April 7 – April 11, 2012 – Getting ready for the long journey to Chomolungma
I arrived in Kathmandu from New Delhi on April 7, 2012 early in the morning on a beautiful and sunny day. During my flight I admired the great Himalaya mountain range with all these amazing 8,000m peaks. Memories came back from my last journey to Nepal and Tibet, a trip which I really enjoyed. I landed on time at 8:30am local time and Fur Geljen Sherpa welcomed me again with a flower necklace, the traditional Sherpa way. It was good to be back here and to see Geljen again. He is such a good person and the brain and organizer of the complex Everest North Col expedition. We went to the hotel and I took some rest before I met with Bart Wroblewski, my climbing mate from Poland. Bart is assistant professor in Law at the university in Poznan in Poland and we will spend more or less the next two months together in many different circumstances. I am sure that we will have an exciting time together! In the evening we had dinner and I went to bed early, still tired after such a long trip.
The next day , on April 8, we conducted our material check, went first to a mountaineering shop to buy some lost minute equipment (mostly small things which are not that critical) and afterward we drove by taxi to the supermarket to buy our two-month snack supply. It is always amazing for me to see the amount of snacks we need for these two months in the remote North Side of Everest. There are no shops up and the next village is hours away by jeep from base camp. In the evening we had our welcome dinner with Geljen, a relative of him and our two climbing Sherpas, Ang Pasang Sherpa and Pasang Karma Sherpa. It was a nice way to start the journey and I enjoyed our conversations.
That day we also met with the famous Himalayan expert Elizabeth Hawley. Every Himalayan climber knows her since she is “the” authority when it comes to climbing 8’000m peaks in the Himalayas. Her Himalayan Database (http://www.himalayandatabase.com/) is the most accurate database in terms of checking who has climbed what and when in Nepal and Tibet. Together with her team, she interviews every Everest climber before and after the climb. And she does this since 1962!!! I really enjoy meeting her and it was great to spend some time with her and talk about her work.
On April 9 was a strike in Kathmandu, so most of the shops were closed and it was difficult to travel across the city. We had an important event planned for today, and Geljen managed finally to organize a taxi witch drove us to the temple for our blessings by the local Lama. Once again it was a deeply enriching experience to receive the blessings and to see the importance this ceremony plays in the life of a climbing Sherpa. There will be more ceremonies once we are in base camp. Back in the hotel we learned that our departure from Kathmandu which was planned the next morning has been postponed by one day because of administrative challenges in terms of entry our entry visa into Tibet. This is part of life for such an expedition, especially if you are planning to climb Mount Everest from the Tibetan side. At that moment I looked at the bright side of this new situation and I told myself that it will give us another day for our re-packing and mental preparation for the long journey.
The next day, on April 10, it was the moment for the final preparation for the long journey. Deciding what to leave in Kathmandu and what to bring for the long journey is always somehow an exciting task, since the consequences are very simple: if you don’t bring it you will not have it, and there is no way to get it… So you have to let it go… just like in meditation. Important is that it is not a crucial part of equipment, but this is rarely the case. Mostly it’s about “nice to have” things like snacks, books and entertainment gadgets. Well, that mood changed when Geljen arrived at the hotel around 4:00pm and informed us that the visa procedure will take another day. So much for packing… I left the hotel and wandered for a while through the small and noisy alleys of Kathmandu and enjoying the busy and colorful life of this unique city. I was already dark when I came back to the hotel and I was glad to get some early rest.
The next morning started with some e-mail follow up, preparation of future work assignments and checking some of my electronics. It is always good to check all electronic equipment before we leave “civilization”. In the Tibetan villages where we will stop on our way up to the North side of Mount Everest there is not much to buy in terms of electronics or any other gadgets. It is a poor and rural area in a huge high altitude valley were farming is the main activity. That day, I also found a second battery for my new GoPro camera which I am planning to us on Everest this year. Once again, every negative situation seems to have a positive side!!! This battery is very hard to get and I did not expect to find it in Kathmandu. Since charging batteries on summit day is not possible, it is always good to have some spare batteries with you on the long climb up and down. In the evening everything was ready for an early start and I went to bed excited and with a good feeling regarding the upcoming trip to Chomolungma, the “Mother Goddess of the Universe”.
Finally back in Kathmandu with Geljen and guarded by the Goddess Green Tara, the “Mother of Liberation”; she represents the virtues of success in work and achievements and we will need all her support.
What an honor: To be interviewed by Elizabeth Hawely, “the” authority if it comes to Everest statistics. On the left to Ms. Hawely is Bart from Poland, my climbing mate this year.
Misses Hawley enters her 1962 Beetle, the same year she started her work in Kathmandu.
Welcome dinner with the Sherpas – Hot Korean food before the cold…
World Records Expedition & Treks team: Mr. Bachchu Narayan Shrestha, the two climbing Sherpas Ang Pasang Sherpa, Pasang Karma Sherpa and Fur Geljen Sherpa (from left to right).
Blessing by the local Lama – May the blessing be with us all the way up the the heights of Mount Everest.
Tibetan tea is served during the blessing by a young Tibetan boy.
Technology has reached the Buddhist monasteries – Waiting for the blessings made easy…
Ang Nuru Sherpa, Ang Pasan Sherpa’ son after the blessing – A future climbing Sherpa?
Buddhist monks during their daily studies.
Square in front of the old Government Place during a strike – Kathmandu with no cars… what a rare picture.
Need to move fast across town – Take a “human” taxi…
Who said that there are no Sherpas in Kathmandu?
Do you need a ride or do you have anything to move across town? Just ask here…
Kathmandu yesterday and today – Here you will find what you need…
A long way to the Everest Chinese Base Camp…
Tailor work on Bart’s down suit – Is it a good idea???