So now that I’ve finished the whole sequence I figured I’d post the whole listing here on one page in order, it will make it easier for people finding it for the first time to access, enjoy:
Posts Tagged ‘gorak shep’
Tags: breschears, cho oyu, everest, everest base camp, gokyo, gompa, gorak shep, kathmandu, khumjung, life, lukla, mong la, namche, nepal, renjo la, sherpa, thamel, trek, trekking, yeti
Tags: everest, gomap, gorak shep, life, lukla, namche, nepal, steve, trek, trekking
It’s funny in writing something like this, trying to remember everything, even with journal notes, things come to you later, you realize you didn’t get in pictures that you like. You can never catch the feeling or the depth of the friendships that can be created so quickly. One person whose image hasn’t appeared is our friend Steve. Steve of course is not her given name, being born a woman in Hungary and all, but she is Steve, first a picture of my friend Steve:
And now a video to show you what the whole Steve thing is about:
Steve is a truly amazing woman, this was her second trek and she was a zen-like trekker, calm quiet, Steve took everything in her own time. Not to mention that she was fascinating to talk to and was being tracked and protected by the Hungarian Secret Service, at least that was the joke. We kid her a lot that they had her on satellite imagery at all times, and then one day while we were resting under the eaves of a lodge on the trail to Na, a black helicopter came flying up the valley. It really seemed like since she was off satellite coverage they had sent in the choppers. I miss Steve.
You have seen some of the other characters we were with, Stretch, Mark, Philippe and a couple of pictures and a mention of Tom being sick. However, I believe I could write a 16 part series about my friend Tom, it was his second trek as well and he is one of the funniest humans I’ve ever encountered. He routinely kept me laughing and when I couldn’t go above a snail’s pace he spent the day walking with me. With Tom things were up and down, although he kept my spirits up, it was because of him that I ended up at war with Australia.
Our guides were magnificent and truly I wouldn’t trek with anyone else, Kim and Lhakpa are the best. Kim’s company can be found at http://www.project-himalaya.com/ and Lhakpa is branching out on his own and has a new company he has started and can be found at: http://khumbuadventures.com/featured-trek/khumbu-adv-everest-luxury.htm
If you go to see them bring Kim Jolly Ranchers and Lhakpa beef jerky and of course ziplocks and duct tape, they’ll appreciate it.
There are times in the mountains when life can’t get any better, and times when you can’t believe you’re going to finish the days walk. You can build life-long friendships climbing a single hill and totally forget where you are and what you are doing. One of my favorite moments among many was coming up over the ridge to Gorak Shep and looking at the mountains in front of me. Seeing these peaks rising 10,000 feet in the sky I stood there admiring them and then started to laugh. Yes, I was looking at peaks nearly 10,000 feet above me, but I was already 17,000 feet up, such is the power of the biggest mountains in the world.
I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to the Himalayas but I’m glad I went, the peace I gained in the rare air lasted me almost 10 months after I got back to “civilization.” The other thing that is hard to find space for are just pictures, so to wrap up this little odyssey just a set of pretty shots from the Himalayas, enjoy!
A picture holding a package of mountain gold.
And finally the shot I use as the header for my other blog, The Ministry of Happiness.
Tags: chorten, climber, dingboche, everest, everest base camp, gorak shep, life, lobuche, memorial, snow, trek, trekking
The poetry of the earth is never dead. ~John Keats
November 17, 2009 – woke up to lots of snow probably six inches, considering that November is the dry season it was quite a surprise to everyone. The weather forecast that we could get indicated that the temperature for the next few days would remain cold. This meant that the pass we planned to go over to get to the Gokyo Valley would be snowed in and may stay that way for several days. This left our group with a decision to make, we could trek up to Everest Base Camp and spent the next several days waiting for the pass to possibly open and possibly run out of time and have to skip the Gokyo Valley, or make a long trek back down, around and then back up into the Gokyo Valley. However the second option would mean we had to leave immediately and miss out on visiting Everest Base Camp. This was a tough decision for the group, base camp was a goal for many of us and had been the reason I had originally come on the trek. However, something I had come to realize walking up these mountains was that Everest no longer mattered. The mountains were unbelievable and although Everest may be the biggest, I had become more fascinated with Khan Tiega. It was no longer about just Everest and the group agreed we decided to skip out on base camp and head down the mountain to spend the night at Dingboche a six-hour walk.
Once the decision was made we packed quickly and got ready to move. It was a brand new experience, walking trails that we had done the day before, but now were covered with snow and ice. The snow wasn’t terribly deep and we were making very good time considering the conditions. We flew the two hours down to Lobuche and the pace was frankly too much for me. Even going downhill at almost 17,000 ft the altitude can get to you, I was never so excited for a cup of tea as I was arriving at Lobuche that day in the snow. I had been nauseas most of the morning and now was dizzy on top of it, I hadn’t eaten much at all, but it was time to go back out in the snow
Below is what I wrote that night about walking that day:
“Felt nauseas all morning and the dizziness was not helping at all. However the walk was spectacular as the mountains were snow-covered and kept dancing in and out of the clouds, it was the prototypical Himalayan Trekking day as I had envisioned it in my head before coming.”
It was a crazy day walking, at times the ground, the sky, the mountains and then fog crowded in on us and there were no borders to the world. There was a real fear of walking off the side of a cliff and luckily, as usual, my friend Mark and his size 14 boot prints were in front of me marking the way. Then, suddenly, the clouds would blow out and the sun would beat down reflected off of everything and you’d be hot as hell. At least four times during the day I either stripped down from my parka to my t-shirt or stopped to quickly bundle up again.
Retracing the steps we had done two days before we came to the ridge above Thugla and to the chortens marking lost climbers. It had been magnificent and somber a few days before, but now it had taken on utterly surreal quality in the snow.
We ate lunch at Thugla and then moved on towards Dingboche, as we came down the valley I took one of my favorite photos of the trip:
We arrived back in Dingboche and truly I’ve never been so tired walking down hill, but it had been a magnificent day. The effects of altitude are amazing, dropping from 17,000 to 14,000 feet my head felt clearer, and my appetite had returned. We made a lot of jokes that night about the fat air at 14,000 feet, a joke that I could not have imagined finding amusing even two weeks earlier.
Tags: base camp, breashears, everest, everest imax, gorak shep, icefall, Khumbu, life, nepal, trek, trekking
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir
I was feeling better this day as evidenced by my appetite returning with a vengeance, I ate a big breakfast, a big lunch and snacked constantly all day until dinner where I ate well. The walk was long and beautiful, down through Dingboche again lunch at Thugla and then up a really tremendously large hill behind the lodge. At the top we were in a field full of markers that commemorate lost climbers, it was a truly somber and beautiful place. We stopped there and took some time to recover from the hill and take in the monuments.
We proceeded up the valley to Lobuche(16,190 ft) and got settled in for the night. We had noticed that David Breashears was also staying at the lodge and it created quite a little buzz in our group. If you don’t know who he is you can check him out at the link below:
The group got even more excited when Breashears came to join our group, turns out he had previously met with one of the people in our group. David was kind enough to sit and talk with us for quite a while and tell us about his glacier project. David is taking comparative photographs of glaciers, essentially taking the same picture that was taken decades before and comparing them to determine how much the glaciers have retreated. It is an interesting project and I was fortunate enough to meet with David again this fall and they are really making a lot of progress with the photography and the development of the website should be pretty amazing. You can get a little more information at the following link:
The next day was a hard walk, it was windy and cold and we moved slowly up the mountain along the valley containing the Khumbu Icefall.
These were my exact thoughts when I hit Gorak Shep (16,975):
“This place (Gorak Shep) is stark. It’s a climber’s place lots of reminders of past expeditions and treks. Seeing some familiar faces from the trail, met a beautiful Spanish girl who is heading for base camp at Island Peak. It’s cold here, and going to be a cold night’s sleep.”
The day was also my friend Mark’s birthday, Mark is an incredible hiker and even with a pretty severe chest infection led our group most days. He’s pictured here below:
We had put together a little bit of a celebration for Mark scrounging together some candy, chocolates, cheeses etc… and a couple of us who knew in advance were carrying small presents for him. The manager of the lodge even put together a little present for him. Unfortunately as I went back to my room I got the sudden urge to go to the bathroom, I say unfortunately because the urge trailed the action. I moved as quickly as I could under the circumstances and spent the next couple of hours squatting in the lodge’s bathroom. My lack of energy two days previous now made sense, it was when the intestinal infection I had picked up took hold and zapped my energy. That I had picked up the infection was not a shock, it’s common in fact and I came prepared with ciprofloxacin and that little miracle antibiotic would cure me in less than 24 hours. The real issue was my soiled long-johns, it was cold and base-camp was up next and there wasn’t a lot of heat in the lodge. The solution was to do some impromptu tailoring by cutting the soiled portion of my long-johns away with a knife. It wasn’t pretty and surely not to become a fashion (sorry I called you Shirley), but it was necessary to stay warm in the mountains. Sometimes adventure isn’t pretty.
The second surprise of the evening was that the snow that had started as we reached Gorak Shep was picking up. The reason this is surprising is that November is typically a pretty dry time in the Himalayas and one of the reasons the treks run at that time of year. I slept hard that night and let the medication work its magic. The one thing I really liked about Gorak Shep was the view at sunset: