Michael's Dispatches

To Wish Upon a Star


Monday 15 November 2010

One night during my recent walk to Mt. Everest there seemed to be a million stars.  And so the camera was pointed at the treacherous mountain known as Ama Dablam, or “mother’s necklace,” and at the stars above her shoulders.  The serious climbers consider this mountain more difficult and dangerous to climb than Mount Everest.  Kaksher, my Sherpa guide, had reached the summit of Everest twice, and the summit of Ama Dablam eight times.  Some days after this image was made, a Japanese climbing team got into trouble.  I was told they used a satellite phone to ring help in Japan, who called the Japanese Embassy in Kathmandu.  A rescue helicopter was launched and one climber was brought to safety.  The helicopter returned for the second climber.  As the rescuer was lowered by rope, winds apparently buffeted the helicopter sending the pilot and tethered rescuer down the mountain to their deaths.   Kaksher Sherpa was a friend of the lost pilot, and said was a good man.  Two more helicopters were sent to search, eventually finding the remains of the two rescuers, which were flown back to Kathmandu and cremated at Pashupatinath.  This was all last week.  While the two rescuers were killed, the two climbers survived.

If you look very closely into this image taken days before the accident, you can see four shooting stars.

To download a copy of this image for personal use, please click To Wish Upon a Star.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    BSJ · 9 years ago
    Those are probably satellites.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Trisha · 9 years ago
    Oh Michael, I downloaded the photo and found myself lost in it for several minutes, feeling such peace. To know tragedy struck there is such a sad thing.
    I love your work...your writings and your awesome photos. You are truly talented and I thank you for keeping us informed about what is really going on out there with our men and women who are fighting to keep the terrorists from doing what they live and die for.
    God bless you all.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    lourdes · 9 years ago
    are those stars or was it snowing? wow!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    DaveL · 9 years ago
    Your photo is worthy of the astronomy picture of the day website - you should submit it: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod

    The short track above the higher peak shows signs of fading in and out, like a satellite rotating. I am less certain about the other streaks.

    What the great number of stars does is to make it difficult for me to find recognizable patterns. Do you know what direction you were facing and what hour of the night it was? It seems likely you were looking pretty high, but knowing whether it was south or north, for example, could help to identify one or more nebula or galaxies that can be found in the picture. And how long an exposure did you take? Was your camera mounted on a tripod?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Victor quinonez aka · 9 years ago
    I don't even have the words........ I am truly speechless . Mike your work and travels are truly amazing. Be safe brother.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SCOTSWARRIOR · 9 years ago
    I am so glad that you can photograph such beauty at times to contrast against your combat pics. You really have an eye for taking such breath-taking pictures. This picture is, well...... just look... WOW!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Karen · 9 years ago
    What a beautiful photo, Michael! So sorry the rescuers risked and gave their lives for the two hikers. Glad the hikers were eventually rescued but what a weight to live with. Love your work!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    TerriLPN · 9 years ago
    When I look at these Photos, Peace comes to mind! God Bless~

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