Looking down the Nepali hills from the Solu Khumbu (Everest) region. If I look at these hills, I’m thinking of a multi-day MTB marathon. Gertje Beyers, what do you think?
The incredible crew from manager Hari Sitaula, director from Unique Path: www.nepalholidayinfo.com
This is the second time we work with them in Nepal, and we are still very enthusiastic of the support we get from the company. This holiday’s itinerary is completely tailor made, and Hari takes care of all logistics, bookings, permits, etc. Traveling here is not always easy, and one should trek with a very open mind and be prepared to make changes.
Pitching our tent at high Camp (+-5700m). This is a dirty place with the most beautiful views. We could already see some +8000m mountains from here like Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga. Like someone (I think sir Hillary) stated: “Everest stands out, because it’s like a big fat lady in a room full of beautiful women.”, and he’s right. The complete surroundings makes this view so beautiful.
Had to cut ice from the glacier to melt for our drinking water. No wonder that the glacier is shrinking. Within a couple of years, the mountaineers drunk the complete glacier, as they are doing all over the world. Climate change my *$$.
Anyone ever slept on an altitude of +5700m? Me neither. OK, I was there in a tent, in a sleeping bag, but sleeping? Pictures almost never show how bad we feel sometimes. My night in high camp was miserable. Not directly from altitude, we never had any headache. More then 50% of the people have a massive headache, sleeping on this altitude. We were well acclimatized after our Kanchenjunga trek. So, what happened? My mattress deflated during that night … we do have some glue for it with us … “try to find the hole using a buckle of water and soap”, says the manual. “Yeah right, I’ll start immediately”. By the time I cut the ice, melted it to water, I’m already frozen to death. To give an idea, it’s in between -25 and -20 degree Celsius. So, I slept, I mean lay down, all night almost directly on the snow and ice, with a couple of millimeters of tent, and deflated mattress in between. People don’t think much about the isolation of the sleeping mattress. You can buy the best sleeping bag, with comfort temperature to -30 degree Celsius. Without a decent mattress it means nothing. All night, which already started around 18 o’ clock, it was just counting down the hours, and thinking of how I can get back to Vaude, the mattress manufacturer. Revenge will we sweet.
Jep, still wearing that lopersgroepputte hat. As stated earlier, all this training is for worlds best organized winter duatlon. I hope climbing a 6450m mountain will be enough. Interested? Take a look here.
Summit day! Against all rules, we started at 7am instead of the common used 2 to 3 am. So many people where coming back with signs of frostbite, or just returned being scared of the cold. Now, the Indian cyclone is in our advantage. There is so many snow I figured, there is no need to return early from the glacier. Also, the days before on the glacier, you could see the snow was still hard and safe late in the afternoon.
After 4 hours we reached the summit, just before 11am and left the glacier safely again by 13pm. To reach the summit wasn’t really difficult. I guess we just were good acclimatized. Statistics however were really bad this season. We saw groups with following success rates: 3 of 12, 3 of 15, 2 of 5, 0 of 4, and so on and so on. Most of them go up to fast. I would almost call it a scam. If they just tell us there itinerary, we already know just a few lucky ones will reach the summit. And off course, there guide and agency also know it. Success rates of the well acclimatized groups are above 80%, it’s that simple.
To be honest, I had a really hard time going down again. You go down again the 3 last days, so to start with, it is long, very long. I guess I was totally dehydrated. A mistake off course, but common known. You almost can’t drink the freezing cold water in the camelbags, so we had to manage with a one liter thermos for both of us, with some tea. Totally exhausted I reached our lodge in Khare.
Sabrina again was incredibly strong on high altitude. Only the cold can stop here, and we tackled that by starting with the first rays of sun.
People ask: “Would you do it again?”. Well, we are glad we made it. The trek as well as the mountain Mera, and all the views from the summit, are indescribable. But if I go through all this again, let it please be on another mountain. I would never do the same again.