Everest Expedition:  Preparations in Kathmandu

Posted by: | March 21, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest

A week ago, under the soft grey winter skies of Seattle, Jeff Martin and I hauled our 8 duffel bags from the loading curb at Sea Tac to the Korean Air check-in counter. Two window and one aisle seat, three oxygen masks safety demonstrations, about 5500 air miles, and one questionable airline fish meal later, we piled the duffels onto a rickety luggage cart and rolled them through the doors of Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport into the turmoil of Kathmandu.

Since arrival our days are filled with preparations for RMI’s upcoming Everest Expedition. The array of moving parts that come together for a safe and successful Himalayan Expedition are at times overwhelming. It takes months of hard work by numerous people, both here in Kathmandu by our fantastic Nepali partners, High Altitude Dreams, to RMI’s preparations back in the States. While most of the minute to minute tasks are more of the mundane variety – from taking inventory of our lithium batteries supply (535) to the tetris challenge of packing the variety of medication and vitamin bottles into the tackle box of the Base Camp Medical Kit - the effect is invigorating. It is here in Kathmandu that the Everest Expedition morphs from the multiple separate components of focus that consumed our attention over the winter months to the cumulative creation of everyone’s efforts. It is here that the excitement builds and the climb begins to take shape. The Expedition becomes tangible and real: the tents and ropes are sorted and counted, the loads are packed and on their way by yak and porter to Base Camp, and the permit sits in front of us awaiting Dave Hahn’s signature as the Expedition Leader. 

The preparations in Kathmandu also plunge us into the city’s daily chaos: dodging traffic rickshaws and speeding taxes in an almost desperate game of frogger to cross the street, navigating the narrow alley ways in order to track down a crucial item, finding relief in the living rooms of friends’ homes while sharing a cup of tea and catching up since the last visit.

On Saturday this teeming city of 1.4 million celebrated the Hindu Holi Festival, known as the Festival Of Colors – a holiday linked to several mythical tales in Hinduism and manifested in a messy, wild, and boisterous all day street party. Walking through the streets of Indra Chwok, a particularly narrow and busy neighborhood in Kathmandu’s heart, on Saturday, bands of people sang and danced in the streets, covering each other in red, yellow, black, and blue chalky powder as others dumped buckets of water from rooftops or lobbed water balloons from doorways. Amidst the frenzy of celebration, Jeff and I were greeted with shy hesitation at first –foreigners yet uncolored with powder amidst the festivities.  Yet once a few brave souls rubbed our cheeks with powder we were marked: color came from every direction, buckets of water and water balloons launched our way. The hotel staff had more than a few chuckles when we walked in the door, grinning and covered in multiple colors. 

This week our Island Peak and Base Camp Trek team heads into the Khumbu, followed days later by our Everest Team, and we are again immersed in the world of the mountains. The time spent with crampons on our feet is often the focus of our climbing pursuits but this time in Kathmandu is a reminder that this too is a part of the adventure - even when wearing flip flops. The months of hard work leading up to the mountain, the places we travel to, the sites we see, the people, the stories, and laughs we encounter along the way are all part of our mountaineering adventures.

- Linden Mallory

Jeff Martin packs the radio antennas for Everest Base Camp in Kathmandu last week. Linden Mallory during the Hindu Holi Festival in Kathmandu on Saturday.

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All the best to Jeff and Linden and climbers. Great to read the blogs…about as close as I’ll be getting to Everest for a while!  Having been on an expedition with Jeff and Linden, this group is in good hands and will have a great adventure.  Steve di Costanzo, Redding, CT

Posted by: Steve di Costanzo on 4/21/2011 at 2:00 am

You must be headed up the mountain by now, could not find anything online this morning. Will try later. Take care! Love, MA

Posted by: Mary Ann & Howard Latimer on 3/26/2011 at 8:11 am

Good luck to Mark & Karen!  I’ll be “watching” the blog and links to follow your progress.  Sean W.

Posted by: Sean on 3/23/2011 at 8:01 am

Dear Dave Hahn
My name is Filip and I am 13 years old.  I chose you as my hero for my school project.  No one knew who you are in my class, but thats ok because i told them all about you.  I posted another comment for you but I think it was in the wrong place so my teacher made me re do it.  I hope to climb mountains like you and my mom do one day soon.  All I wanted to say is that you are my hero and I hope you and your team will all make it to the top, and if not that is ok. As long as you do your best that is good enough.  Please be healthy, strong and have a time of your life!
I hope i could meet you one day.  My mom promise me to climb Rainier with me when i turn 14, that’s next year maybe I can see you there.

Posted by: Filip atsidacos on 3/23/2011 at 7:04 am

I love you Mom and Dad! Have an amazing time! Miss you already!! I’ve signed up for the blog and can’t wait for updates. Good luck! oxox Love, Chelsea
p.s. Happy Birthday Dad! This has to be one of the most badass ways someone has ever spent their 50th birthday! Y’all are INCREDIBLE!

Posted by: Chelsea Miller on 3/22/2011 at 5:46 pm

You must be on your way by today! Looking forward to reading about your experiences. Love and good luck!

Posted by: Mary Ann & Howard Latimer on 3/22/2011 at 10:26 am

To Mark and Karen am praying for your trip that sounds wonderful. Will be checking daily to see how things are going. Love Mom

Posted by: Cornelia on 3/21/2011 at 4:17 pm

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