Thursday, December 27, 2007

Everest Schedule

As things shape up, an itinerary for Mt. Everest is beginning to form. Training ongoing, here are some of the major events:

January 05-06: Mt Rainier West Side Highway to Gobbler's Knob fire station lookout.

January 19-20: Mt Rainier summit climb up Gibraltar Ledges with Seattle Mountain Rescue teammates Scott Staton and Gordy Smith, both highly experienced mountaineers in their own right and technically competent on Rainier. Gib Ledges follows the same line as the DC route up to Camp Muir, but then ascends straight up the spine out of Muir rather than follow the DC route across to Cathedral Gap. Gib Ledges can only be climbed in winter when snow accumulates on the ledges allowing passage to the summit.

February 20-26: Mt Fuji summit climb up the Yoshigaduchi Route. Typically climbed in the summer months, Mt Fuji transforms itself into a technically challenging mountain in the winter when it is rarely climbed. Last winter I attempted this climb with Dana Demer but was turned back when the day grew late and we recognized we didn't have adequate gear for an overnight. Flying to Japan with me will be teammates Scott Staton (SMR), Sgt Brent Huntington, HM2 Pat Peterson, and LCpls Peter Leonard & Scott Schactler (A Co, 4th LSB). Staying at the New Sanno in downtown Tokyo, we will transit to the mountain via Kawakujiko Station and depart from the base of the mountain, rather than 2/3 of the way up as is possible in the summer months. Based on weather conditions, we will be overnighting on the mountain and returning to Tokyo the following day.

~March 20: Travel to SE Asia (Singapore, Shanghai or Bangkok) for stepping off point on journey. While there, meet up with old friends and enjoy familiar cities not seen in several years.

March 24 – 27: Arrive Kathmandu and check into the Yak & Yeti Hotel (http://www.yakandyeti.com/), located in the Durbar Marg district. Meet up with Henny, one of my friends who lives in Kathmandu for some shopping and touring through places like Swayambunanth Stupa, a Buddhist temple with prayer flags descending from the highly ornate steeple and situated on a small hill that offers outstanding views of the city. Durbar Square, a World Heritage Site is also a wonderful place to visit with its surrounding temples and markets. Henny and I will be grabbing dinner at one of the local restaurants and catching up while I force myself onto local time. We will also be wrapping up last minute paperwork & the prohibitively expensive Nepal Government climbing permits at this time. More on Kathmandu later- it's a wonderful city and deserves further description for sure.

March 28: The team will fly to the Himalayan foothills where we will begin our trek into the Khumbu region. After landing in the village of Lukla (9,350'), the team will meet our porters and continue on ~2 1/2 hours to Phakding (8,700').

March 29: Continue trekking along the banks of the Dudh Kosi, crossing this majestic river many times on wild suspension bridges laden with prayer flags. After entering Sagamartha National Park at Jorsale, the trail climbs steeply with breathtaking views up to Namche Bazaar. The gateway to the Khumbu region at 11,300', Namche Bazaar is a colorful village with dozens of shops and vendors, fabulous food and views of the surrounding mountains and where we will rest for a few days. If of interest, this is where we can take an early hike above town before the clouds move in to reward us with a reportedly spectacular Himalayan sunrise and views of Everest, Lhotse, and Aba Dablam. On the way down, we can visit the Sherpa Museum that displays an exhibit on traditional Sherpa lifestyle as well as a fabulous photography collection that concentrates on Sherpa traditions and Sherpa high altitude climbers.

March 31: The trek continues along the Dudh Kosi with rushing clear blue rivers and magnificent views of the mountains. We will stay the night at Thyangboche monastery at 12,887' where we will receive our Bhuddist monk blessings and find what is reportedly one of the best views in the world. Inside the monastery are incredibly ornate wall hangings, a 20-foot sculpture of Buddha, and the musical instruments and robes of the Lamas. If our group is lucky, we will get to see the Lama perform a ceremony and listen to the mystical chanting and music.

April 1: From Thyangboche, the trail drops to Debuche, crosses a wild bridge on the Imja Khola River, and then climbs to the village of Pangboche where incredible mani stones line the path. The uphill trek continues, taking us to the quaint traditional Sherpa village of Dingboche (14,250') with its exquisite views of Lhotse, Island Peak, and Aba Dablam. We will rest in Dingboche with the opportunity to take additional acclimatization hikes for valley and mountain shots if of interest.

April 3: From Dingbouche, the trail traverses along farmlands and meadows before continuing up the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. Our path skirts along the glacier’s edge to the Italian Research Station where we will dine on great Italian food and get into showers and real beds. Ahh, the Italians..

April 4: After an early morning start, we ascend Kala Pattar (18,450') and enjoy famous views of the Himalayas; then descend from this viewpoint and continue on to Base Camp on Khumbu Glacier, at the foot of the icefall.

April 5 - May 4: Doug celebrates his 38th birthday by arriving at Everest Base Camp (17,500') on the jumbled moraine below the infamous Khumbu Icefall. There we spend some time acclimatizing. The next several weeks are spent negotiating the Khumbu Icefall, entering the Western Cwm, and climbing to Camp III (23,500'). Our objective for the next 3 to 4 weeks is to establish and stock three camps above base camp and to acclimatize for the climb to the summit. We sleep at Camp III for a night or two before heading down to base camp to rest before our summit bid.

May 5 - 9: With everybody fit and acclimatized, we head back to base camp. For the next 5 days rest is top priority. We visit with trekkers, eat, rest, eat, rest, and prepare for the summit bid.

May 10 - 31: Somewhere in here, our team will climb to Camp II, then to Camp III and finally to the South Col where we place our final camp at 26,000 feet. Our summit target date is between May 15 through the 25. We will stay at base camp to wait for good weather or until the monsoon arrives at the end of May. After summiting, we will spend 3-5 days moving back down to Kathmandu, flying out of Lukla.

May 31: Return home and rejoin the working world.

1 comment:

nepalwriter said...

Sherpas are the true hereos of Everest. To learn more about this amazing tribe, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view.

Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to [www] beyondthesummit-novel.com

Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
Richard Blake for Readers Views.

A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest. EverestNews.com

A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review

LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

LeBlanc’s vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week

A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there. USABookNews.com

This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.”
– John (college professor)

Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialogue. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA

This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels

Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.
By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina)

Available through Barnes and Noble, Borders, amazon.com, Chesslerbooks.com, and the web site