The Everest 2012 Season is officially underway with climbers now in Kathmandu and some already trekking towards Everest Base camp on the South. The North will remain quiet for a couple more weeks as the Chinese had previously stated that no climbers can enter Tibet until April 1st.
In additional to frequents posts as news warrants, every weekend throughout the season, I will try to post a summary of the week’s activities. With all the planning, training and packing behind, this past week was about the first steps.
IMG, as usual, sets the pace for early arrivals with climbers leaving their home countries around March 23 according to Eric Simonson’s latest blog post. But hundreds are not far behind. Most teams want to be at EBC by April 15th unless they are acclimatizing on another mountain, e.g. Lobuche.
Hopefully the personal blogs will start soon with climbers and trekkers sharing their feelings as they start their journey. Grant Rawlinson aka “Axe” posted an update on his site as he arrived in Kathmandu, climbing from the north side this year with Altitude Junkies.
It’s always both an exciting time and a sad time leaving on an expedition. Exciting to think of the upcoming adventure but especially hard to say goodbye to Stephanie and other friends and family. Stephanie will be joining me in ten days time in Kathmandu for 3 nights after I finish my acclimatisation trek on the Annapurna circuit
Axe goes on to detail his electronics he will use to stay in touch – a good read and the first Blog of the Day this year.
I know for me arriving in Kathmandu always brought on a sea change of emotions.
Stepping off Thai Airline TG 319 from Bangkok into the humid, warm air of Nepal was both a physical and emotional moment. You enter the stuffy customs hall where hundreds of people are vying to complete immigration forms and soon queue up to give their US Dollars to a committee of gentlemen who, in a manual yet orderly process, count, stamp, hand over and eventually return your passport with all the endorsements required to enter their Kingdom – a magical moment.
Next you join the throngs staring at the small door covered with heavy black plastic strips where your two huge duffel bags might emerge. The conveyor belt starts with a whir, everyone stops taking for a moment, turning heads towards the door. One by one bags emerge – some small, some huge – but your eye is sharp for your piece. After two minutes you begin to think that everyone on your flight had the North Face yellow duffel exactly like yours.
But they arrive and you can check off one item from your worry list. You heave them onto your trolley – why do you always get the one with the wheel that is perpendicular to the others and stumble through the final security checkpoint – you know – the metal detector that is not plugged in or the x-ray machine that has five people beside the monitor but no one is looking at it.
In any event soon you push your hobbled trolley through the doors and are met by smiling faces, about 100 of them, all holding signs of various companies. You scan carefully and there it is: first contact!
You are on your way.
Memories are Everything