On May the 12th 2011 I achieved my dream to climb
Mt Everest the worlds highest mountain. This was a culmination of years of high altitude mountain climbing, physical and mental training... Read more
Posted on Sunday 8th April, 2012
Here I am back in Kathmandu at the beautiful Hotel Courtyard and Michelle has surprised me once again with an even more amazing room than the last one! I am sitting at a desk looking out to the rooftops in a stylish white and black furnished ‘apartment room’ that looks like it would fit right in if it were in New York. Don’t even get me started on how comfortable the bed was last night when my whole body was aching from the big warm up trek Dawa and I did!
So rather than prattle on for hours I will just show you how our acclimatisation trek in the Khumbu region went with photos. I am certainly feeling strong and acclimatised now and after a few days of good food, a massage and some rest, will certainly be ready to tackle the next part of my adventure, Manaslu.
Dawa and I packed our bags and flew into Lukla then hiked to Monjo on the first day and Namche on the second. Here I am crossing the last suspension bridge before heading up the big hill to Namche. I felt much better going up this hill than I did last year and I had a heavier pack as I didn’t have a porter this time…
My friend Tsedam Sherpa owns a gear store in Namche and also a Guesthouse called the Zamling which I always stay at. The family are all so friendly and it always feels so homely there and they have delicious food too! His daughter Kami Doma works at the local school as a teacher and they also run a Hostel for children to stay at while school is on so they don’t have to walk for hours each day to get there. The family sponsors some poor children to stay there so they can go to school and they also adopted Regina into the family, so they have huge hearts. Tsedam told me the kids need some down jackets so I am getting 10 made to bring to the kids when I climb Lhotse, its only costing around $200…. I would buy more but I can’t afford to so if anyone feels like contributing than let me know. I am personally delivering them.
The next day we hiked up Khunde Ri which is 4100mt to help acclimatise. Its up above Khunde village which is behind Namche…
After we had lunch in Kunde we came back to Namche and had a looks at the local markets. Loads of organic veges for sale as people can’t afford to buy fertilizers most of the fruit and vege in Nepal is organic. So awesome!! I bought some delicious mandarins.
After 2 nights in Namche we left the Zamling and headed to Dawa’s wifes sisters (Ang Dzungmu) lodge! If that makes sense?? Its a really nice Lodge in Deboche and its called Rivendell, yes from Lord of the Rings….some foreigner helped name it! Annoyingly as it is so nice, big and clean heaps of big groups stay there. This time we arrived to have 45 Chileans there, massive group, can you imagine hiking to base camp with 45 people in your group?! So we only stayed one night. This is the view of Everest and Lhotse from the front of Rivendell.
The next day we continued up the Everest valley to Pengboche to see the Lama Geshi and get his blessing for our Manaslu climb. Once again he tied string around my neck, blessed my summit necklace, tied it on and gave me a card to take to the summit… also he blessed our khata scarves then we tied them on our backpacks.
We continued on to Phortse to spend the night at the start of the Gokyo valley. The next day we hiked to Machermo which is around 4500m before hiking to Gokyo to spend 2 nights. It is at 4800m so great to stay and acclimatise. Once again we hiked up Gokyo Ri 5360m and I got a PB of 1 hour and 27min to the top! Last year it took 1 hour and 50 min so I was pretty chuffed.
Dawa put some prayer flags up on the highest part of the ridge for good luck for Ang Dzungmu. The next day we headed off to cross Renjo Pass and go all the way to Thame. It was a massive hike with packs! It took us 3 hours to get up to the top of the pass which is 5400m and then we didn’t arrive in Thame until 6pm that night, exhausted. However I was very pleased to see they had steak on the menu!!
So it was another massive day the next day because I wanted to go all the way from Thame to Lukla. We woke up to a big surprise, it had dumped down snow overnight so we got off to a slow start. It was really pretty though.
Even Namche which is much lower got lots of snow. We stopped at the Zamling for lunch and then continued on down the valley. Caught up with my friends Willie and Damien Benegas at Phakding who are guiding on Everest again. At this point I was exhausted. Dawas friend was hiking with us and he had left Everest base camp at 6:30am and was headed to Lukla too! He decided he wanted to carry my pack to speed me up and I didn’t say no!! We still arrived at Lukla in the dark after 7pm, very sore and very hungry. What an epic last two days hike!! It had been a fantastic trip thats for sure and certainly helped me to feel strong at altitude and renew my enthusiasm for pack carrying before the real hard work begins.
It was so wonderful to arrive back to the Courtyard to see Michelle and Pujan again. Also Margaret Watroba, Australias oldest female Everest summiteer is here! If people read my Everest blog they will remember that we discovered we were on the summit at the same time last year when we got back to the Hotel at the end of our expeditions!! We were so excited to found this out after looking at my summit photo. Anyhow she is here to climb Everest again! By the way she is 62 and she is heading off to do it from the north side this time with Altitude Junkies… which is fitting as that is definitely what she is. She is so inspiring to me and I can only hope to be as fit, positive and motivated as she is when I am of that age. We are both raising money for the Australian Himalayan Foudation. Today Bhim from their NGO here in Nepal came to see us and show us a presentation of all the amazing work they are doing with the schools. It nearly made me cry to see the difference they are making. I am almost at a loss for words actually. Before they started working with the schools they never had books, libraries or anything. The teachers were so strict and even used canes to discipline the kids. There was no such things as grades even! However now there is a huge difference in teaching, the communities, the parents and the resources. It makes my heart melt to think how big a difference this work makes to the community as a whole. More kids are coming school and they have books to read. There is no more cane and school is a happy place where the teachers are now creative and even have paints and coloured textas to decorate classrooms. I know this sounds so normal to us westerners but it is a huge change for them here.
With Margaret after Bhim gave us special scarves for helping raise money for the kids. Please people if you can just click on the donate link on the side of my page even if its a few dollars you can spare. This is a real charity, a registered organisation that makes a definite difference to peoples lives here. Nothing would make Margaret and I happier.
So thats it for now. Off to get a massage and eat a massive dinner. Tomorrow Dawa and I go food shopping for Manaslu then I am off to see his wife Lakpa and his family in Kathmandu. We head in with the two Canadians, who I still have to meet, on the 11th. I will be blogging using the satellite phone as a modem from now on. This means a dial up connection so not as photos sorry folks! Thanks so much for all your support.