Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Everest NE Ridge Expedition 2011

For the next 70 days I'm working as a co-leader on the 2011 Adventure Peaks Everest expedition. The full team of 13 climbers & 2 leaders successfully conquered Kathmandu when we all arrived on time, in the right place, with all our equipment. A quick turn around was in order as we were due to make an early morning flight to Lukla the following day. For a variety of reasons we have opted to acclimatise on the normal trekking route to the south side of Everest as far as Ama Dablam base camp. This means we should then be able to make the overland journey from Kathmandu to the North side of Everest in a couple of days. The trekking in the Khumba region is one of the world's great journeys and we intend to make full use of the good food and accommodation afforded by the teahouses to enable us to arrive on the mountain fit, healthy and acclimatised.

We survived a very memorable flight in to the infamous airport at Lukla. Tension was heightened when severe turbulence caused the air hostess, who makes the journey several times a day, to grab Chris' leg in fright. Other aircraft returned to Kathmandu but our pilot persevered and we made a smooth landing on the severely short and inclined runway. A gentle afternoon's walk brought us to the village of Phakding and a very luxurious teahouse with en-suite toilet and shower facilities.

Today we have continued our trek making a leisurely ascent to Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpa region which also gave us our first views of Everest. The trail is incredibly quiet this early in the season but absolutely stunning with the flowers and blossom of spring. We plan to spend two nights here obeying the traditional mantr of climbing high & sleeping low. Tomorrow's highlight should be apple pie in Khumjung at just under 4000m with amazing views of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. www.adventurepeaks.com