My work for this first, groundbreaking Soldiers to the Summit Himalayan Expedition was a combination of social media management, web publishing and communications coordination between the expedition in Nepal and sponsors and family back in the US. Such live communication from the remote Khumbu Valley was unheard of till, well, pretty much when we did it (a very few, new cell towers had just come to the valley).
The expedition was dedicated to helping soldiers overcome injuries to figuratively and literally reach new heights. I coordinated with longtime colleague, Didrik Johnck, the expedition’s communications director and web producer in the field, acting as ground control and the expedition’s editor/publisher throughout the course of the months-long training and actual expedition.
A thriving community sprang to life in that time, with members — both media pros and soldiers, alike — ultimately blogging from the Khumbu Valley and Lobuche mountainside and approaches to Mount Everest, sending me written dispatches, photographs and video any way they could. During the expedition’s climactic moments, updates came via satellite phone.
I was on call 24/7, writing heds, deks and caps and choosing photos to accompany stories I published as soon as they came in. I also created slideshows and transcoded and published video, and tracked the expedition’s progress via satellite maps. And I coordinated satellite calls from remotest Nepal with sponsors and followers back home.
That was both a logistical challenge and, frankly, surreal.