Bridges Haiku to Summit Mt. Everest

Alan Bridges has aspired to heights in his haiku, but he couldn’t have seen this coming. One of his haiku was selected to accompany a trekking expedition in its ascent of Mt. Everest this spring. Alan supplies the following details:

On April 1, 2014, Jon Johnston departed his home in Melbourne, Australia for Kathmandu, Nepal, where he has joined up with New Zealand team Adventure Consultants, in preparation for an ascent of Mt. Everest, to be attempted some time in early May. The team will fly to Lukla for the 10-day trek to base camp on the southern flank of Everest, just below the Khumbu Icefall.

Amongst Jon’s climbing gear and an iPod with family recordings is a “bag of special things” which he will carry to the summit, including a Marine Corps flag signed by his father and his mates, photos of three deceased climbing friends, a family photo, a football jersey and a haiku that reads:

Qomolangma sets free
a wind horse

Qomolangma (pronounced Chomolungma) is the native name given Mt. Everest and a “wind horse” is a symbol of good fortune that is represented on the colorful prayer flags that are brought to base camp.

Follow along in real time at the team’s website, where you can sign up for e-mail alerts reporting the team’s progress.

If he is successful in summiting Everest, Jon hopes to return to Camp IV briefly for rest, and then climb Lhotse, possibly within a 24-hour window, which would be a first.

I have strung a rope of prayer flags at my home in Littleton, Massachusetts, USA, in honor of their safe journey.

Follow the team’s ascent, and share with us any unusual way in which your haiku have been put to use by using the contact page.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Just remember to keep your goggles on when you summit Alan!
    (Don’t want to be stumbling down snow bind…)
    Congratulations for being the pioneer among us!
    Does this mean haiku will now be considered the ‘highest’ form of poetry?

  2. “Beyond the Paper Lanterns”, sub-titled a “journey with cancer” a book written by Cyril Childs about his wife’s illness and death (published in 2000) was carried to the summit of Mt Fuji in 2000 by American haiku poet Jerry Kilbride in a climb organised by the US Breast Cancer Fund.

    In a piece published in 2006 Cyril wrote: Jerry read from the book to the climbers the night before their ascent and he carried it to the summit. After the climb Jerry had everyone write a message in the book and returned it to me. It will remain a precious thing to me and my family.

    Cyril died at the beginning of 2012.

    Haiku in high places, what a marvellous concept.

    All good wishes to this Everest haiku for a safe ascent and a safe descent.

  3. Congratulations!

    As a copy of the British “Haiku Quarterly” magazine (edited by Kevin Bailey) was found in the foothills many years ago, it’s only fitting that a haiku makes it to the summit this time. 🙂

    snowdriven regards,

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