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Climbers Arrive In Sherpa Capital Namche

We seem to be repeating ourselves here in the Khumbu, saying “that couldn’t have gone any smoother” over and over. Sure enough we got out of Katmandu right on schedule yesterday morning with an easy flight in a Dornier 228 twin engine prop plane. We all survived the uphill landing in Lukla, had a fine breakfast there and then hit the trail at around 8 AM. There are twelve of us at the moment, plus Raju and Lama Babu (our climbing sirdar). We’ll be joined any day now by climber Michael Brown, but for the moment, there are four climbers, four guides, two trekkers and two team managers and everybody is walking well. The gang walked just fine on somewhat crowded trails yesterday, through farms and small villages to Phak Ding. There we moved into Jo’s Garden, a traditional “tea house”, for the night. It is a peaceful place, with the Dudh Khosi -a river of constant whitewater- flowing furiously past and erasing all other sound. For many of us, the night was our first of full sleep in what seemed like a week -what with the hectic packing, repacking, flying, packing, more flying, early starting and jet-lagging. Today all seemed to be in good moods and good health and so we joined the busy trail again for the walk upriver. By late morning, we’d entered the National Park and found a nice outside table at a cafe for lunch. A few plates of rice and potatoes later and we got back into the walking. We tackled the notorious Namche Hill and cruised past about a hundred trekkers, porters and pack animals all grinding up in low gear. Conditions were just perfect for gaining about 2000 vertical feet since the ample cloud cover and a few gentle breezes kept the heat tolerable. But the clouds did rob us of what could have been a first view of Everest from the trail. No matter, we’ll see it soon enough. The team is tucked in at Camp De Base, a fine lodge in Namche, the “Sherpa Capital” as everyone calls it. We’ll spend three nights here, trying to get used to the big jump in altitude (we are up around 11,500 ft now) and enjoying the shopping, communications and social opportunities of this bustling and spectacularly placed town. Tonight, since it will be the first at true altitude, we won’t be able to drink much alchohol… but if we could, we’d be toasting Mark Tucker’s mom, who turned eighty back in California. Happy Birthday from the RMI Everest 2010 team!


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