Date: May 07, 2008
Participants: Chris, Rudra, Mohana, Thakur, Kumar, Hitesh, Prakash, Nishchal, Surendra, Aashish, Keshav, Vishnu
Route: Lukla to Namche
Report By: EBC Team/Pallavi
Photos: Keshav, Kumar, Rudra, Surendra, Prakash , Nishchal,
Happily working and right then the telephone rings at my workstation.Oblivious to the conversation that is taking place, my heart skips a beat when one of my colleagues says “It is for you, Rudra is on the line”. Before I even get up from my seat, I can only feel myself questioning my own self “Now what have I done to get The Call? I can’t remember any misdeed of such magnitude to be the recipient of the call. About two minutes later as I hook the receiver onto the set, I feel a sigh of relief. Nevertheless, I had been just been assigned the “Everest” Task-Everest by all means for me because the last article that I wrote was an essay in the tenth grade and I am the last person when it comes to being blog savvy. I somehow see myself doing the uphill task of coming up with an article to be featured in the “Featured Section” on Everest Uncensored and I can’t help but feel ignominious and excited at the same time about the fact that I would be featured alongside EU legends I feel myself answering Rudra’s favourite question to the D2-ites about being challenged as “Yes yes yes!”. Nothing is insurmountable and I try my best to come up with something that is readable.
THE JOURNEY BEGINS
“Once I reached Shivapuri peak at 2800m (please check), I felt like I had won a big competition. All of us in the team were winners. There was not losing. What a game – everyone could win!” – excerpts from Rudra Pandey’s diary, April 2005, after the first hiking from Budhanilkantha to Shivapuri.
Rudra comes back to office the following day and decides that the weekly hiking series as part of outdoor sport for the D2-ites. Vishhu joins the hiking team and starts coordinating the weekly event. After a couple of months it is decided that the top hikers would be rewarded with a D2-sponsored trek to the Everest Base Camp.
About 18 months later, on 7th May 2008 all the hikers arrive at the Tribhuwan International to board the flight to Lukla. Keshav reaches recollecting the events of the day before when he had taken half day leave just to shop for his trip. Nischal is far more excited to be a part of the trip, much more than anybody else. Nischal is the last minute entrée as Bhaskar pulls out of the trip due to some reasons. On his way to the airport on a taxi, Kumar is unencumbered by the agility with which the meter reading has been traversing through the digits only to know minutes later that the charge is 1.5 times the normal rate because it isn’t 6 AM yet. Rudra and Chris arrive at the airport in the office vehicle followed by Mohana, Hitesh, Prakash, Aashish, Thakur and Surendra.
After the hastle that is usual with the TIA, the hikers board theYeti Airlines for Lukla. As the flight taxies through the runway, Mohana follows Chris’s advice and takes the left side of the aircraft to get a view of the Himalayas. Tour-de-Everest officially begins.
“A small aircraft, it flew through a corridor of mountains and landed on the side of a cliff.” – Mohana Lohani
An hour later as he steps out of the aircraft, Lukla airport reminds Kumar of the James Bond movie “Golden eye”.
As the aircraft takes off and disappears in the distant horizon the hikers finish their warmup breakfast and head towards Phakding. Overwhelmed and full of excitement, the hikers move real quick and Phakding is reached in no time. The hikers are caught by surprise by the variety of facilities available at the hotel at Phakding. As the day settles and dawn creeps in unfolding the night, the hikers gather for dinner and discuss the day’s journey.
“..we were being served food by a quite an elderly looking Sherpa who also wiped the table before serving. Somehow our conversation reached US and five minutes later we had a completely different perspective of the man. He told us that he almost regularly goes to US every summer with his family once the trekking season is off in Nepal and that Boston happens to be in his least preferred cities. No doubt the guy was rich, very rich and could afford a break from work and yet he was working. Everybody worked and worked irrespective of their wealth.”- Hitesh Karki
The real accent to Namche begins. Savoring the beauty and breathtaking view of the mountains and the terrain, the hikers continue pausing once in a while to take photographs. After a couple of hours, the first suspension bridge appears and as they walk through the bridge a knot jolts up their stomach as the bridge quivers and the hikers get a feel of why it is so aptly called the “jhulunge pool”;there are four more to be crosses before they reach Namche. Chris guides the team and the rest can’t help but be awed by his navigation skills
“Chris’s navigation often forced me to pause and think for a moment and get that ‘Isn’t this my country’ – and shouldn’t I be knowing better – feeling in me”-Hitesh Karki
As the sun shines directly overhead, the hikers feel the rays piercing through their skin.The final stretch to Namche is even more difficult than expected. The terrain becomes more precipitated, the trail becomes steep and narrow nevertheless the hikers continue.
“Namche, small town in Khumbu region, was surrounded by big Rocky Mountains and difficult life even to earn a daily meal. Despite this hardness, it was full of natural beauty, snow-covered adamant mountains around the horizon…teaching us to work harder and become happy.” –Thakur Gyawali
Namche is a miniature Thamel at an altitude of 3440 metres boasting hotels, shops, restaurants and internet cafés.
“ The village undoubtedly was the best I have ever seen. It had everything – nicely decorated houses (all the houses had green corrugated sheet roofs) with water supply and electricity. We also stumbled across a board that read ‘24 hrs internet service’ and ‘download your songs into your IPOT” –Hitesh Karki
Even the Khumbu Hotel where the hikers are spending the night boasts the facilities comparable with a 3-star hotel in Kathmandu.
“Just imagine such a luxury at this remote place 3280m, where everything has to be ported by a porter or in yaks and mules” – Kumar Pradhanang
Tiredness has slowly started creeping in as the hikers bid the day good bye.Namche is the final destination for the 5 directors.
The hikers climb upto the Everest View Hotel –the highest located hotel in the world to get a glimpse of the Everest but to their dismay thick clouds settle in and block the view. The hikers decide to circumnavigate along Khumjung and Kunde valley.
Khunjung is also known as Edmund Hillary village in recognition of the contributions made by Sir Edmund Hillary for the development of the region including infrastructure development of schools and hospitals.
“One man’s effort had managed to touch hundreds of lives and yet we have places far more easily accessible than Khumjung and people languish for basics facilities. “Commitment” seemed to be the message the village was giving to the visitors.” –Hitesh Karki
“children at Khumjung who refused to take photographs claiming that we will sell those pictures to make money.” –Thakur Gyawali
The Khumjung Monastery has an element of surprise. Stored in a sealed glass chamber was what the locals called a Yeti skull. Equally amazed and discombobulated, the hikers cant help but talk about the Yeti and fantasize on their way to the National Conservation Park.
“There it was: Mt Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku etc. The view we experienced from the park were superb. I felt that my wish of seeing Everest has been fulfilled.”-Mohana Lohani
Next was the descent back to Lukla. As they descend back to Lukla, a 14-year old porter ferries some goods to Lukla. As the porter greets the hikers with a warm smile unburdened by the weight much more than his own on his back, the hikers feel a surge of realization and introspection.
“We could see porters carrying weight much more than their own weight on their back all the way up which was harder for us to hike. One wrong step can cost them their life. And I felt like this is not fair enough at times. But this is how life is; we need to be lucky enough, work harder enough during our earlier days to be in position to enjoy the luxury. A question hunted me during my hike till today – What if I was born in a simple porter’s family?” – Prakash Manandhar
The directors are flown back to Lukla to board the flight. Bad weather delays the flight and the hikers take a day off.
“After collage days this was the only time I had such a day of doing nothing. The flight costs about 7800, then meal ranges any where btw 200-500. Special room at Namche costs $15 and $20 while a common room with for 5 cost 200 each. A bottle of mineral water costs 150 Rupees” –Kumar Pradhanang
For the directors, it is Mission Accomplished. For the rest of the group the journey is far more than complete………..
01 All set for Lukla
02 Journey begins at Lukla
03 Run way at Lukla Airport
04 Lukla Map
05 New road at Lukla
06 No-trucks no pickup this is the Mountain transportation
07 Place to stay in future
08 Marching forward
09 Local cuisine Potato pan cake
10 New Nepal’s Phakding
11 Good Morning Phakding
12 Team Spirit
13 Where is the other half?
14 Through the thick Namche Jungle
15 Bridge made espaecially for her
16 Through the two hills
17 Storing the energy
18 Serpentine paths
19 The last peak on the horizon is Namche
20 Dancing clouds
21 Hanging by the moment
22 Wild Jharal
23 Himalayan Truck
24 Deforestation on the rise
25Welcome to Namche
26 Gate way to the destination
27a Bird eye view of Namche
27b East view of Namche
28 Namche Stupa
29 Saturday Namche Market
30 From Kathmandu
31a Last chance to buy your needs
31b Team for Namche Khumjung Kunde to Namche
32 Accent Begins
33 Hotel at highest altitude
34 View from Everest View Hotel
35 Sometime even the mountains are shy
36 Turns and curves
38 Dream home