Monday, January 19, 2009
Beam me up Scotty
A strange thing for me to say, you may think. After all, I've signed up to go to Everest Base Camp in April. It's not exactly tropical weather there either. But that's different.
Here, the main thing that's getting me down is the lack of opportunity to go out and get some training. I need to start doing some exercise on Ben Hough or Ben Hynish, anything that involves going up. At the moment, however, our Tiree 'hills' are a quagmire.
In the meantime, I've been getting more gear together. The jacket featured today is my latest purchase, a Mountain Hard Wear Sub-Zero jacket. This was recommended to me by my friend Jon Miller of The Rest of Everest Video Podcast. He's been to the area, oh, twice now I reckon and he's heading out there again in May leading a party of photographers on a trek to - yes, you guessed it - Everest Base Camp. (Sadly, we're going to miss each other by only about a week.) I wrote to him and told him I was dismayed to see that most down jackets - essential for getting through the night in the cold of high altitude - seemed to cost somewhere between £200 - £300. Jon soon put me right: the Sub-Zero is the jacket he's been using for years and it's nowhere as expensive as the ones I'd been looking at.
Other recent purchases have included a 4-Season sleeping bag. This should keep me warm in my tent at night. It is effective to temperatures of -12 centigrade (about 10.4 degrees fahrenheit). I read an interesting BBC blog a little while ago about a lady who went to Everest Base Camp. She spoke about going into her sleeping bag at night with all her clothes on.
I may not have mentioned it before but almost all the overnight stops on the trip will be spent in tents. I'll be sharing with another single male.
In case you're interested, here's the itinerary for my trip, lifted from KE Travel's brochure:
Day 1. Rendezvous at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Complimentary airport transfers are provided. KE group package services begin with the evening meal.
Day 2. An early start for the dramatic flight through the mountains to Lukla. After lunch we have a short trek to our first night's halt at Phakding (2610m. / 8563ft.). Camp.
Day 3. Following the Dudh Kosi valley upstream we cross and re-cross the river before making a final steep climb to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar (340m. / 11,155ft.). Camp.
Day 4. A rest day at Namche for acclimatisation. There is the option of a day hike to the Sherpa villages of Khumjung and Kunde for views of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. Camp.
Day 5. Our trail now follows the Imja Khola (river) to reach Thyangboche (3860m. /12,665ft.), located on a ridge below the impressive north ridge of Kang Taiga . Camp.
Day 6. We trek via the last permanent habitation of Pangboche to the seasonal settlement of Dingboche (4410m. / 14,470ft.) at the entrance to the Khumbu Valley. Camp.
Day 7. We make a day hike into the upper Imja Valley, to Chukkung (4730m. / 15,518ft.) below the tremendous 3,000 metre south face of Lhotse. After lunch we return to Dingboche. Camp.
Day 8. Continuing on the main trail we trek via Dugla and then beside the Khumbu Glacier to Lobuche (4910m. / 16,110ft.). Camp.
Day 9. We walk beside the Khumbu glacier and cross a tributory dry glacier to reach the Yak pastures at Gorak Shep. (5140m. / 16,865ft.) Camp.
Day 10. The big day as we trek to Everest Basecamp following first the moraine then the Khumbu Glacier itself. We then retrace our steps to Gorak Shep. Camp.
Day 11. Our camp is at the foot of Kala Patar and we make an early morning ascent of this classic Everest viewpoint to around 5500m. / 18,000ft. Afterwards we descend to Pheriche (4270m. / 14,000ft.). Camp.
Day 12. Our return trek follows the main base camp trail via Pangboche to Thyangboche (3860m. / 12,664ft.). Camp.
Day 13. We return to Namche Bazaar and continue to the village of Monjo close to the entrance of the Sagamatha National Park. Camp.
Day 14. Mostly downhill today following the fall of the Dudh Kosi river, but there's a sting in the tail as we make the final short climb to Lukla. Camp.
Day 15. Taking a morning flight to Kathmandu, we will have plenty of time after lunch for further sightseeing or shopping. Hotel.
Day 16. KE group package services end after lunch. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.
I can't wait. There's so much to be done between now and then but even so I'm looking forward to it so much!