Sunday, September 12, 2010

FTA Cho Oyu 2010 En Route to BC!

From Stu in the USA office
10 September, 2010

Our Autumn 2010 Cho Oyu trip is well under way and has already reached CBC. Fabrizio called to check in and said that the trip to CBC was one of the easiest trips he has had in the mountains and must seem quite simple compared to the ride to Askole in Pakistan. The road is now fully (and beautifully) paved from lower Zhangmu all the way to Lhasa and the drive time was 1.5 hours from Zhangmu to Nyalam, 2 hours from Nyalam to Tingri and 45 minutes to Chinese BC.

These numbers are almost unthinkable to anyone who travelled this road in the 80s or 90s when spending nights by the road side awaiting cleared landslides was not uncommon and even in good conditions these times were at least 5-10 times longer. As recently as 2008 when our last FTA expedition drove this route our times were still 3-4 times longer.

The most difficult part of the drive was on the Nepal side where the road is still in very rough shape. Our Nepal agent, Nima, took two full days (normally 5-6 hours) to return to Kathmandu due to landslides and is now safely back in his office.

The team spent one night in Kodari on the Nepal side of the border, crossed the next day and spent the night in Zhangmu before coming up to Nyalam the next day. The team then enjoyed two nights in Tingri (which they have nicknamed “the town of dogs” given the all night howling they encountered!) before the short ride up to CBC today.

Along the way they have acclimatized well and are in good spirits as they finally get out of the car seats and onto their feet! The trek up from CBC is quite gentle and mostly along a road for two days until just a few hours from the Cho Oyu BC (ABC). We expect a gabcast disapatch on the 12th or 13th when they are safely ensconced in their rocky home looking out over the Nangpa La.

Accompanying our team are two crucial staff members Ratna and Mama who have both been to Cho Oyu with FTA in 2008. Ratna has been a head cook on at least 8 FTA expeditions and is widely held as the best disco dancer in the Himalaya and in the top elite as a cook. Mama (Siddhi) has made the full growth on FTA trips from cook assistant to Sherpa guide over the last 5 years and we are very proud of his achievements and progress. In 2008 he was an assistant Sherpa on Cho Oyu and acquitted himself very well working the route up to C3. He is the best nepali teacher on our staff and our members are sure to be ready to gab it up in the shops back in Thamel at the end of the trip!

Fabrizio has left a gabcast audio dispatch and we invite you to listen in on life at near 5000m in the Himalaya looking up at Tibetan Stars and across at Nepalese Lightning!

Gabcast! Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches #105 - FTA Cho Oyu 2010 Autumn - Team in CBC!

Fabrizio calls in from Chinese Base Camp (CBC) to let us know that all is well! The team has been acclimatizing well and they are leaving on the 11th for IBC and then hope to reach Cho Oyu BC (ABC) on the 12th. Great weather with views to lightning storms have added lots of ambience!

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