Thursday, March 30, 2017

Travel Logistics and time zone gymnastics

Well, the time to begin is drawing near!

We leave tomorrow at 9:25 Cali local time and fly for 15 (count 'em) hours to Hong Kong.  A smallish 3-4 hour lay over and then another 5 hours onward to Kathmandu.  If all goes well we arrive at about 10pm local in Nepal.

Ok, so here's the deal on time zones:

Nepal is GMT + 5:45 (I'm not making this up).  Here is the official explanation:

"India's standard meridian passes along the 82.5 degrees East longitude, which is towards the west of Nepal's apparent central meridian.

But, the International Convention on time zones dictates that the standard meridian of a country be a multiple of 7.5 degrees, so that there is a difference of multiples of 30 minutes (7.5 × 4 minutes per degree = 30 minutes) between time zones. As you can see from the map, the convention means Nepal's standard time zone should be the same as India's.

However, Nepal is one of the two exceptions to this convention, as it adopted in 1956. The 82.5 degree longitude divides Nepal into two very unequal parts, with the western portion covering a very small area. So it was decided that Nepal's Standard Meridian should pass through Mount Gauri Shankar (86°20' E), which lies 100 km east to Kathmandu. This is not a multiple of 7.5 degrees, and gives a standard time zone of approximately GMT+05:45, which is approximated to GMT+05:45."

Since all of this was adopted a year before I was born i assume no responsibility for it.

What this means is:

Nepal is 12:45 ahead of California and 9:45 ahead of the East Coast.

When it's 7 am in Nepal, it's: 6:15pm the prior day in Cali and 9:15pm on the East Coast--this means we can call in before our day begins as all of you are about to go buddy bye.

When its 9pm in Nepal it's 8:15am in Cali and 11:15 am on the East Coast.

This will be perfect for us to update you all twice a day back home.

Here is the Madison Mountaineering overview of our trip up to Everest Base Camp:

Day 1: Depart country of residence. (this is tomorrow, March 31st)

Day 2: Transit day

Day 3: Arrive in Kathmandu. We will pick you up at the airport and take you to the Yak & Yeti hotel. This is historically the ‘climbers hotel’ where many expeditions have stayed over the years. We enjoy a welcome dinner with the team.

Day 4: City tour of Kathmandu, we visit the Monkey Temple, Boudhanath (one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu), Pashupatinath, and the Swayambhunath. After the tour we have dinner, then prepare for an early morning flight to Lukla.

Day 5: We fly by fixed wing aircraft into Lukla, and begin our trek! We pass through several Sherpa villages, and enter the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. After crossing the river by suspension bridge, we arrive in the village of Phakding.

Day 6: We continue trekking along the Dudh Kosi River through the village of Monjo, then up the hill to Namche Bazaar. Here we will spend 2 nights in our comfortable lodge acclimatizing and enjoying the sights and cafes in Namche.

Day 7: We go for an acclimatization hike and return to our lodge to rest and prepare for the next day of trekking.

Day 8: After breakfast we head out of Namche and traverse the magnificent valley towards Tengboche. Here we have spectacular views of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam for the first time. We arrive in Tengboche and tour the famous Tengboche Monastery, and then continue to Debuche where we spend the night in the Rivendell lodge.

Day 9: Depart Debuche and trek through the rhododendron forest then cross the river and hike up the short hill to Pangboche. Here we visit with Lama Geshe, the high lama of the Khumbu Valley, who many climbers visit for blessings before heading to climb peaks such as Everest, Lhotse, or Island Peak. We continue up the valley to Dingboche to stay this evening.

Day 10: Today we do an acclimatization hike above Dingboche to gain spectacular views of Cho Oyu, Makalu, and Lhotse, then return to our lodge in Dingboche to spend the night.

Day 11: After breakfast we trek onward past Thugla and arrive in Lobuche, the highest yak grazing ground in the Khumbu Valley. We overnight in Lobuche.

Day 12: Trek to Gorak Shep. After checking into our lodge and having lunch, we hike up nearby Kala Patthar for an amazing view of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and the other surrounding peaks. We return to Gorak Shep for dinner.

Day 13: We trek to Everest base camp (this should be around April 12th)

OK, time to batten down the hatches.  tomorrow it begins!

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