Egnyter Jumps at Opportunity to Hike to Everest Base Camp
Archer Dyal is not the type to make a bucket list.
He doesn’t have a catalog of adventures he plans to check off before he dies. He prefers spontaneity over long-term plans, and, until recently, he wasn’t even terribly active. And yet, on a whim, this 10-year Egnyte veteran found himself staring down what many adventurers consider their holy grail—Mount Everest.
“Climbing Everest had never seriously crossed my mind,” Dyal said. “I just live life as the opportunities come.”
Dyal, who manages Egnyte’s Customer Support team, took that opportunity. And while he went into it hoping to test himself, he also came away with a love and appreciation for the people and beauty of Nepal.
When Opportunity Knocks…
Dyal’s friend, rescue coordinator Suraj Paudyal, is an experienced climber who attempted to summit the peak before but couldn’t arrange the finances to complete the journey. He wanted to return to the mountain range, and Dyal saw the opportunity to help a friend—and to tag along.
“I'm always supportive of such things, and I'm like, ‘Hey, while you go up there, can I join you to the base camp?” Dyal said.
Dyal wasn’t a complete novice, but the southern base camp in Nepal, which sits at an elevation of 17,598 feet above sea level, was five times taller than anything he’d climbed before. And while that’s still about 12,000 feet below the summit, getting to the base camp would be no small feat.
Like many people these past two years, Dyal saw the pandemic as a chance for reflection and decided he needed to take better care of himself physically. Dyal started doing some hikes near his home in the San Francisco Bay Area, but once he agreed to join Paudyal, he began training two hours a day to build his endurance.
He arrived in Nepal on March 3 and began his trek, which included some difficult moments. At one point, they took a detour to summit Lobuche, a mountain which sits more than 20,000 feet above sea level. They reached the high camp at night, but they had to proceed in the dark. To hike to the top, climbers need to reach the summit before late morning, when the winds can hit 100 mph.
In that last stretch of the climb, the conditions worsened as several inches of wet snow accumulated atop bare rock face. At one point, Dyal slipped. He slid down the mountain, crashed into a rock and injured his shin. Had he not hit the rock, he would have headed into a nearby hole with no visible bottom.
“The conditions are totally dark and all you see is the white snow,” he said. “I took that fall as a sign that I needed to step back.”
Still, the trip was more of a mental challenge than a physical one—waiting to get to the next camp, the next fire, the next warm cup of noodles.
“You’re just grinding through, because you don't know how long it's gonna take, and you're always trying to prepare your mind—one more hour, two more hours, three more hours,” he said. “That was the most challenging part for me.”
A Serene Place and People
Eventually, Dyal reached elevations where there were no trees—just rocks, snow, and a handful of yaks and other animals that can survive there.
“The serenity, the environment—how raw it is, how wild it is, how untouched it is—it's purity in my opinion, and the experience is something you can only get there.”
Dyal came away equally impressed by the Nepalese, whom he described as having “adventure in their blood.” And there were other adventures along the way, too. He went bungee jumping and paragliding, and visited ancient Buddhist temples. But the most emotional experience was when his guide, Pasang Dawa Sherpa, gifted him a small stone memento to commemorate the trip.
“The people care about you,” he said. “How humble the people are, how simple life is, and how grateful they are—it’s how we should all be.”
In fact, the biggest reason Dyal went on this trip was to help Paudyal, who he described as selfless and humble. And the only reason his friend went was to raise awareness about this sherpa, who has now hiked Everest 25 times—just one behind the all-time record.
And Dyal’s connection with Pasang didn’t end there. Before he went to Nepal, some of Dyal’s coworkers suggested he bring something from Egnyte on the trip. He went through the t-shirts he’d collected over the years and settled on the company’s 10th anniversary t-shirt, since it was his 10th anniversary with Egnyte. He later gave it to Pasang, along with other gear he’d brought on the trip.
“He kind of won my heart in a way,” Dyal said. “I would do anything for him.”
The two had made such a strong bond that the sherpa promised to take the t-shirt with him to the summit. Dyal never took the promise seriously, but then in May, his friend sent a photo of the pair atop Everest, holding Dyal’s Egnyte shirt at the highest peak in the world. It was a moment he described as humbling.
A Newfound Love
Dyal hiked 62 miles and reached an elevation of 18,700 feet over the course of eight days in Nepal, but he has no plans to stop there. He credits his newfound appreciation for these treks to his willingness to take opportunities when they come.
“Why would you not do what you love?” he said. “But first you have to figure out what you love. And the way you figure out is to take opportunities when others give them to you.”
Next year, and every year after that, Dyal wants to hike another 20,000-foot mountain. He loves the spontaneity of these adventures, the test of endurance, and the ability to get away from life’s day-to-day distractions. And yes, he’s starting a list, with one very prominent summit right at the top.
“I have not done Everest yet, but that is on the bucket list now,” he said with a smile.
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