Wednesday 7 October 2009

Late Late Monsoon - Flew From Lukla this Morning

I got up in Lukla this morning at 5 and was in the Vajra Hotel in Kathmandu at 8:30. The system although chaotic works as it does in any third world country. You just have to go with the flood of humanity. Pasang the old owner of the Coffee Shop hotel in Lukla was outstanding. He blessed us with a prayer scarf. Popped up at the check-out desk and checked us in and greased the wheels like a Mr Femi and hugged me goodbye. I was very touched. The planes landed and took off at 10 minute intervals and literally from touch down to load up was 10 minutes and there was a sea of frantic activity. The landing strip has a gradient of 25 deg and a length I suspect inferior to many aircraft carriers. The plane taxied to the very top of the strip, reved up to terminal propeller velocity and we shot off down the runway and hurtled over the Duhd Kosi.

Yesterday as I arrived in Lukla I bumped into Sandy Allan and his clients on their way to Ama Dablam. Sandy was in good form. Looking older than when I last saw him. We talked about his recent ascent of Nanga Parbat. Also caught up on Rick.

The weather has turned for the worst. Seems like a good time to quit the mountains - temporarily at least. As we flew across the foothills there was mist everywhere and it is raining hard. The monsoon started late and is continuing late. This is not good for the rice harvest which should be happening now but is delayed.

We spent 29 days on our trek. It feels to me like a marathon walk. But I am now fitter than I have been in the last 20 years and my batteries are recharged. Dunbadur Tamang and Chiring looked after me as one of thier own. We had a fabulous time together. I will cherish the memories of setting off at 4 in the morning and watching the sunrise as the high Himalaya revealed itself. They never lost their enthusiasm even as I wearied and kept me going.

Today I will deliver my B&W negatives to Kirin. I have >8000 digital shots. Will start to post some of these tomorrow.

Best wishes


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