Everest 2010: Week Two

March 29 – Good Morning Nepal
Hi this is TA calling in from the Gumpa at Bouksa at 2340 metres, I couldn’t get a signal last night to call in the update so I’m calling in this morning. We jus climbed up form the viliage of Kharikhola, were we spent the night. It took us about 5 ½ hours, and about 38 000 steps to get there. We had a great day, gained about 800 metres in elevation over the course of the day and then lost about 1400 metres. So it was a downer day for elevation but we will gain it all back and then lose much of it again today as we travel the up and down route. But it gives us lots of opportunity to developed great leg strength. Lots of baby animals along the trail yesterday, baby goats, baby chicks running around, and lots of greenery, there is a real sense of Spring having come to this part of the Himalaya. A wonderful day to get out walking and it is defiantly warmer when you get into the 2000 metre elevation range, and a little cooler when we hit the 28’s and 29’s. Looking forward to today, I will catch you from tonight.

March30 – Raindrops and Footsteps
Hi this is TA and Marian calling in from the village of Puyian at 2900 metres above sea level. We didn’t think that we would be here for the night but this wonderful inn keeper called us in out of the rain and sat us beside her fire and we just couldn’t leave after that. We have had a wonderful afternoon, being nice and warm and dry, enjoying her company, learning her Nepalese word for thunder and lightning. We were actually having a thunder and lightning storm this afternoon, but now we are enjoying a view of the mountains as it clears after the storm, with some fresh snow up at about 3600 or 4000 metres or so. Great day we gained about 890 metres, didn’t descend very much today so it was great to have gained it and kept it, about 3 hours and a bit of walking about 20 000 steps worth. We are just really enjoying life on this part of the trial we know that after tomorrow things will get a lot more crowd. So right now we are enjoying the quiet and enjoying Depaun’s (guide) company, had a great time showing him pictures of my family and of climbing on the ipod

March 31 – Lukla
Hi this is TA and Marian calling in from the village of Lukla. We are just sitting here watching the thunderheads gather in the valley below. Looks like we will have another big thunderstorm night, which will hopefully clear the air so that the rest of our expedition and trekking teams can get in from Kathmandu tomorrow. We are sitting across from the departures gates at the Sherpas coffee house inn, hoping that we will have folks to walk uphill with tomorrow.

We journeyed over from Puyian where we spent the night which is actually at 3900 metres, with Pemba Sherpa. We continued to have the most wonderful time with her, sharing pictures, she showed us pictures of her kids, learning about her life in the winter time, talking about snowshoes and actually finding a picture of snowshoes for her to see what we where talking about, so we had an absolutely magical day there.

A fine walk in here this morning dropping about 800 metres to Surkhe, and then climbing the 600 or 700 metres up here to Lukla, only two more big descents to go before we only walk uphill. Got in here about midday, enjoying the sights in Lukla and looking forward to the team being here and heading up to higher ground, and the adventures that will bring.

Lots of kids portering today which had me thinking about Rayne and Zander and wondering about how there lives would be different if they were here in Napal. defiantly a much more physical lifestyle for children here. Also saw women who appear to be grandmothers carrying large loads of greenery for the livestock and my thoughts went to Oma, and knowing the she actually had a very physical life in all its iterations, and I’m thinking about how I’m dedicating my efforts to her.

So sending our regards out to all of you thanks for following along and thanks to Earl for making that possible

We will catch you up along

April 1 – Old Home Day
Hi this is TA and Marian calling in from the village of Monju at 2800 metres. It has been the most exciting day, starting with the team flying into Lukla from Kathmandu. Seeing Jacintia, Natelle, and Nadia step off the plan and waving at them across the fence at Hillary Tenzing airport in Lukla. Also seeing Al Hancock come out of an airplane, he was the first Newfoundlander to summit Mount Everest he is climbing again with IMG. Also Phil Erscheler who I did an Elbrus attempt with in 2006, he is trekking in to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his summit. So it was old home day at Lukla today at our guest house, it was fun to see everyone.

Got everything all organized got some breakfast and headed out, we trekked for about 4 ½ hours today coming from Lukla to Monju, havinf lunch at Phakding. So getting everybody settled in, we are a big group with a bunch of Everest climbers, a bunch of trekkers, and a bunch of island peak climbers. So it is an exciting day to get everyone here and get everyone moving uphill. We are in good shape for our trip up to Namche tomorrow.

Pedometer says 24 162 steps today and 22 000 yesterday. Jacintia and I are both wondering if those numbers are a little low for 4 ½ hours of walking, but none the less I’m hoping you are getting out and doing some walking, gardening, snow shoveling, or whatever activity it is that makes you happy and gets you physically active.

Thinking about all of you, wherever it is you are tuning in.

Talk to you again tomorrow, thanks

April 2 – With Altitude Comes Clarity
Hi this is TA calling in from my favorite perch on top of the Jamling guest house here in Namche Bazaar at 3440 metres. We have had the most wonderful walk up here today, probably my best ever, we just took it super easy, and everybody got here in very very fine form. All the Newfoundland crew is doing fabulous and sending their love to all of you who are following along. We are all housed together tonight all five of us in the Gompa room, which is the prayer room. Its rather like the prayer hall of the monastery next door to the Jamling inn, a very special place to stay, we can tell there is an amazing energy in the room from folks meditating and praying.

So a really marvelous welcoming for me back here to Namche and for my overall sense of the expedition. My Buddhist mentor Susan once said that she wanted me to do a month long meditation retreat before I come back to Everest; she thought that would be very helpful. Of all the training I did, all the things that everyone could come up with, it was the one I wasn’t able to fit in schedule wise. So I have made the commitment to her and to myself, and it was reaffirmed today as I walked up the Namche hill, that I will look at this whole expedition as a meditation retreat. Knowing that in some ways the bulk of the expedition will be learning to work with my mind in the environment of intensity that is and Everest expedition.

We spun many prayer wheels today as we came in to Namche, and as I took each step and spun each prayer wheel my thoughts were of power, strength, and clarity. That clarity was the commitment to look at this expedition as a meditation retreat, and in some ways the real reason I wanted to come back to Everest was to have a better state of mind. I think, I got to a ruff start last time with both illness and different things so I wanted to just come in and have a sense that I’m at least on track so far with a great sense of relaxation. An aboriginal man that I meet several times on Signal Hill, sent me off with the thought of: enjoy your time, relax the mind, feel the power, and work with yourself. So as I’ve come back into the wonderful centre of Sherpa life which is the doorstep of every Everest expedition, that’s what I’m thinking about, working with myself, and relaxing my mind?

Greetings to all, it is all going well. Thanks again for following along

April 3 – Zopkios Keep Right
Hi this is TA calling in from my favorite high perch atop Namche Bazaar looking across at some alpenglow is beginning to form on the snowcapped peaks across the horizon. The sun is getting ready to set on another wonderful day here in Nepal, today was an acclimatization hike day, up to Kunde and Khumjung. Kunde is the location of the local hospital here, it was funded by the Hillary trust and some Canadian NGO’s as was the school in Khumjung. We paid a visit to both and of course had to stop in at the bakery. Ang Nima, who is one of the top staff members here welcomed us into his home and his wife cooked us a wonderful lunch and they presented us with cords blessed in India by some high lamas for protection as well as sending us off with Katas around our necks. Flat Stanley got his own Kata around his neck and also spun his first prayer wheel. Whenever you come up to a monastery there will be a bank of prayer wheels, you keep to the left and spin each wheel with your right hand. So we did a circuit around both the monastery here in Namche, and in Khumjung, and Kunde. So lots of rotating prayers where said by all

Earl reminded me that I haven’t been as good at calling off my steps of late. Today the pedometer read 19776, yesterday 17897, and the day before 24807, for 4.5 hours, 4 hours and 4 hours of walking respectively. So still a little but suspect, I tried putting it on my hip this morning as I walked over to the Saturday market here in Namche. Which is actually called Namche Bazaar, it is the commercial centre for this valley. Traders come from all over to bring their produce and goods here, and people come down from all over, so we wandered down there early this morning before our hike. A just the little hike from the guest house over to there yielded 2000 steps, that was with the pedometer on my hip I usually wear it on my pant leg. Today I tried it on a pocket and almost lost the pedometer when two Zopkios decided to lock horns right in front of us. That was kind of terrifying as some of our members almost got in the fray but fortunately they were able to climb up on a Mani stone and get out of the way, so excitement not on the mountain but just on the trails in Namche. For those of you who don’t know a Zopkios is a yak crossed with a cow. Why would you do such a thing? Well yaks don’t do well below Namche Bazaar but if you cross them with a cow they are able to go down valley further and be a beast of burden. So stay away from Zopkios and always keep to the inside of the trail when passing Zopkios or yaks because even though they look cuddly they are not.

TA signing out from Namche Bazaar, have a great evening, get out there and do those steps

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