I am Tracee Metcalfe, an internist at Vail Health and Himalayan expedition doctor. This April, I am returning to Nepal for my 9th time and will attempt to summit Kangchenjunga. I am also partnering with the dZi Foundation https://dzi.org/ to raise money to help build a much-needed footbridge in rural Nepal. This bridge will allow children to safely get to school, locally produced goods to get to nearby markets and ill villagers to access healthcare - especially during the monsoon season.
Kangchenjunga is the world's 3rd highest mountain - elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 ft). Kangchenjunga roughly translated means ‘the five treasures of great snows’ and 4 of its 5 summits are above 8000 meters. Located in the eastern part of Nepal on the border with India (Sikkim), Kangchenjunga is one of the least attempted of the 8000-meter peaks. Having spent time on Everest and other popular mountains in Nepal, it is the remote & rugged nature of Kangchenjunga that makes it so appealing to me. This challenging mountain has seen only 243 climbers summit as compared to 4500 on Everest. Getting to base camp will involve 2 weeks of trekking through a very remote region of Nepal where there are very few tourists - a great opportunity to experience the rugged terrain & challenging lives the Nepali people lead in this part of the country.
My love of mountains started when I moved to Colorado after high school. Over the next decade while completing my medical training, I climbed all 54 14ers in the state.
After moving to Vail, CO I looked for ways to combine climbing in the mountains with my career in medicine. I spent 2 seasons on Denali volunteering with the National Park Service as the medic with the climbing rangers. Working on Denali piqued my interest to visit Nepal both to climb and to work as an expedition doctor at extreme altitudes. I joined the Himex team as their expedition doctor to Manaslu 2014. Since then I have summited Everest (2016), Cho Oyu (2018), Makalu (2019), as well as Ama Dablam, Lobuche, and Island Peak. I love the challenge of climbing and working on the mountains in Nepal but after so many trips here, I want to give back to the country that has given me so much. Many people - like me - go for the mountains and come back for the people.
In 2015 I was working on Makalu when the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal. As we made our way back to Kathmandu, we could see the destruction caused by the earthquake and its many aftershocks. When I returned to Nepal several months later, I was amazed to see how much foreign aid had poured in to help many of its people. I was also sad to see how much of the aid seemed to be unevenly distributed to the villages that had a stronger political presence in Kathmandu as opposed to the villages with the most damage and need.
I want to make a positive lasting impact in Nepal and partnering with the dZi Foundation to fund this bridge project will accomplish this goal. dZi has a long history of helping smaller, more remote villages in eastern Nepal with much needed projects such as building schools & footbridges, improving drinking water, introducing new crops & irrigation methods so families can better support themselves. dZi currently serves over 40,000 people in eastern Nepal.
More about dZi:
The Cherem Truss Bridge project will be a 30 meter long bridge to serve the communities of Bung in Eastern Nepal. This bridge will replace wooden bridges that are weak, vulnerable and risky - easily washed away each year during the monsoon season. What interests me the most about this project is that Bung community members work alongside dZi staff to build the bridge and, in turn, learn new masonry & engineering skills they can apply to other community projects.
THANK YOU for considering supporting the Cherem Truss Bridge project AND for supporting me as I make my way up Kangchenjunga. Please know that 100% of the proceeds raised will go to the Cherem Truss Bridge Project. I will share progress updates along the way and look forward to posting a Summit photo!