Position Date: 2010-09-06 03:00:04
Position Latitude: 27.8047
Position Longitude: 86.711
I'm not complaining really, because I know things are going to get infinitely harder fairly quickly, but I'm having a difficult time calling what I'm doing right now an expedition. I should be a lot colder. Or more tired. Or something. That said, I think I've smiled way more this week than on the first week of my North Pole expedition.
It was another rainy foggy morning in Namche and I awoke from a deep sleep to the now familiar metallic clinking sound of stone chisels pounding rocks into bricks. Our schedule has been restful enough that I have even been waking up before my alarm - a feat which, for those who know me, is nothing less than remarkable. I have, however, been having an increasingly bizarre series of dreams - none of which I can remember. They are not full blown anxiety dreams yet, but with a large challenge and uncertain outcome looming it's no surprise to me that my subconscious is in overdrive.
While technically a 'rest day' today, we still had a goal to do an acclimatization hike - gaining another 1,000 or so feet before coming back to Namche for the night. We had a leisurely hike up to the airport (which we couldn't see because of the fog) and then down to Khumjung around to Kunde and then back down in more fog and light rain to Namche. In Khumjung and Kunde people were busy harvesting potatoes and cutting and drying hay for the winter.
In the Arctic and Antarctic, whiteouts are debilitating and mind numbing. While not nearly as severe today, the conditions simply added another layer to the depth of this place. Prayer flags flapped along lines disappearing into a pale white blur. Even though the views of Everest were completely obscured by fog and clouds, I was still impressed by what we saw.
'Beauty is to feel, not to touch.' Oujjuwal commented.
Forever my minder. I am learning to do things as Tshering wants. Questions are not so much questions as things that simply should be done. For example, stopping at one point on our hike Tshering asked, 'do you want some tea?' I didn't and said so. A minute later, he asked, 'do you want some tea?' Needless to say it wasn't long before we were all enjoying some tea.
I have also come to appreciate Tshering's subtle humor. Peering over a thick stone fence he observed, 'This is a yak farm,' Then after a few seconds of careful reflection he added, 'But there are no yaks here.'
The rain constant rain has shut down Lukla airport. With Tshering #2 and Nima #2 stuck in Kathmandu, we are now facing some serious expedition decisions. Between the two of them they have over 10 Everest summits, so their experience is a key component of our climb. Most likely we will be forced to spend another day in Namche while keeping our fingers crossed for good weather. As for me, I have a date with my back pack and a bunch of rocks. It will be an opportunity to get in some extra training.
Last night at dinner, Oujjuwal, Tshering and I exchanged stories about our childhoods. Conversation then turned to relationships and I received a thorough education on the cultural nuances regarding marriage in Nepali and Sherpa culture. Another ongoing topic of conversation, is the current political situation in Nepal. Things here are not good and many Nepali people are leaving the country to look for opportunities elsewhere. It is another multifaceted issue but perhaps I'll save the details for another day.
Gear wise, everything I brought performing nicely. I have been hiking basically living in my Terramar Terra T and Sierra Designs soft shell pants. And honestly, my feet have never felt so good as in my Scarpa boots. Oh yeah! While I'm not able to charge anything with my Goal0 solar panel, I'm using the battery pack to complete charges on my satellite phone and camera gear.
STP Everest - Day3: Namche Bazar