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The Everest Journals: #3  On The Trail To Everest

By: Mike Swarbrick  March 29 2005

 Kathmandu to Namche Bazarre:

It always seems to happen when visiting a new country, especially in the third world. People can get sick from the new bacteria that their bodies aren’t used to. Shaunna’s Mother, Lynn and her Aunt Julie, who paid their own way to come along for the trek, became ill in Kathmandu and missed the plane to Lukla. Gary Hartlin, our assistant communications technician also came down with a flu like bug in Phakding so we left him to rest in bed under the supervision of our best camp staff, Lakpa Sherpa.  Ben and one of our climbing Sherpa’s, Babu, returned early yesterday morning to Lukla to meet the ladies at the airport and move them up the trail to Phakding where they rested last night in the company of Gary. This morning they will all continue up the trail to join the rest of us in Namche Bazarre.

     Namche is officially considered the Sherpa capital of the world and is built on the side of a steep 3,500 m. mountainside. The houses and yards have been stepped into the mountainside and are beautifully painted, predominantly in blues, white, greens and deep, dark red. It is a thriving little market town in the climbing Seasons, alive with passing trekkers and mountaineering expeditions. We are here for three days while the team is being re-assembled and we will use our time to tour and report on the Hillary School and Khunde Hospital just North of Namche at an altitude of 3,800 m.

     Our trek in from Lukla to Phakding then Phakding to Namche was one of winding switch-back trails, bouncy high suspension bridges and wonderous mountain vistas. Everest herself peaked into view at one elevated turn and gave one pause at the distance yet to cover in order to reach her. Yak trains and Human traffic were plentiful, which made the ascents and descents a little precarious at times. The rule of thumb here, is to high-side it to the inside when the Yak’s pass to avoid being knocked from the exposed cliff-side trails. There are times though when a little danger seems somewhat unavoidable. On the switchback portions, one hugs the cliff-side, allowing the Yak trains to pass on the outside. You quickly realize though that there are more of these large beasts on the trail directly above you. When this happened to me, my next group of thoughts, rapidly involved gravity and Murphy’s Law, but I found little choice but to remain where I was while coiling my legs a bit in order to spring out of harms way in case it began to rain Yaks. 

     In all seriousness, we are all doing tremendously well and are looking forward to the next leg of our journey, the Tengboche Monastery.

Thanks for joining in. More soon.


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