Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Tibet 2008. Nepal 2008. A wise man once said “Everyone likes Adventure Travel, right up to the point that there’s some actual adventure.” We didn’t have any outrageous adventures on our trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, but we did a few weeks before we departed for the Kingdom of Nepal and Tibet. A “wrap” of this trip would not be complete without a little history of the fiasco that went down before we departed the U.S. Years from now this will be known as one of the years that Tibet was “Closed to foreign tourists.”
On March 11th we received the final word that all of Tibet was shut down due to safety problems in the region. Luckily for us, Eric Simonson was able to put together a FANTASTIC alternate itinerary, that I dare say was one of the most enjoyable trips I have led for IMG.
The entire group met in Katmandu, and did the usual tours of the city, a great deal of which included people watching…….
The trek was very similar to the regularly scheduled IMG trek to EBC, but with a great variation/extension up to Gokyo. The trail to Gokyo is far less traveled than the usual route and was cleaner, smaller, nicer, and the most memorable part of the trip for me. The view of the impressive South Face of Cho Oyu was only matched by the beauty of the lake (Dudh Pokhari) at Gokyo.
The second highlight or our trek extension was the tough journey over Cho La. Cho La in literal translation means “Lake Pass,” but in our experience it was more like “kicks ass.” In order to get back on track to Everest Base Camp it is necessary to traverse the lower Ngozumpa Glacier and Cho La to get to the Khumbu Valley. I put this pass in the category of the Great Breach of the Baranco Wall on Kilimanjaro… It has all the grandeur and views of steep alpine climbing, but with the safety of a trail big enough to place a barcalounger.
Those of you that that have heard of Cholatse (6,440 meters/21,129 ft, first climbed April 22, 1982 by Vern Clevenger, Galen Rowell, John Roskelley and Bill O'Connor) can figure out the peaks name if you know that “tse” translates to “peak.”
The group that IMG had put together was truly a pleasure to accompany, and they all deserve accolades (for different reasons) for making the trip a success and a joy.
Congratulations to Tom and Jan Hunter, Jay Marionowits, Shari Keller, Gabby Fredman, Jim Skelding, and Tracy Holland for making it to Everest Base Camp in good style.
Lastly, Nepal was a Kingdom when we entered. The elections on April 10th made it that we left a Republic. People of Nepal, after years of uncertainty and even civil war under a monarchy, we wish you the best!