This past week saw Everest 2010 come alive; and real for theclimbers and families back home. Teams came and left Kathmandu asweather lifted enough for more flights to Lukla. Multiple dispatchesspoke of uneventful landings at the dangerous airstrip and then themore peaceful start to the trek to base camp.
Luka deserves it reputation. There have been numerous accidents overthe years including the tragic death of 18 trekkers in October 2008when the Yeti Twin Otter snagged its wheels on a security fence andcrashed at the airport.
Sherpas have been at the south base camp for several weeks buildingtent platforms, dining tents and soon to rebuild the helicopter pad; anannual event given base camp is on a moving glacier. Himex noted theywill have 300 tents for their expedition alone.
Climbers and trekkers were rewarded with their first view of Everest(from the ground) just below Namche while tackling the infamous NamcheHill. This 2300' dirt hillside is long and often hot. About halfway up,on the edge of a switchback, Everest pokes above the surroundingmountains. It is always a moment to take in.
Climbers have been busy on the Facebook accounts and sending tweetsfrom the internet cafes in Namache and even from the very remotevillages of Goyko. They are also sending many great pictures.
TA Loeffler with Peak Freaks, is posting audio dispatches along witha written transcript. I find it nice to hear the voices of the climbersand TA does a great job of explaining what climbers and trekkers seearound Namche; spinning prayer wheels, the Namche Bazaar market. Sheeven notes how many steps she took each day, 19776 steps today! Sheexplains what you get when you cross a yak with a cow. It is the Blog of the Day.
For those of you who don’t know a Zopkios is a yakcrossed with a cow. Why would you do such a thing? Well yaks don’t dowell below Namche Bazaar but if you cross them with a cow they are ableto go down valley further and be a beast of burden. So stay away fromZopkios and always keep to the inside of the trail when passing Zopkiosor yaks because even though they look cuddly they are not.
The largest commercial teams are sending tons of gear to base campstarting with overseas flights on jumbo jets then on small planes orhelicopters and finally on the backs of zo's and yaks .. or humanporters. The logistics are amazing. IMG reports 16,000 pounds of gearincluding over 20,000 feet of high quality PMI static fixed rope forthe fixed ropes on the south side this year. Himex reported, 10,000 lbswith another 2000 lbs of fresh food during the expedition.
Many teams and climbers are using SPOT satellite trackers. You canvisit their websites to monitor their activity. This is a good time tofollow them on SPOT since there is enough movement each day. Once onthe mountain, the daily movements are actually quite small.
One news item caught everyone's attention this week. That Apa Sherpawill spread some of Sir Edmund Hillary's ashes on the summit ofEverest. Apparently his wish was to have them on Everest. According to Mount Everest the British Story,most of Hillary's ashes were scattered in the sea off Auckland in hisnative New Zealand after his death in 2008 aged 88, but some had beenkept in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayan village of Kunde ineastern Nepal.
In another development, it was reportedthat Chad Kellogg's will attempt in mid May to go from the south basecamp to summit and back in under 30 hours without Sherpa support orsupplemental oxygen.
Over on the north, there is no activitybecause no teams have reported entering Tibet and the news is that theywill not be allowed to arrive at base camp until April 15th. This is similar to last year.
Next up for most climbers as they make their way to base camp is avisit to Lama Geshi in Pangboche. This will be there last time to seetrees and some grass for almost two months. However, they are there fora Puja or blessing with Lama Geshi. This is one of the most spiritualevents for may climbers.
So, all is well at this point with theteams. The excitement builds as they continue to gain altitude and getcloser to Everest Base Camp.
Arnette is a speaker, mountaineer and Alzheimer's Advocate. You can read more on his site
Alzheimer's Startling Fact:
Every 70 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease. By mid-century, someone will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.