Nov 10, 2011
Ben called in a short while ago from Namche with the latest on the team and it sounds like everyone is doing very well! They had just come down from a good day on Khunde Ri and pizza in Khumjung and are headed off to the rhododendron forests of Tengboche and Deboche tomorrow.
Getting to Lukla
On Oct 6th, after a day of prep in Kathmandu, our team departed early in the morning for the airport without much optimism in catching a flight to Lukla. The delays due to weather had stranded a large number of trekkers in Lukla and created a huge backlog in Kathmandu - with estimates of some 1200 or more at each end of the short flight. When it became clear our team would be unable to board one of the regularly scheduled flights, our amazing ground agent Nima pulled a few strings and secured a helicopter.
Faced with the depressing prospect of returning day after day to the airport, our teams was suddenly in the air and shortly after in Lukla! Due to the limited carrying capacity of the helicopter only half of the bags went up the team and the plan was for Nima to accompany the remaining cargo on a later flight. Nima left shortly after as planned but unfortunately his flight was turned about just before Lukla due to continued bad weather and he returned to Kathmandu.
Thank you to Nima
On the 7th Nima was able to make the full flight to Lukla and arranged the bags to be sent by yak and porter to catch up with our team in Namche. So all in all Nima spent nearly 2 full days just making sure our team and bags made it up to Lukla. Attending to the myriad of small details to ensure a smooth trip is sufficient work in and of itself and it is clear year ofter year that not many teams have such a dedicated and connected person to work with in Nepal. We at FTA are grateful to Nima's personal attention and caring nature and know we have been fortunate to have made his acquaintance more than eight years ago. Thanks again Nima Dai!
On To Namche
After arriving in Lukla and working there way down the valley the team spent the night near Phakding and began going over key topics for the trip which include everything from health and sanitation to altitude medicine and climbing techniques.
Ben, Brad and Meagan will be covering a large list of topics and will share with the members everything they have learned from their collective climbs, expeditions and adventures. Given where these three have been this is a not inconsequential list. Between them the have been to the seven summits and both poles and the list of expeditions is rather daunting: Aconcagua (Polish, Falso and Normal), Ama Dablam, Broad Peak, Cho Oyu, Denali, Everest, Island Peak, Kilimanjaro, K2, Lobuche, Lhotse, North Pole, Tharpu Chuli, Satopanth, South Pole, Vinson, and on and on!
You can see mini bios for all the members on the FTA Ama Dablam 2011 team page
Since arriving in Namche on the 8th the members have been working on good acclimatization with an easy day on the 9th (including a dry run on fixed rope technique) and a more full day on the 10th which included summiting Khunde Ri (4500m) and the all important traditional pizza and in the Everest Bakery in Khumjung.
Brad Jackson is the designated photographer and he has sent the following images to give a sense of the journey so far...enjoy!
|Waiting it out in the airport in Kathmandu! © brad jackson|
|Sorting gear in Lukla © brad jackson|
Megan, Bryson, Ben and Colin in Phakding © brad jackson
|Acclimatizing in Namche © brad jackson|
|High on Khunde Ri with Ama Dablam behind © brad jackson|
|View from Khunde Ri during our crucial second acclimatization day in Namche.|
Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam in the background and the two towns below
are Khunde (3850) and Khumjung
|Ben heading into the world's highest bakery in Khumjung © brad jackson|
We'll have more from the team in the days ahead!