Open the PDF version of the 2013 blog to the right.
Always (ALWAYS) a sad farewell to Nepal, particularly for those who have grown to Love her.
Last night, we offered to take our favorite driver Laxman out for dinner. His choice for restaurant. He selected a traditional Nepalese restaurant outside the Thamel area. Nice night.
Laxman drove us to airport today and it was a sad farewell before departing for Bangkok. We were anticipating a few fun hours in Bangkok and a bit of sleep before awakening and departing on our 8.15am Melbourne flight in the morning, but I guess you can get jet lagged after a 3hr flight because most of the team were too tired to do anything when we got here....! A quick walk up and down one of the night markets and that was it...!
Perhaps not a bad thing given our alarms are set for 4.45am.
Greg. Almost recovered
Me. Slowly recovering
Nicole. Gone backwards a few notches..!
Ok, so I'm hearing some of you are asking where we are and what we've been doing.
Sorry for going quite...!!
After our successful return to Kathmandu from Lukla, we quickly organised an escape to lovely Pokhara (Nepals 2nd largest city) for some well earned R&R&R (recovery from illness). Only the 5 of us Vic's as the QLD lads had spent some days down there before the trek. We booked a van to drive us down there and set off last Tuesday for the 5 1/2hr drive through the real country of Nepal.
By now, we had all come down with the chest and throat infection that young Andrew had been battling throughout the trek. We decided to buy some no brand cough syrup and pumped some double dose into each of us for the drive down. Result? Greg, Ray and I almost knocked out cold for much of the drive...! No warnings on the syrup, but we suspect it may have been one of those night time formulas that put you to sleep.
The next day I had totally lost my voice (more humor for Ray). Greg and Ray perhaps not quite as bad. Nicole still battling a bad cough, and Sue at this stage spared of any symptoms.
All 5 of us had a terrific paraglide yesterday afternoon from one of the high peaks above Pokhara. Brilliant. Due to ongoing Maoist strikes throughout the country, most main roads were blocked and closed yesterday, so the paragliding company had to drive us to the top of the mountain via an alternative "secret" track. We were seated in one 4 wheel drive with an all up 16 on board...!! Yep, 6 in the dual cab, 6 in the rear ute, 2 hanging from the back and 2 from the sides, all edging the vehicle on and climbing steeply on switchbacks for 45min....! Wow...! Finally we got to the top, met our pilots, buckled in and commenced our 30-40min flying like a bird back down. All of us loved it.
We flew back to Kat this morning (30min flight) only to find another political party had called its own strike in Kathmandu...! Again, no shops open and limited taxi services. This makes a total of 3 days of crippling strikes since we have been here. Lucky we hadn't planned to do much today anyway.
We again tried to bring forward our departure from Saturday to tomorrow but still no available seats, so further rest and recovery tomorrow.
Hoping we can continue to gain some strength and recovery overnight.
Somewhere in Nepal...
I just love Lukla....! Last night we bid farewell to our support crew. All our Porters and head Guide were paid up and tipped accordingly. There was significant gratitude and even some emotion as each Porter made a special effort to warmly hug each and every one of us. What a great support team to work with. Always smiling, dragging our bags to 5,545mtrs and staying with and assisting some of our slower team members into camp each night (11.30pm one night) under headlight. I truly LOVE the Nepalese..!
Then a wonderful night sleeping in Lukla under sheets and not sleeping bags, and a wonderful flushing toilet and boiling hot shower.
We awoke to a lovely morning and were promptly marched over to the Lukla airport terminal ("terminal" perhaps a little complimentary .!)
Our plane arrived and we all buckled in for the classic Lukla "slingshot" departure, with the plane using every inch of the short runway. (Don't blame us, we have all lost weight..!!).
25min later we touched down........but NOT in Kathmandu..!! As we descended, we anticipated the city and the bitumen runway of Kathmandu International, instead we saw paddocks, cows and a bumpy gravel potholed runway...!! Apparently Kathmandu airport was closed sometime after our Lukla departure and our plane was requested to make a diversion and wait at a small precautionary landing strip half way..! What a buzz. We hopped off the plane and watched 3 other Lukla flights make the same landing to await the fog to clear in Kat.
30min later, we were in the air again and finished the trip to Kathmandu with no further delays.
A quick shower at the Kathmandu Guest House and a much needed shave. Cut-throat blade and 15min head massage for ......A$1.50. How good is that?. Then a desperate race to Pumpernickel Bakery for a well earned Yak Cheese Roll and Flat White coffee (....and Apple Pie).
We are heading to Pokhara tomorrow for a few days R&R. We feel we have earn't it with what we achieved just 4 days ago...! Then back to Kat on Thursday. We have tried to change our ticket to fly out of Nepal on Friday so as to spend a full day in Bangkok before flying home on Sunday, but it appears that there are no available seats on Friday's Kathmandu to Bangkok flight, so our Saturday departure may need to remain. I'm not fussed. It's never easy to leave this wonderful country.
The team have been great to trek with.
So the trek blog is over for another year. It's been fun (if not sometimes challenging} to update it each day/night. But it's always worth it when we get great and encouraging responses from those who followed us. Thanks, from ALL of us. It honestly gives us strength and encouragement when we are dealing with challenges up high.
And thanks to Brian@Weeroona who was always on standby to post an entry when I couldn't .
I'll continue to post a few updates in our last week of R&R for those interested in following our winding down from our big trek.
2013 Everest Base Camp trek. It's certainly been an Adventure...not a Holiday...!!
Above. To the Kalar Pattar victors go the spoils......
Above. More shots from our Kalar Pattar morning.
We all agreed the other night that we would commit to a 3 day return from Kalar Pattar to Lukla so as to keep our firm airfares from Lukla to Kathmandu on Monday 4th. If we put these flights back, we no longer have firm seats and instead go into a stand-by on the day we choose, which in Lukla can spell trouble..!! Now a 3 day return is a hard 3 days and some of the team are struggling. One came into Perishe at 8.45pm last night under head torch..!! Not ideal, although thankfully not that cold and had our chief guide and porter with them.
We will meet again tonight and see if we are still happy to push on to Lukla tomorrow (approx 18klms of continued ups and downs). Most of the team are keen to fly out on Monday.
The Kalar Pattar success has really slowed down some of the members. Ray, Greg and Nicole finding the last few days very hard. Trekking slowly and finding both the ups and downs a little harder than last week.
Scenery still incredible. Been a tough but terrific trip.
Thanks for support.
Success. I wouldn't have dreamed it, but just 2 hrs ago, all 10 of us stood on top Kalar Pattar on a beautiful morning. The views as expected were mind blowing.
Nicole set off at 6am and the rest of us 7am. We managed to get to the top within 20min of each other. Lots of photos, although being a precarious spot it's not easy to get 10 huddled together.
I'm so rapt to get the entire team onto KP. It's something you dream about as a trek leader, and given the fatigue, conditions of the tracks, headaches, stomach conditions, I never anticipated we would go so well. A credit to the entire team.
We are now ordering a bite to eat at Gorak Shep before trying to get down to a lower altitude.
Update by Brian@Weeroona
Received via SMS from David at 12:26 am 1/3/12
Arrived Gorak Shep 5,100mtrs around 1:30 pm. Terrific effort to get all 9.5 of us here (Jane is the .5). All exhausted.
Anticipating minus 10 to minus 15 deg. tonight. Early start in the morning to tackle Kalar Pattar, hopefully on a sunny day. Then it will be a scramble down to lower altitude. We will aim for Pheriche at around 4,200mtrs, but this is a big day and will depend on our stamina after our morning climb.
As I write this I'm battling a headache and light headiness..! I'm hoping it's a bit of dehydration and will calm after more water (although I just love the 3am pee at minus 15). At least a third of the team now battling a stomach bug which is making for tough days.
So tomorrow is what it is all about for us. Unfortunately with our staggered trekking speeds, it is unlikely we will get a group photo from the top as the group will be spread.
Wish us the best for the morning.
To all our wonderful followers. We have all made it to Lobouche at 4,900mtrs. A terrific effort given the state of the tracks, some pesty stomach complaints and a few altitude headaches. We are right now finishing off our breakfast and will shortly head off for our short but challenging stroll to Ghorak Shep 5,100mtrs were we will relax for the afternoon in prep for our attack on Kalar Pattar in the morning.
We are then looking forward to our descent back down to friendlier altitude. Hardly any of us slept last night, so I think the challenge of altitude, ice, snow and slush has pushed some of us to our limits. Hasn't been too cold though, so that's been a bonus.
Hopefully will get a connection later this arvo from GS and will confirm our safe arrival.
Thanks all. Will pass on your messages to the team.
Hi all. Just when I had conceded Dinboche had no wifi, I've found this little lodge that has an old dial up modem.!!
We have all made it to Dingboche 4,400mtrs. The team have been incredibly strong given the condition of the track over the last 3 days. Either deep snow or ice, very slippery and lots of slips and falls. My boots (their 4th Nepal trek) have let me down badly. No tread and Gortex failed. I've had numerous slips off the track into the deep snow, which amuses Ray.
Today was a very tough climb to 4800mtrs and back for acclimatization. The team are well and truly spent as I write this.
OCC climbing well. John doing it easy and Greg and Ray slip into 4 wheel drive mode. Nicole now departs earlier than us each day so she is not in too late in the afternoon. Like others in the team, she is feeling the altitude.
A few of the team are battling mild headache and a few also have stomach bugs. All still keen for tomorrow's climb to Lobouche at 4,900mtrs. Going to be tough in the ice, snow and altitude.
Not bitterly cold yet. Minus 6 at Deboche 2 days ago. So called minus20 sleeping bags just getting us by.
Next update hopefully from Lobouche.
Update By Brian@Weeroona
Received from David via SMS at 9:51 pm
Left Namche this morning 8am. Heavy cloud and snowing. Snowed all day, fortunately not heavy.
Nicole found another gear and went well this morning. Climb to Tengboche 3800mtrs slowed the team down, particularly in deep snow and ice. Arrive in Deboche 4pm and zero deg.
Old Codgers still going very well, even getting cocky.
Up over the 4000mtrs mark tomorrow.
Google Maps are pretty hopeless for following the trek but this address,
will show the area in OpenStreetMap.
Walking up and over the Tengboche ridge is a hard day but the next couple of days will be a little easier for the team. There is still altitude gain to contend with but the weather should improve with clear sunny days ahead.
Greg, Ray, Andrew & Jane above Namche
How does one describe our "rest day" at Namche. A steep slog up to Everest View Hotel in deep snow and ice, a 90min wait for our lunch at a dodgy lodge in Kumjung....and.... no view of Everest when we got there due cloud. gggrrrr. We got back into Namche at 4pm, much later than previous rest days to Everest View.
The team is going well. Headaches are only minor and appetites are still fierce. Good humor amongst all. The QLD boys have some terrific stories of their travels which keeps us amused at night. Jane from the UK has joined us on this leg of the trek and she too has some good stories of her own previous travels.
Our minus 20 sleeping bags held up last night but only with a thick blanket over the top. The trek leader has been accused of some serious snoring last night but is denying all accusations.
The members of the "Old Codger Club" are continuing to climb very well and are thus far showing no real signs of struggle, although the trek does start to get serious from tomorrow as we enter the 4000mtr zone. We are hoping the snow stays away and the tracks don't become too slippery (as they were today).
The nights are not yet too cold, but we all know what awaits higher up.
Oh, for the 2012 team, there was a very sad and somewhat unwell porter waiting at the airport the other day. Neema. Apparently has taken a bad fall and suffered some head damage. Very sad to see him in this state.
Updates from tomorrow are likely to be via good mate Brian in Melbourne from text messages, as internet starts to disappear for a while.
Good responses to the last blog entry. I will try to ensure all recipients read these.
Cheers. Luck and prayers for us as we do the tough yards from tomo
Morning departure TokTok
All. We had an enjoyable night in TokTok last night. The team liked their first lodge experience. The night wasn't cold, but we have quickly discovered that our so called Minus 20deg sleeping bags that we hired .........are NOT minus20..!! Bit chilly and had to rely on some heavy blankets provided from the lodge. A challenge next week.
Today was our first of 4 big climbs, up to Namche at 3,500mtrs. Most of the team climbed very well, although some not as strong as others..!! Will need to monitor progress over the next few days.
Ray, Greg and John have been put into the "Old Codger Club" but they each climbed exceptionally well today. Young blokes from Gold Coast are pretty strong. Nicole set out at a slow but steady pace and with some good encouragement and was able to knock of her first big day. Think she will sleep very well tonight.
There is a lot of snow up here which is the result of the poor weather experienced last week. Should make for some splendid views tomorrow when we spend our acclimitisation day climbing up to the Everest View Hotel at 3,800mtrs then back down to Namche to allow our red blood cells to do their thing.
Team getting along "reasonably" ok. Always different dynamics within a group of 10, so difference of opinions sometime out in the open.
Peter C, Wayne, John B. Amused at your responses. Have read them to targeted recipients. Laughs.
Thanks Jeff for lovely comments. Wish us luck as we start to do some hard work the day after tomorrow.
Cheers from the 2013 team.
Nepal trekkers nightmare
So "it's an Adventure, not a holiday" right?
I love the Everest Base Camp trek, but boy...that Lukla continues to stress me.
We awoke this morning at 4am to a beautiful calm and cloudless Kathmandu morning sky. Our hopes were up as all 9 of us bundled into 3 taxis for our trip to the airport for our "scheduled" 6.15am flight. By 7am, the sun was up and burning off the little bit of haze around Kathmandu that had prevented our departure. We were happy to await the announcement of our boarding.
Regretfully we were still awaiting this announcement at 11.50am...!! We then got the announcement that all trekkers fear, "All flights to Lukla cancelled due weather". Team not happy. Long faces. Asking me if I have any influential contacts...! My answer of "no" is barely accepted. So a long and frustrating morning by all, and Kathmandu domestic airport lacks ...........well..........just about everything...! While Kathmandu was blazed in Sunshine, Lukla was unfortunately hidden in cloud/fog.
Into the taxis and back into Thamel, re-check in to the Kathmandu Guest House and try to keep the spirits and confidence of the team high for our next opportunity tomorrow morning. We still have time up our sleeve so one or two (possibly even three) cancellations won't impact us. I've ran a few alternative treks by the team just in case we fail to get out, but they are insistent on Everest Base Camp. The Vic team have accepted that these things happen, and the QLDrs have experienced these frustrations many times throughout their travels.
The 4 QLDrs have opted to stay in a nearby lodge to save some money for the remainder of their ongoing travels throughout Asia (KGH is not the cheapest in the area). We will be catching up with them for dinner tonight. The 9 of us are getting along very well.
We have all taken a liking to Pumpernickel Bakery which is just 30mtrs from the Guest House. In fact, I fear some of that pre-departure training may just be starting to come apart..! We need to start the trek...!!!
As with last year, there are moments of gut splitting laughter within the team. Sue and Greg being the instigators. (What is the common link with this year and last year...?). Ok, time to leave this internet cafe and hunt them down to see what mischief they are up to. Wish us luck for our 2nd attempt tomorrow.
Durbar Square with guide Toya
We met up with John from Cairns on Sunday night. A seasoned traveler with many a good story. It was pouring rain here on the night, so we were restricted to finding a restaurant nearby the Guest House to avoid getting drowned.
Yesterday the 6 of us visited some of the more popular sites of Kathmandu. It was a full day and ended with a splendid tour of incredible Durbar Square and seeing Kathmandu's real living goddess (a 7 year old girl) who makes a 10 second appearance every day at 4.30pm. This was an incredible experience for Greg, Ray and Nicole. Durbar Square is a must see for any visitor to Kat. The visit was made better by the decision to engage one of the squares guides "Toya". Very knowledgeable and passionate about his craft. Worthy of a good tip....
We had planned to complete our clothing and equipment hiring this morning (Tue) and were therefore horrified to learn as we hit the streets that the planned Maoist strike has extended across the entire city, including Thamel. ALL SHOPS CLOSED...!! Given we fly out at 6am in the morning, I am now dealing with a stressed team. We have found one shop willing to help us out and will be visiting him later this afternoon to hopefully complete our gear prep.
Ryan, Andrew and Carl finally arrived into Kathmandu last night from Pokhara. They had been stranded there 2 days due weather. Great blokes. The entire 2013 team were together for the first time and we celebrated with an enjoyable dinner at Rum Doodles. Oh, and great to see our 2012 Rum Doodle foot print still hanging from the roof.
Nicole is enjoying her first OS trip immensely. Greg and Ray being frequent travelers are also very impressed with their time in Nepal thus far. We are now just hoping that the weather clears in the morning for our departure into Lukla and the start of our trek.
Great responses to our Blog. Thanks all. Next update hopefully form the trails.
Departure Bangkok to Nepal
Hi all. We have arrived in Nepal. Our flight yesterday from Melbourne to Bangkok was enjoyable, with some of the team members privileged to have watched four movies during the flight. I unfortunately was seated nearby one of the members who loves to chat (no names) so my movie count was one and a half..!!
A pleasent time spent on the rooftop of our Bangkok hotel last night before our bodies reminded us it was 4am (Melb Time).
We have already completed a familiarisaton tour of Kathmandu, with most of the team already finding their own way around the incredible streets.
There are planned Maoist rallies throughout the city on Tuesday, so we have been advised to remain within the Thamel area. Not uncommon and little risk to tourists.
We will finalise and pay for our Lukla tickets tomorrow morning, with the aim to fly in on Wednesday morning. Thanks to all who have joined our blog thus far.
Ryan & Andrew. Training up north
This weekend we are out to the 1000 Steps for the last time, and the QLD boys (left) are now wrapping up their final slogs through the jungles and hills of QLD & NSW before their departure on Wed 13th. John (from Cairns) has already departed to India.
We will all meet in Kathmandu on Sun 17th. Then 2 1/2 days in Kat for sightseeing and to get our equipment, clothing & permits in order before flying into Lukla (ok, so it's not the safest airfield in the world...!) on Wed 20th.
Mt Hotham, with bush fires closing in
We are now around 3 weeks from departure and training in general
has progressed well. Most of the team have worked hard over the last 6 weeks and seem enthusiastic and ready to face the terrific Everest trek.
A few of us had planned to cap off our hard work by completing the classic Victorian Alpine trek the "Razorback" over the Australia Day long weekend. This is a brilliant 22klm 6-8hr round hike along the prominent but exposed ridge that runs from Mt Hotham to the very impressive Mt Feathertop. But of the 52 weekends in the year, we just happened to pick the one when the specific area is well and truly on fire and closed off to the public...!! Perhaps another time...?
Just about all of our pre departure preparation is now complete. Some of the team will commence departing Australia within the next week. We all plan to meet in Kathmandu on the 17th Feb and fly into Lukla as a group on the 20th.
Entire Vic team at the Steps. Sun 18th Nov
The entire team is now training well.
Team QLD. Ryan, Andy & Carl are finding some challenging hill climbs (850mtr height gain) up at Mt Warning just over the NSW border. Also doing several lengthy bike rides and flat walks. John in Cairns is back in full training after his recent achilles injury.
Team VIC. As expected, Sue is training the house down out the back of Bairnsdale, while us city slickers are now hitting the 1000 Steps and flat walks regularly. Great effort to get all 6 of us Vics on the steps this morning, and even better that most put in 3 - 4 circuits. Good effort. Our targeted 4 circuits prior to our Feb departure is suddenly looking more than achievable.
Final airfares for Ray and Sue are now in the process of being secured (at a dam good price...) and those last few passport renewals are almost complete.
Some medical obligations still to be completed, particularly vaccinations.
Wayne, Ray & myself at the 1000 Steps carpark
While most of the team have already been completing their own individual training, our official targeted group start date (at least for the Melbourne team) was today Sunday 21st Oct.
Unfortunately we couldn't get all the Melbourne team out there due to work commitments and other weekend obligations, as well as a frustrating (if not a little amusing) injury to one of the team during the week, but Ray, Wayne (from 2012 trip) and myself trudged out to the 1000 Steps in the Dandenongs and completed 2 relatively easy circuits. In fact, the ease at which Wayne and Ray completed the 2 circuits suggested that a 3rd could have been there for the taking........!!
Despite the steps being as crowded as expected (another terrific morning in Melbourne!!), it was great to get back on them and sense that feeling of training and preparation. Those winter kgs don't know what's about to hit them...!!
Next group training Sunday arvo 11th November around the TAN - Botanical Gardens.
Hi everyone and welcome to this first blog entry for our upcoming 2013 trip to Everest Base Camp.
This blog page will become the main area where we will post our updates and photos, and where anyone will be able to respond to us. We had terrific support on the 2012 trip and the responses from many kept us very amused all the way up to Base Camp.
Our official training doesn't start until around 3rd week Oct, but already the 2013 team has commenced each of their own personal preparation activities. This has been very encouraging for me as it demonstrates that each of the team members understand the trek that awaits. They're all enthusiastic and keen and that alone is a great sign for 2013.
2013 EBC blog...
Hi. Welcome to our 2013 trip blog. Hope you enjoy reading our progress throughout the February/March trip.
NEW...View or download the above 2013 Trip Blog PDF