Saturday 19 September 2009

Lukla Little Bit Up Little Bit Down

Arrived in Lukla the airport entry to the Khumbu this morning.

The bus journey from kathmandu to Jirri, the roadhead, was freightening. The road got narrower and narrower and with it my temperature rose. We followed the ravines around. The worrying thing was passing other buses. Because of the Monsoon the verge was very soft and we had to negotiate onto the verge beside enormous drops. Anyhow an hour from Jirri ( 8 hours out) the bus stopped and there was huge comotion. The passengers were looking into a ditch. It took some time before it became clear that a school boy had fallen off the roof. He was still coherent but had a nasty bump on the head. So we dropped him off at the Jirri hospital. The following day I found out that one of the buses had indeed gone in to the ravine with the loss of 50+ passengers.

There followed 9 wonderful days of treking in the foothills. Each day starting the same. DB / Chiring and Purna and I would set off at 7am. The mornings were hot and we traversed west - east across the foothills. Going up in the morning and generally down in the afternoon!!! The afternoons generally have been rainy. And there has been the occassional leech but like the west coast midge nothing to get too excited about!! We were the only westerns around bar three others that we met so the isolation was real. We crossed the Lamjung Jura at 3650m in very misty surreal conditions.

We took a rest day at Junbaise and DB and I visited the Thupten Choling monastrey. DB introduced me and I found this out later, as a British Buddist. So we had free access and worshipped with firstly the nuns and then the monks. There are 350 nuns and 85 monks and it is the biggest Gompa outside Kathmandu. It was a moving experience sitting there listening to their incantations. I was very surprised by how tactile the nuns were!!!!!

Life on the road is basic. Few trekkers come this way preferring to fly to Lukla. The great advantage for me is that I have been getting fitter and acclimitised. Having started at a low level!!! Intially I was stiff but now am going well!!!! I am surviving on a diet of Dhal Bat and fried rice and eggs.

When we crossed the Dudh Kosi things became markedly different. The ravine is very tight indeed and impressively steep. We walked yesterday along the narrowest of paths in the forest. Alongside precipitous drops. When it began to clear in the early evening the scene beneath us was like a boiling pot of mist. Awe inspirring. We stayed the night with Pemba Galijen Sherpa and his wonderful family of wife and three girls. It came as no surprise that he summitted on Everest in 1993 and has supported ever thereafter. This he says is his last year. He spent three months at BC living up at camp 2. It was interesting what he had to say about the change in the Khumbu icefall in this short time. It has collapsed and the crevasse and seracs are much less intimidating. There is more rock. Eventually he predicts it will disappear.

Tomorrow, with my band of merry gentlemen we will head off to Namche and the big mountains beyond. Apologies no images but this is not my computer.


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