Finally. After months of planning it’s time for action. No more just sitting around talking about it! I want to climb mountains. I want to run.
The flight to Kathmandu from Zurich was a long one – taking a couple of days – then it was one night there before we woke up early and were off on the next hop to Lukla. Getting closer. In fact, Freddie and I were drinking coffee in Lukla by 7 a.m. Easter Sunday.
Lukla (elev: 8,383 ft/2,860 m) is a small town in the Khumbu area of northeastern Nepal and a popular place for those heading to Everest and the Himalayas to arrive. It means “place with many goats and sheep,” but you can’t see many of them these days.
The Tenzing-Hillary airport in Lukla is something else to experience, with a short runway and a galloping takeoff on a downhill slope that literally drops off into the valleys 2,000 ft (610 m) below. The airport is surrounded by a chain link fence and actually patrolled by the Nepal armed police 24/7.
It was then time for a leisurely trek up valley, with an arrival in Namche in time for afternoon tea. The next day was supposed to be a rest day April 9 in Namche Bazaar at 11,286 ft (3,440 m), but somehow it just didn’t seem to work out. In the morning we set out with a small Pilatus PC-6 Porter aircraft to fly through the Khumbu Valley to take photos and video. Feeling satisfied (and with a full memory card) we returned to head off to the bakery for a second breakfast – now with good conscience.
Tomorrow will be a long day. I think we had better start with lots of coffee. We’re headed directly to Pheriche. At 14,340 ft (4,371 m) we’re slowly headed higher. Pheriche is in eastern Nepal and although mostly farmers live there raising potatoes and keeping yaks, with the climbing season is heating up many of them will be working as guides and Sherpa.
Action is getting closer… can’t wait.– Ueli