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My Trip to Nepal (part 3)

Posted by Mike McKinnon on
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Nepal-443After six months of preparation, the time finally came to leave. After many well wishes and sad goodbyes to my family (oh, my wife is now 6 months pregnant with boy #2), I’m set for 2.5 days of traveling. I arrive in Kathmandu and meet my teammates, 7 climbers, 1 guide, 4 Sherpas and 5 yaks.

Kathmandu is as real as a city gets - busy, dirty, colorful, full of life. We toured Hindu and Buddhist temples, but I could not keep my mind off of the climbing that I actually came to do. We finally started our adventure on day three. The Nepalese, specifically the Sherpa people, are the most gentle and truly happy people I’ve ever come across. They even out charm the Fijians. If you’ve been there, you know it hard to out-nice Fijians.

Island Peak is roughly 30 miles and 12,000 vertical feet from our starting point, Lukla. But first, we’re going to hike to Everest Base camp (17,400 ft.) and climb a bump called Kala Pattar (18,500 ft) to get the best views of Everest (29,028 ft.) and Nuptse (25,801 ft.). It takes roughly 16 days to hike this circuit, mostly due to the elevation gain and lack of oxygen. By day three, the giant peaks started to show themselves. My personal favorite was Ama Dablam (22,349 ft.). A stunning chunk of rock and snow. We followed the normal route to Everest base camp from Lukla:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  • Phadking (9,000 ft.),
  • Khumjung (12,100 ft.),
  • Tengboche (12,350 ft.),
  • Pheriche (14,000 ft.),
  • Lobuche (16,100 ft.),
  • Gorak Shep (16,900 ft.),
  • Kala Pattar (18,500 ft.),
  • down to Dingboche (14,100 ft.),
  • up to Chukkung (15,000 ft.),
  • finishing at Island Peak Base Camp (16,700 ft.).

 

 

The one exception to following the normal route was a detour to the small village of Thame. Thame is a special place as it’s home to some of the strongest and most famous Sherpa climbers. There we met Lapka Rita Sherpa, he’s done Everest twelve times. We were honored to have tea with his parents.

Along the way our group became great friends, stepped in yak dung, got sick, sat with chanting Buddhist monks, got a special blessing from the Lama Gieshe, played hacky sack and cards. We visited the hospital and the school built by Sir Edmond Hilary and were continually awed by sights of new peaks around every corner.

 


Name: Linda J LeBlanc
Time: Tuesday, December 1, 2009

To learn more about the Sherpas of the Mt. Everest region, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Sherpas are the true heroes of Everest. Without their assistance, very few would reach the summit. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view. Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to www.beyondthesummit-novel.com Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma. Richard Blake for Readers Views. A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest. EverestNews.com A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera LeBlanc’s vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there. USABookNews.com This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.” – John (college professor) Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialog. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country. By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina) Available through Barnes and Noble, Borders, amazon.com, Chesslerbooks.com, and the web site

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