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Trekking to Namche
Another good days trekking, and we meet the rest of the team.
9 Apr - Andy writes
Today we (Jamie, Andy and Anselm) trekked from Phakding to Namche, a beautiful trail with a sting in the tail, a steep climb into our destination. Despite our best intentions we made a less than early start, leaving our very comfortable lodge well after the female Irish Canadian veterans volleyball team and Ian from India (plus UK), a late addition to our happy throng. Nevertheless, we sprinted off at a decent pace and pushed our way along a relatively busy trail, full of dopkios, porters and the slower trekking teams.
There were a number of well built lodges that looked excellent prospects for a second breakfast, but it was fully two hours before we stopped at a lodge which declared itself to be the last stop before Namche, communicating this by dint of a sign above the door advising us to lunch now before we had to face the legendary steep climb.
Sitting near us was a Japanese expedition team. Miura achieved legendary status in the '70s by making a filmed ski descent from the South Col on Everest, and found that with the thin air, his parachute didn't slow him down as much as planned, apparently he crashed spectacularly. Now he is returning with the ambition of being the oldest person to summit the mountain. It has to be said that he seemed awesomely fit for a 75 year old, but looked faintly ridiculous in his plus fours. The scene was then completed as one of his team produced a guitar and they proceeded to embark on a lilting Japanese duet for the assembled paparazzi.
Having refuelled on biscuits and lemon tea, we pressed on and before long we hit the steep climb. Namche is at 3450m and we were, for the first time, starting to get a taste of some altitude. Some were handling this better than others, and after an hour Andy put his pack down and withdrew his water bottle for a “protest rest”. However, after five minutes, he started off again and found that he had, in fact, stopped short of a more scheduled rest stop by around 200 metres, where he found Jamie trying to photograph a Danphe (the colourful national bird of Nepal). Only one porter carrying two trekkers kitbags passed us.
Completing the steep climb into Namche we were eventually reunited with the remainder of our team (excepting Raphael, who will join us tomorrow), only delayed by pizza and a leisurely beer or two with Joby O at the Namche Bakery.
We will acclimatize in Namche for the next couple of days, aided by more rest and less beer…
Anselm prefers sprite and a rather good chocolate donut to beer and pizza - Jamie
James almost skint (broke), and David the real estate mogul with an import at the lodge - Jamie
12 April - Jamie writes
I love Namche, and with a couple of days here I have a chance to catch up, possibly, anyway.
Briefly, the Constituent Assembly elections went well, with less trouble than was expected, and I sincerely hope that Nepal can finally join the path to peace, equality and prosperity. Somehow I doubt it though.
I have about the same optimism that China will act on Tibet and Xinjiang, and human rights issues. At least the torch was spanked wherever it went.
Logistically, everything is going well, and we have teams of climbing sherpas shepherding porters and yaks up the trail in large groups. We expect to have a fully stocked and set up base camp well before the climbing members arrive. Only the oxygen will take a few days longer to get here, as it has to be transported by special flight, and the helicopters are only available for this after Nepali New Year. It will reach us in plenty of time though.
We might post an update while trekking, we might wait until near base camp. So don't hold your breath, and don't worry. We are not stepping foot on the mountain for some time...