Lacombe Police Chief''s Himalayan Adventure

Gary Leslie unfurls the City of Lacombe flag at Everest Basecamp on April 12, 2012.

On March 30, 2012, LPS Chief Gary Leslie embarked on the greatest adventure of his life – to climb up to the base camp of Mt. Everest in Nepal.

“It was the most exhilarating, most eye-opening, and definitely the most challenging thing that I’ve ever done,” he said. “I can cross this off­ of my bucket list.”

Yaks hauling supplies up to Everest Basecamp..
Gary, the lone Canadian in the 11 member expedition, met up with his fellow trekkers in Katmandu, Nepal on April 1st, and together they headed o­ to Lukla, the proper starting point of the 82 kilometre journey.

“I was with a phenomenal group of people who shared a passion for climbing,” he said. “Also, we had an incredible support team of sherpas who looked a er us all the way there and back.”

The climb is very much a mind over matter exercise, he recalled. The high altitude and thin air combined to make the trek very demanding.

“You take small steps, and just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.”

During the ascent, at around 14,000 feet, Gary caught a stomach parasite and was sick for several days. “The mountain seems to identify any of your short-comings and highlights them,” he said. “I had to really fight to overcome adversity to achieve my goal.”

Gary reaches Everest Basecamp on April 12, 2012.
Everest Basecamp - 5,364 metres (17,598 feet).
Finally, on Thursday, April 12, 2012 his team reached Everest Basecamp, at an altitude of 5,364 metres (17,598 feet).

There, Gary unfurled the City of Lacombe flag that he had carried with him the entire trip.

“It was glorious to be so high up in the Himalayas, looking up at the highest mountain in the world,” he said. “A sherpa helped me attach the flag to a trekking pole, and a retired member of the New York Fire Department took the photo.”

It was a very emotional moment for Gary; the culmination of months of planning, hard work, and dogged perseverance.

Cart driver hauling good in Kathmandu.
Farmer's market at Namche Bazaar.
Donkey traffic jam in Lukla.

Edmund Hillary sign at Rum Doodle Rest.
Entrance to Tengboche Monastery.
Gary meets a Buddhist monk at Pangboche Monastery.
Gary with a sherpa at the Tengboche Gompa Monastery.
"It was a life-changing experience,” he said. “I met some wonderful people in Nepal, got to see some amazing sights, and had a chance, at least for a brief while, to immerse myself into an ancient and vibrant culture.”

We’re glad that he’s back in one piece to share his story.

2012 Everest Basecamp Expedition Team.

Check out the slideshow that Gary created for his friends:


  1. This has been one amazing experience and I am glad that you did and it especially glad that you made it back!

    1. Must have been a hoot. However, I was wondering how a city employee gets so much time off, and who paid for the chief's globe trotting?

    2. Hi Anonymous,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Consistent with the provisions made in provincial labour standards, and with vacation policies in most organizations, our staff accrue vacation time over the length of their employment.

      How they choose to use this time is their own personal matter.

    3. Anonymous, at least have the courage to leave your name if you're going to leave negative garbage comments like that.

      Congrats Chief Leslie! What an accomplishment!

  2. So are you (Gary) going to share your adventure in a public event sometime? We'll be there!

  3. So when are you (Gary) going to do a public sharing of your trip?

  4. Anonymous. Have the courage to leave a name if you're going to make crummy comments.

    Chief Leslie! What an accomplishment. Thanks for the share! Very cool to see.


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