Complications

Yesterday a famous Italian climber got into a fist fight with Sherpas who were fixing rope to C3. Apparently, he told the Sherpas they were too slow, he went ahead, dislodged some ice blocks and injured a Sherpa on the face. The Italian has been told not to return to Nepal for 5-10 years.

I was planning to go to C1 today but was advised to wait a day till things settle down. It’s unclear when the rope-fixing will resume.

Cheers.

Swee Chiow

First Glimpse of Everest

It snowed last night. Yesterday, I took 3 hours to Tengboche. Just on
time for lunch. Tengboche monastery is an important spiritual centre
in Nepal. This morning, the sky was blue and I had the 1st glimpse of
Everest. It’s good to see the special mountain again with her distinct
plume of snow being blown off her summit.
It took me an hour to Pangboche. From there, I walked with the Chinese
team to Pheriche in under 2 hours.

Cheers.
Swee Chiow

 

Capitol of the Sherpa Land

I made it to Namche Bazaar from Phakding in 5 hours. This is my 6th
trip on this Everest BC trail. So, to keep me motivated, I walked
faster to arrive at the next destination for lunch instead of having
lunch halfway.
Namche at 3440m, is the 1st acclimatisation stop. Most groups spend 2
nights here. Besides, it’s an interesting place with a museum, art
gallery, internet cafes, bakeries and of course, lots of outdoor gear
shops. It’s the last place to shop for any gear before going higher.

I met the 11-member team from China. Most of them are also doing
Everest with 3 guys doing Lhotse. Lhotse is the 4th highest peak in
the world. It’s also Everest’s neighbour. Teams on Everest and Lhotse
share the BC up to C3. I also bumped into 2 Malaysian groups trekking
to EBC.

Thankfully, my 2 pieces of luggage finally made it to Namche.

Cheers.
Swee Chiow

Chopper to Lukla

To my surprise, I was put on a chopper to Lukla. It’s a new craft by Eurocopter. Definitely a more interesting flight with an open side window for shooting video. The helicopter business in Nepal has blossomed in the past 4 years. One important function of the heli is mountain rescue. With increasing number of climbers here, there is definitely a need for this service. But most of the time, the heli is carrying more people and cargo to villages where a fixed wing can’t operate. Landing at Lukla in a heli is also safer, I reckon.

Unfortunately, 2 pieces of my luggage didn’t make it to Lukla with me. Hopefully they will catch up with me at Namche tomorrow.

Cheers.
Swee Chiow

The eagle has landed

I flew to Kathmandu with sponsorship from Air Asia X. Nasi Lemak onboard and the fully reclined Premium seat were great. That would be my last Nasi Lemak for a while. Thanks to sponsorship from Air Asia X, otherwise, I would have to pay a lot especially for the 88kg luggage. All 6 pieces of luggage arrived safely.

If all goes well, I shall fly to Lukla tomorrow. There has been no flight in the past few days due to bad weather. Flight delays and cancellations are a way of life here in Nepal. Most of the airports in the mountains are based on visual landing. Many people told me Lukla is one of the most dangerous airports in the world. It’s a STOL (short take-off & landing) with sheer drop on one end and a wall on the other. In 2008, a plane crashed while landing, missing the airstrip just by a bit because of some passing clouds. There was no survivor. And I landed there just a few days before the accident. Still, though I have flown to Lukla 7 times, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Cheers
Swee Chiow