Every journey begins with a single step, or flight in my case! After a 48 hour journey to the other side of the planet, I arrived in Kathmandu late night this week. I was surprised how many people were at the Tribhuvan International Airport. It appears the autumn trekking and climbing season is in good health.
One of the advantages of coming in after 10:00 pm is that the normal stand-still traffic jams had eased up. However, I was suprised when my taxi was stopped by two different police checkpoints. One even checked my hand luggage. Actually, I have no problem with this and appreciate the protective checks.
Weather Delays and Time for Pizza!
As usual in the post-monsoon season, some rain hangs on making for muggy days, but coolish nights. However, flights to Lukla have been hampered this week with low cloud hanging over the already, short runway. Word has it, flights are sold out for the next week so it will be interesting to see how everyone gets to the Khumbu – maybe time to walk like in the old days or for those hardy souls.
As is my custom, I had lunch at Fire and Ice on the edge of Thamel. Pizza Margarita is my normal selection, and as usual it was great.
As regular readers know, I will be joined by Kami Sherpa on my trek and climb to Island Peak. Kami was born Ang Chhiring Sherpa and lives in the village of Pangboche with his wife. As a young child, Kami became seriously ill. As is a custom for the Sherpa people, his mother changed his name to prevent the illness from returning, thus Kami.
Yesterday, I was scheduled to meet with Kami but to my surprise his two youngest children, daughters Dawa and Karma, came to the hotel. I met them last year, finding them ambitious, smart, quick and a true delight. Dawa in fast speed cadence blurted out “Father woke up with a sore leg and went to the doctor so he cannot walk for a week or more.”
It seems that Kami had developed gout in his lower right leg. He went to the hospital and they gave him medicine and again today when he received a shot so he was able to join us today for lunch.
Over ice cream with 17 year-old Karma (her birthday was yesterday), I told him that his health was priority number one. He has taken care of me so many times, now it was my turn.
We went to the agency organizing travel and climbing permits and made all the necessary changes to give Kami time to recover and, if he can, join me later in the month.
The Climbing Community
With the poor weather in Lukla, only the first flight of the day for fixed wing planes are scooting in while helicopters are getting in on a slightly more regular basis. Resolved to make the multiple round-trips from airport to hotel for the next week, I was pleased when Rick Nooft, contacted me out of nowhere.
His message began, “Hi Alan, my name is Rick Nooft. You don’t know me but I live in Leadville, Colorado not too far from you I understand. I’m in Nepal quite a bit as well, I run a trekking company here. Would be cool to meet you sometime, maybe when you’re back from your climb we can meet in Kathmandu, I’m here until October 30th. Good luck on Island Peak!”
We exchanged a few messages and then he offered up a spare spot on a helicopter at 6:30 tomorrow morning. I had a “reserved” seat on a 9 am fixed wing flight but it was almost certain not to go. Over more ice cream, Kami and I discussed a highly revised plan and soon I texted Rick that I would take the spot. I love how the climbing community works together. Thanks Rick! He owns The Colorado Trail House, a guesthouse in Leadville, Colorado catering to hikers, bikers, runners and families. He also runs trek in Nepal through iTrekNepal thus our connection.
The “New” Plan
So if the weather Gods are happy, I will arrive in Lukla tomorrow morning, Saturday October 6, 2018 and meet up with Mingma, Kami’s son and begin the trek.
With the changes, I decided to make one more change. Instead of the traditional the regular “Everest Base Camp Trek” with a plan to veer off at Dingboche and trek to Chhukung and on to Island Peak, I’ll take a few extra days to go by way of Goyko Lakes. I first did this route in 1997 so am eager to return as it is simply stunning with the 5 Lakes. From there I/we will take the Cho La Pass at 5300-meters/17,388-feet to the next village.
Thenwe will make our way further north and attempt Island Peak aka Imja Tse at 20,305-feet/6,189-meters sometime around October 21st – give or take.
Cure Alzheimer’s Fund – 100% for Research and $ for$ Donation Match!!!
Please remember that this is not only about me getting back on the climbing horse after breaking my leg last year but also to honor Ida, my four aunts and the millions across the globe impacted by Alzheimer’s.
As I previously noted, I’m very excited to announce that through the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Jim and Carol Beers will match every donation from my followers during this expedition up to $10,000, and perhaps even more.
I’ve worked with the CAF since 2008 finding their research model both effective and efficient. All of their overhead is underwritten by their founders so that 100% of all donations go directly to fund research projects. Since it’s founding, the CAF has funded more than $74,000,000 to 337 research project. Their funded initiatives have been responsible for several key breakthroughs—including a potential treatment selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for its elite “Blueprint” drug discovery program, and the ground-breaking “Alzheimer’s in a Dish” study, which promises to greatly accelerate drug testing and was reported by the New York Times as a “giant step forward”. Charity Navigator scored the CAF with 100 percent regarding its overall financial health.
You can make a donation at our Crowd Rise fundraising site and also form a team to see who can help us reach the goal of $20,000 (I would love to see $25k!)
I’m very pleased that with the matching funds, almost $7,000 has been raised. Will you help? Donate Now (any amount will help)
Memories are Everything