Everest 2018: Week Two Begins.

Approaching Lobuche

This week starts like last week – teams trekking or driving to base camp. So far, the season has no big surprises, just what we like this early. There has been a bit more precipitation than normal, but that could be, um, well it could just be the weather  🙂

Lobuche

As the #Everest2018 season continues, some teams are doing a first round of acclimatization on nearby Lobuche East. This is known as a “trekking peak”

but is still 6,119 m/20,075 ft. A few teams will actually camp out on the small area at the east summit. Almost no one will make the final climb to the true summit as it is heavily corniced and this is about acclimating so not worth the risk. But there are amazing views of Everest no matter where you stop.

Everest from Lobuche East by Alan Arnette in 2011

Camps in the Cwm

Teams at EBC are beginning to establish camps in the Western Cwm. Sherpas tried to go up today, Monday 9 April 2018 but were stopped by a small collapse of ladders crossing a crevasse near the Football Field. The crevasse is quite wide and will require four ladders lashed together to cross it. More work for the Icefall Doctors. This is quite usual, especially early in the season  but will be a common occurrence throughout depending on how stable the ice is around the route.
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Everest 2018: Weekend Update April 1.

Well, it’s the 1st of April and the Everest machine is fully operational. Climbers from around the world are streaming into Kathmandu and others to Lhasa to begin their journey to the base camps on opposite sides of Mount Everest.

For those just arriving, the excitement is palpable. For those left back home, the reality is just setting in. And for those who climbed last year, but are home today, their emotions are mixed.

K-k-k-k-k-k Katmandu

Kathmandu Airport GreetingWhen the airplane door opens, you feel Nepal. You can taste the humidity, the thick air of Kathmandu. Deep down you know that your first step onto the tarmac will not be the last time you make this journey.  Retrieving your bags reminds you that you have gone back in time by 50 years, perhaps to a small airport in rural Australia or Oban, Scotland. With bags on the wobbly trolley, you make your way past security noting the X-ray machine was unplugged. Your trust in the system is about to get the first test as you leave the airport and scan the line of drivers holding up signs. Then you see it, your name. Your tense and tried shoulders drop half an inch.

This scene will be repeated about 500 times just for Everest climbers this season, tens times that if you include trekkers. The Everest season is not just about climbing, it’s also about the lifeblood of a country. Between the trekking and climbing industry, it’s estimated to bring in tens of millions of dollars to one of the world’s poorest economies. The average income in Nepal hovers around USD$600. Giving the guy who helped move your duffle one meter a $5 dollar tip reinforces why Nepal loves tourists.

tourists.

Meeting Strangers

Meeting your team for the first time is always an exercise in human psychology. While you are certain that your experience and skills are more than sufficient to scale Everest, looking at some of your teammates causes you to question theirs! The time-honored process of forming cliques begins at dinner. You sort out who you want to walk beside and those you want to be separated from by a camp or two. Your guides make their first impression – type A personality or another “climber dude”. Regardless they will watch your every move for the next two months.

Climbing has been a male-dominated sport but that is changing and for the better. As more women seek to join the summit team, the nature of the sport has evolved. No longer is it acceptable not to bathe or brush your teeth for weeks on end. The toilet humor jokes now take three minutes to begin instead of the usual three seconds over breakfast. The solitary individual who makes every rotation a competitive race no longer receives the “attaboy” from teammates. Women climbers are smarter, faster and safer than most of their male counterparts. You would be wise to partner up now.

Bistārai, Bistārai

After two days in the Khumbu or crossing the border at Zhangmu, you question the wisdom of spending $500 on your new fancy, highly-accurate altitude watch. Time moves like a sleeping dog in this part of the world. The strict training schedule and diet that held you hostage for the past year has now morphed into a life of eating as much as you can and sleeping as long as you can. Yes, you are now living the dream!

On Kilimanjaro you learned Swahili for slow was “pole, pole” now you are learning it in Nepal, “Bistārai” or as Kami said to me often “No hurry, chicken curry” (never did figure that one out)! But language aside, there is a new pace to your world. You walk slow, eat slow, talk even slower. You actually pause on the trails to take in the view or at least get that great selfie to post on Facebook at the next teahouse. Yes, life’s great frustrations have shifted from slow drivers on the M4 to waiting for a yak train to pass by.

Under Construction

The base camps on both sides are scenes of challenging work. Before tents can be erected, platforms must be carved out of rock and ice on the Nepal side. The large tents used for cooking, storage and dining must be tied down to withstand high winds, especially on the north where it never relents making people yearn for a silent night’s sleep. Heavy trucks disturb the tranquility on the north while helicopters occupy the south. The days of a thousand porters marching in silent are gone forever.

A few teams for the 2018 edition of Everest have already arrived but most are still driving or trekking. All are hoping EverestLInk will be up on the Nepal side and ChinaTelecom functional on the Tibet side. Access to WiFi has become standard for all teams on Everest.

Relationships

I began this article with a mention of how people may be feeling. I have often written about the “ones left behind.” The spouse, friends, family that gave you all that encouragement for so many years. They hoped that this day would come for you. Now that it has, they are coming to grips with what life will be like until June 1. The climber knows what they are doing each moment while those at home can only wonder what is happening on the other side of the world.

For the climber, it’s show time. All the dreaming is now behind you. It’s time to stop training, wondering about gear, which guide to use and all the other thousand questions that have occupied your subconscious, and often your present state of mind, for way too long. If you are not excited today then your blood may already be cold. This is what you have been working hard to achieve, but it has also just begun. This is a marathon, not a sprint so relax and let every moment seep into your essence.

And if you were on Everest last year, or a few years ago, this is a tough time for you as well. Your memory is strong and alive with images and sounds of landing at Lukla, seeing that first big yak, hearing the monks softly chanting. One memory may shroud all the rest, that first view of the Big E from the Everest View Hotel. You sipped the freshly brewed instant coffee on the wood deck and let your eye trace the skyline of Everest, Ama Dabalm resting in the foreground. For a split instance, you saw yourself on the Southeast Ridge, struggling to take one step higher, gasping for breath only to lift your head to see teammates slightly above in the soft glow of headlamps. But this year, you are home.

Every year, April and May is a time of dreams and memories. It’s a time of review and plans, a time to let yourself go to a different place and time – even if it is only in your quiet moments of reflection.

The Season Ahead

The climbers are ramping up with their posts, videos, and pictures but not a lot thus far. I have a list of climbers in the sidebar with links to their most active media but click to see what else they are posting. These days people post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, blogs and who knows where else so it has become harder to follow 🙂

Remember that most teams will not enter the Icefall until mid-April. Hopefully a few will start early this year. I am updating my annual team tracking page that shows the current location of the majority of their team. I also use that page to post brief updates almost daily.

Not to be forgotten are those on the other 8000ers of Lhotse, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, and perhaps Annapurna, Cho Oyu, Shishapangma and Manaslu. I’ll report on those as available. But for now, here’s to Bob Seiger and of course, Kathmandu!

I think I’m going to Katmandu
That’s really, really where I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
That’s what I’m gonna do
K-k-k-k-k-k Katmandu
I think that’s really where I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
I’m going to Katmandu

See this fun video.

.. more on : – http://www.alanarnette.com/blog

Autor : Alan Arnette

* source: – Everest 2018: Weekend Update April 1

** see also: – Trekking – posts on my site :

Trekking in Nepal Himalaya : GOKYO, KALA PATTAR and EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK (19 days).

Everest Base Camp – CLASSIC treks. / Version polish and english /

Trekking in Nepal Himalaya : EVEREST HIGH VALLEY – Travel Guide. /Version english/

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Alpinism Online Interviews Simone Moro.

Italian climber Simone Moro is one of the most accomplished and ambitious mountaineers climbing today. He has completed four first ascents of 8000-meter peaks in the winter, and over the course of his career, he has redefined what it means to go light and fast in the mountains, usually without Sherpa support. As he approaches the age of 50, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down in anyway, as he continues to look for new ways to explore the high places of the Earth.

Recently, Simone sat down for an interview with Alpinism Online (English translation here), which turned out to be quite an interesting read. In that interview, he touches upon such topics as what its like to climb in the winter, finding a balance between his expeditions and home life, and what it is like to have a male vs. a female expedition partner. He also shares his thoughts on the most difficult experience he’s ever had in the mountains and the loss of his friend Ueli Steck this past spring.

Simone also says that he still has plenty of objectives he wants to achieve, even as he nears his 50th birthday this month. He says that he continues to keep climbing, and takes inspiration from Spanish mountaineer Carlos Soria, who remains active well into his 70’s.

Moro tells the interviewer that he has another expedition planned for this winter, but he isn’t ready to divulge exactly what that is just yet. He also indicates that he would be willing to join Alex Txikon for a winter attempt on Everest, but that he’d want to do it without the use of Sherpas.

All-in-all, its a pretty interesting article, not just for the insights into Simone’s life and personality, but also his thoughts on mountaineering and where it is headed. This is a guy who has been on the cutting edge of climbing for decades, and he has some interesting perspectives to share to say the least.
Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Alpinism Online Interviews Simone Moro

** see also: –

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Video: The Mirnivator – The True Story of a Not-So-Typical Trail Runner.

Meet Mirna Valerio a dedicated  runner who will break all of your stereotypes of what a runner should be. In this video, brought to us by REI, we meet Mirna and learn about what motives her to get out an run. But she doesn’t just go for casual jogs around the neighborhood. She is an endurance athlete who competes in long distance events, pushing herself to her own physical and mental limits. What makes her different than the other ultra-runners out there? She just so happens to have a body type that isn’t typical for runners, and for that she often catches a lot of flack. In fact, the video opens with a stunningly rude and demeaning email she received from someone calling her out as a fraud. But that is just the kind of fuel that gets her going. If you watch one video today, make it this one.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: –  Video: The Mirnivator – The True Story of a Not-So-Typical Trail Runner

** see also:  –  https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

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20 Great Trekking Routes From Around the Globe.

Already hiked the Inca Trail, added Kilimanjaro to your resume, and walked to Everest Base Camp? Looking for some new trekking routes to explore? Never fear, National Geographic has you covered with a wonderful list of 20 epic trails from around the world that can quench your thirst for adventure.

The list includes some well known routes, like the GR20 on Corsicaand the Snowman Trek in Bhutan, as well as some lesser known trekking trails, such as the Israel National Trail and the North Drakensberg Traverse in South Africa. You’ll find familiar routes like the Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal, and ones that are much lesser known, but just as unique, like the West Highland Way in Scotland. In short, there are hikes in just about every corner of the globe, and for every kind of backpacker, travelers, or explorer.

Each of the entries on the Nat Geo list is accompanied by a fantastic photo to illustrate the scenery found there, as well as information on the route’s length, the best time to go, and why you should go at all. There is also a detailed description of what to expect while walking the route, with handy tips on weather, level of difficulty, camping options, and much more.

If you follow my blog with any regularity, it will probably come as no surprise that my favorite hike on the list is Shackleton Route on South Georgia Island, a place I was luck enough to visit a few months back. The trail was the one taken by Ernest Shackleton and his men as they made their way across the island back in 1916, and while I only got the chance to walk a short section of it, it is indeed utterly spectacular. I’d love to go back and do the full route at some point, although logistics are an issue when getting to and from South Georgia. Still, if you ever have the opportunity to do this walk yourself, I highly recommend it.

Check out the entire list here of epic trails here.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – 20 Great Trekking Routes From Around the Globe

** see also: –  https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

Video: The Top 5 Mountaineers of All Time.

Amongst climbers it is always fun to debate who the greatest mountaineers of all time are. Of course, such a list is always subjective, particularly when discussing climbers across different eras. That doesn’t stop the makers of this video from attempting to make their picks however, so I present to you a list of the top 5 mountaineers of all time. Not sure I agree with all of them, or the order for that matter, but it sure makes a lively discussion. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Video: The Top 5 Mountaineers of All Time

** see also: –  https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

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Video: The Trek to Everest Base Camp.

Earlier today I posted an update from the Himalaya on the progress of the climbing teams there. Most of those teams are now en route to Everest Base Camp on the South Side of the mountain. If you’ve ever wondered what that trek is like, or what the mountaineers see on the way, this video is a great example of that experience. It was shot last year in April and should be a good representation of what is happening in the Khumbu Valley at this very moment. Having made this trek myself, this video brings back some great memories. This is a special, beautiful part of the world and I recommend that everyone visits it at some point.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Video: The Trek to Everest Base Camp

** see also: –  https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

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