SOLDIERS TO THE SUMMIT
swiss army knife
Eric Weihenmayer, Everest-summiting blind climber and subject of the acclaimed documentary Blindsight, led 2010’s Soldiers to the Summit expedition for wounded veterans to Nepal’s Mount Lobuche. The first such ambitious event created to help injured vets, it became the subject of the award-winning documentary High Ground.
I designed the expedition website and logo: the website, to support team and community interaction; the logo, as a nod to military badges.
Then I became expedition media “ground control.” Expedition members — media pros and veterans alike — uploaded their content from the field to me. Initially, it came from stateside training in Colorado, ultimately, from the wilds of Nepal. I edited their stories, photos and video then published them to the website and social media, writing HEDS and DEKS as necessary. I also tracked their progress on Google Earth for their fans back home.
Microwave towers had only just arrived in the Khumbu Valley leading to Lobuche and Everest. The expedition was among the first to enjoy real-time connectivity while trekking up the valley. Kinda. Service was halting. From villages, monasteries and camps along the way, expedition Media Director, Didrik Johnck, oversaw file uploads via FTP as best he could.
The expedition also communicated with sponsors, friends and family members stateside via live Internet calls I initially oversaw in a triage capacity. The ultimate came on summit day, via satellite phone, from Camp IV high atop Loboche. (I got welcome and major help with the live sessions from Army Major Brian Smith of expedition sponsor CGSchools.)
Right in the thick of things, the expedition’s then parent organization, World T.E.A.M. Sports, asked me to build them a similar site. WTS runs nationwide events for disabled Americans. Both sites integrated Twitter, Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook and more. Both also pre-dated responsive web design.
featured photos © Didrik Johnck