“What kind of oil do I use for the car???”

The lengthy and dangerous expeditions were challenging not only to the climbers, but also particularly to the families back home. Lack of open channels of communication was a constant problem, leaving family members uncertain about the fate of their loved ones. Gone for months at a time, climbers missed important family milestones.

In 1973, for example, the Makalu expedition was luxuriously equipped with two Tatra trucks. Unfortunately one of the cars swerved and collided with another vehicle in a Czech village shortly after departure. The repair in Bratislava arranged for by expedition leader Ivan Galfy took one week. With his wife 7 months pregnant and quite upset at him for leaving her, Cervinka decided to avoid a second farewell process. His second daughter was born two months after he left home, an event he learned about in one of the camps on Makalu, and he met her for first time when the girl, now dubbed Miss Makalu by expedition members, was four months old.