Entries from Cho Oyu
September 11, 2010
We finally after many days of travel, have safely arrived in the Cho Oyu Basecamp at just over 16,000’. We were happily welcomed by our wonderful support team of Lama Babu, Tendi and our cook Kumar. When we pulled into camp, we had a nice lunch with the crew, got reacquainted with all of our gear and settled in to our tents.
This afternoon we went for a nice hike to just over 17,500’. The weather is great and the conditions look good. Everybody is incredibly excited to be here- finally out of the city life and into the mountains. All is well and everyone is in great health. Looking forward to spending a couple days here continuing our acclimatization.
We’ll check in another day or two.
September 10, 2010
It was another wonderful day here in Tibet. We woke to a light drizzle so we put the hike on a rain delay. Just a few miles from here is the Shegar monastery, so we decided to pay a visit and are we glad we did. It is an amazing sight to behold. It was built in the 12th centry on a steep mountain side, and it looks like something out of the “Lord of the Rings”. We spent a few minutes exploring the grounds and even got a quick view of Mt. Everest. After our exploring we headed to the main temple of the monastery for a quick look. To our surprise we found that the monks were still in their morning prayer session and were chanting, playing horns, and beating on drums. It was a very special moment for everyone to say the least. A few team members said it was the highlight of the trip so far.
After our adventure we headed back to the hotel for lunch then went out on a hike. There is a nice hill right behind where we are staying and the team made good time getting to the top. It only took about an hour to reach the summit that was just over 15,000’. Along the way we saw several mountain goats and a bunch of strange yet beautiful rocks. I even found a small stone with some crystals on it. All in all it was a great day. We will get an early start tomorrow as we have one last drive to reach Cho Oyu base camp.
September 9, 2010
Its been a busy last few days here in Tibet, and we have logged some serious car time. Yesterday we left Lhasa around 9am and drove until 8pm to reach Xigatse (sha-got-see). It was an exhausting, but beautiful drive across the Tibetan Plateau. There were hundreds of small villages scattered across the countryside. Most of the homes are handmade from stone and are inhabited by Tibetans that live very simple lives. Most of the Tibetans are farmers and raise livestock in this stark environment. The terraced valleys are evidence of the centuries of farming. We visited several monasteries along the way and drove over a few paved passes that reached as high as 17,000’. Today was more of the same and we have finally reached our last town before we head into the mountains. We are currently in Shegar or also known as New Tingri in a hotel with other climbers and trekkers from around the world. We will spend two nights here to continue acclimatizing. Shegar sits at just over 14,000’, nearly as high as Mt. Rainier. We are thankfully going on a hike tomorrow and everyone is excited especially after so much sitting in the car.
All is well and we’ll check in again soon.
September 7, 2010
It was another beautiful day here in Lhasa. Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed our visit but I think we were getting a little stir crazy with the confines of the city. So today we went on a short hike up a nearby hill. It just so happens that this hill is sacred to the Tibetan people and is commonly visited by them. We hiked just over two hours to reach the high point. It sits at just over 14,000’ and is adorned with hundreds if not thousands of prayer flags. Not only was it a magnificent site to behold but the view was amazing. We could see the entire Lhasa valley and beyond. We spent a few moments soaking it all in then quickly descended back to the busy city for lunch. After a nice little lunch we ventured off to see a few of the other monasteries and then it was back to our hotel for a quick nap. Everyone is doing great and we are excited to leave Lhasa tomorrow and see some more of this beautiful country.
September 6, 2010
Today the team explored Lhasa mostly on foot. Just a short walk for our hotel is the Barkhor Square and Barkhor street market. This is where most Tibetans buy and sell their handmade goods, local vegetables, and just about anything else you can think of. We managed to find a few good deals, but not after some tough bargaining. After our shopping extravaganza we headed off to lunch. We found a nice little local spot not far from the hotel and had fun trying to order in English even though no one understood us. However, the food was great!
The next few hours were spent visiting the beautiful Potala Palace. It was built between the 7th and the 13th centuries and had been the home of the Dalai Lama’s until 1959. You don’t have to be Buddhist or even religious to understand the sacred meaning this place has to the Tibetan people. I believe everyone was truly moved by just the presence of it. Walking through it was like stepping back into time. We could all sense the spiritualism and were thankful to have an opportunity to see it.
If you would like to get a feel for what it is like, I suggest renting the movie “Seven years in Tibet.”
September 5, 2010
Today the team left Nepal and flew to Lhasa the capitol of Tibet. It was an amazing flight that gave us some great views of the mountains. The cloud layer was pretty high, maybe around 25,000’, but we were able to see Cho Oyu, Mt Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. Pretty remarkable to see 4 of the 6 highest mountains in the world on one flight. We had a smooth transition through customs and headed straight to our hotel. It was a big jump in altitude today, leaving the 6,000’ of Kathmandu for the 12,000’ of Lhasa. We will be spending the next few days here taking it easy while our bodies adjust to the new altitude.
Lhasa is a big city with a diverse mix of ancient and modern lifestyles. There are many Buddhist monks here and it seems strange to see them in such a modern landscape.
After getting settled into our hotel, we headed out for dinner and had some real Chinese food (I had mixed fried rice). Everyone is happy to be here and we are excited for this adventure. We are planning to stretch our legs tomorrow while we explore this beautiful city.
September 4, 2010
Hello Everyone and welcome to RMI’s 2010 Cho Oyu climb.
After some really long flights the team has all safely arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal. We are starting this journey here in Nepal which is the launching point for most Himalayan expeditions. The team has spent the last few days getting acquainted, doing some last minute shopping, and finalizing our packing. We will be flying to the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, tomorrow, then driving across the great Tibetan plateau for about a week while we acclimatize before we reach Cho Oyu base camp. Meanwhile all of our food and gear will be driving around with our Sherpa crew via a different route to meet us there. We are excited to have two of the best Sherpas with us, Tendi and Lama Babu. They have been climbing in the Himalayas for most of their lives and have climbed with RMI for the last several seasons. They have been on dozens of expeditions and between them have 14 summits of Mt. Everest! We will also be lucky to have our wonderful cook Kumar with us to help keep us well fed.