Thursday, April 6, 2017

There be GIANTS! - Updated with Pictures

We had a slight change of plans here in Namche today.  The trekkers have split off from the Everest climbing team.  Because Anders and I are doing our own thing I've been upgraded to the climbing team...

The trekkers actually stayed last night at a tea house down in the village proper while we stayed at the Panorama Lodge, which as you might gather has quite the view out over Namche as well as of many of the surrounding mountains here.  BTW, this place rocks and we've been able to enjoy showers and heating blankets in our bed--pretty cushy for the mountains!  Our path forward will differ somewhat from the original plan I laid out a few blogs ago.  There are some really cool things in store for us on the way to EBC--more on that in the days ahead!

Today, after breakfast, Brent, Anders and I headed off to do our own thing.  This turned out to be quite the climb!  We ended up climbing up past the Edmund Hillary Memorial and then up a very steep (45 degrees plus) pitch to a narrow ridge and we finally topped out on what I think of as a mountain but i'm sure is more of an unnamed hill around here.  It was our first taste of real climbing--definitely an extended NFZ (no fall zone).  The peak was at 13,500 feet so a full 2,300 feet higher then where we started.  The whole climb took us 4:27 to navigate and covered 5.4 linear miles.  We ascended and descended just over 2,600 feet, so in some respects today was a bigger day than our hike into Namche yesterday.

The Hillary Shrine
Early this morning above Namche.  We are at about 12,400 here…

This was a pretty stiff challenge from my perspective but I felt really, really good.  My legs showed no ill effects from yesterday and my knee really felt great today--I was able to descend pretty well by my standards.  Anders and Brent flew up the mountain and spent most of the day together and would stop every now and then so that I could catch up to them.  I think I was doing pretty well, but those two guys are in a whole other league from a climbing fitness perspective.  I was pleased with how I handed the steep pitches and I felt very comfortable and always in control in the NFZs.  A very good day for us!

But the highlight of highlights is that we saw for the first time the GIANTS!  Everest, Lhotse and in the foreground the awe inspiring, almost impossible form of Ama Dablam (which means "Mother's Jewel Box).  It was pretty emotional to see it and it really hit home--the magnitude of what Anders is trying to do.

In front of the Giants: Everest is just over Anders' left shoulder!

After summiting our "little" peak we trekked down through a number of the nearby villages.  This in of itself would be a highlight of any trek...   But in any event, it was a very special day for us-- one of the best and most memorable days in the mountains I've been privileged to experience.

Other Pictures from today:

Anders and Brent on our climb

Brent and Anders waiting for me (as usual)
Brent following me up the steep approach

Nearing today's summit at 13,500

Anders and I on our little summit today

Pretty fun stuff—coming down today

Looking north up the Khumba.  This is where we go tomorrow—to one of those little villages
Brent, Anders, Ang Purba—our head Sherpa, and Siti, another of our Sherpa team  at the airfield above Namche


jlchristofferson74 said...

You guys look great! Keep kicking butt! We love you!

Judy Christofferson said...

i Love these pictures and love how happy you both look. What an amazing experience and we can't wait till you come home SAFELY and show us all the videos and pictures!! xoxo