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Towson

Old friends from Cockeysville scale the dizzying heights of Mount Everest

The adventure of a lifetime is how Nicholas Buscemi, of Cockeysville, described his recent trek up Mount Everest.

Nicholas joined with Andrew Knapick, a lifelong friend and fellow world traveler, on a two-week trek in late April, during the brief time frame between the brutal winter and monsoon season and climbed almost to the top of the world. Standing at 29,029 feet above sea level at the borders of Nepal and Tibet, Mount Everest is the most famous mountain in the world. The duo reached Kala Patthar at an elevation of 18,519 feet and just shy of the final summit during their adventure. Known as the ‘Black Rock’, Kala Patthar offers an up-close and unobstructed view of the summit of Mount Everest.

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After a friend’s Facebook post sparked his interest, Buscemi recruited Knapick to join him, and the two met up in Turkey before traveling to Nepal for their two-week long trek into the Himalayas. After a wild flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, the climb began in earnest, with days filled with six or more hours of trekking interspersed with acclimatization days in places like Namche Bazaar and Dingboche.

They made it to Everest Base Camp (elevation 17,598 feet) after eight days of hiking and then climbed up to Kala Patthar. Some daring parts of the adventure included traversing the Hillary Suspension Bridge, which is over 400 feet high above the Dudh Koshi River, along with eight other suspension bridges.

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As Buscemi mentioned, “It’s a good thing I am not afraid of heights!”

As classmates at Pot Spring Elementary, Cockeysville Middle and Dulaney High, Buscemi and Knapick always loved a good adventure and now in their early 30s, have visited more than 35 different countries between them.

Buscemi, a restaurant manager at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Annapolis, and Knapick, who works on fishing boats in Alaska part of the year and lives in Mexico City with his wife, Mariel, have been to locations spanning the continents from Thailand to Brazil to Australia to Morocco. While they didn’t undertake much specialized training to get ready to scale Mount Everest, Buscemi joked, “My job is two stories, so I’m running up and down stairs all night and I’m always on my feet moving around at work,” which helped him prepare for the trek.

The two traveled with a group of mostly Americans and some Canadians along with guides and porters and became close with a couple of doctors who were well versed in high altitude sickness, which came in handy when they were getting acclimated. Their trip back down the mountain was decidedly quicker than the trip up as Buscemi and Knapick doubled up on their itinerary to make it back down in three days ahead of some rainstorms.

While in Nepal, they also enjoyed the culture, history and food, although would definitely not recommend yak milk!

Buscemi and Knapick did indeed have the adventure of a lifetime and were thrilled to check climbing Mount Everest off their bucket lists!


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