What time is it? Everest time…
Woah it’s been a crazy couple of weeks…I left the US for Asia last week (I finished packing as the car pulled up to take me to the airport…) then had a fun but whirlwind tour through Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bangkok doing talks and fundraisers before flying to Kathmandu.
Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal, which was until recently one of the poorest countries in the world. The city is big, noisy, crowded, and polluted. But it’s also energetic and lively. My mother, who is joining me until base camp, and I did our gear check only an hour after arriving at the hotel. This was a hectic four-hour process of making sure we had all of the requisite equipment packed in the right bags. We made it in time to bring our base camp bags down and send them off.
The next day we had our first full team meeting. It was great to meet our three guides, nine team members, six base camp trekkers, and several Sherpas. We discussed our plan for the coming days (and months…) and got a comprehensive breakdown of what to expect.
After one final day of sightseeing in Kathmandu, we packed our bags for the trek and went to bed early. We woke up at 4:30am the next day to get together and head to the airport. When we arrived at the domestic side of Kathmandu’s airport, we were greeted by huge crowds of climbers and Trekkers waiting to get in to the terminal. The crowds were a result of the x-ray machines not working properly, and a shortage of flights in to Lukla from Kathmandu this season. After about thirty minutes of jostling, we made it through security and checked in for four Sitta Air flight to Lukla.
Our plane was a small, two engine prop that looked about 60 years old. It seated about 12 people plus one flight attendant! We received cotton to plug our ears and then began our flight over the mountains to Lukla. The trip was pretty smooth until the final descent when it got quite bumpy–not a great feeling when you can see massive mountain ridges not far below you. We finally touched down with a hard thump and screeched towards the other end of the runway (the side of the mountain). Luckily, our skilled pilots knew what they were doing and we deplaned in one piece.
We stopped at a tea house in Lukla and had a filling breakfast before setting off to Phukding, our first overnight stop on the trek to Everest base camp. It was a relatively easy, mostly downhill day to Phakding. The paths were packed with Trekkers and Sherpa porters, though, in addition to the donkeys and yaks. We had lunch and dinner stops and then went to bed early. Everyone was exhausted by this long day.
The following day, Day 2 of the trek, we made our way along the river up the valley to Namche Bazar, the capital town of the region. The walking was a bit more challenging today, with a big hill climb going up in the final two hours to Namche. Once we arrived, we settled into our lodge and explored this town. It was really bustling compared to all the other villages we had passed (it even had an ATM!).
The next day was a rest day in Namche. We hiked up to the next village, Khumjung, and back for acclimatization. We got some real,y stunning views of Everest and Ama Dablam. Then we had a big dinner and went to bed early in advance of what we had heard was a pretty tough day of trekking from Namche to Dingboche.
That’s a quick summary of what we’ve been up to so far. It’s missing a lot of the fun details — the jam sesh we had with another Everest team in Namche, the amazing apple pie and chocolate cake, and the general antics of my team, but you can rest assured that those details will come out eventually. Internet access is available but slow and difficult to find at time, but I will try to update the blog when I can. The best way to follow my progress is definitely twitter though — @casoncrane. That’s all for now!
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