Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 4

Trekking to Base Camp

Shigatse to Shegar 

Shegar Dzong Fortress from New Tingri
Shegar Dzong Fortress on the hill

Shegar is another 150 miles down the road from Shigatse and getting further from what passes for civilization.  It was a rough, dirt and rock road when I was there but we were surrounded the entire time by a massive road building project as the Chinese government pushed to have a paved road all the way to Tingri –long since completed by now.  Continue reading “Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 4”


Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 3

The Road to Shigatse

Tashilhumpo Monastery - Shigatse
Tashilhumpo Monastery – Shigatse

4 Days in Lhasa

 Here was the plan: we had 4 days to get used to the 12,000 ft altitude of Lhasa before we moved on to the Everest region, where the altitude would get progressively higher and the air thinner.  Before leaving Kathmandu, our guide had us watch a video on altitude sickness.  The video showed people in various stages of distress around the Everest region who had either not properly acclimated or had just plain ignored milder symptoms and pressed on instead of turning back.  Where we were headed, at Everest Advanced Base Camp, the amount of oxygen was less than 50% of what is available at sea level.  From the time we arrived in Lhasa, till the time we started the trek proper in the Everest region, we would take a total of 8 days, gradually moving higher and getting adjusted to the reduced oxygen.  Our guide’s main suggestion on this topic was “Do not try to go faster than the sherpas because: a) you will lose and b) you will get sick.”  It sounded like reasonable advice to me. Continue reading “Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 3”

Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps – Part 2

Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps – Part 2

Getting There:  From Maryland to Kathmandu to Lhasa

downtown Kathmandu - near Kanti Path
downtown Kathmandu

My only certified world travel experience in the 30 years prior to this trip was a visit to Epcot Center.  The trip itself to Kathmandu was tediously long – a 14 hour moon shot to Seoul, then a 6 hour flight to Bangkok.  The next day, a 3 hour flight to Kathmandu.  By the time I landed in Nepal I had been on the road for 36 hours.

On the ride from the airport to the hotel in Kathmandu, I realized how unprepared I was.  The traffic flow was organized chaos.  I feel like I was living out a video game.  Cars, bicycles, scooters and minibuses careened down roads.  I honestly couldn’t tell which side of the road traffic was supposed to drive on in Nepal (did they follow the American or British convention?).  In other words, I was having a fairly typical third world travel experience.  When I finally arrived at my hotel I really did wonder “what the hell am I doing?” Continue reading “Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps – Part 2”

Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps

Trekking in Tibet and the 1921 British Everest Reconnaissance Expedition

Part 1: The Third Pole

 So, a couple blogs ago I described how, for my second legitimate climbing experience, I bit off a lot more than what might seem reasonable for a well-balanced person. Some explanation is required because there were reasons for why I was eager to jump at this opportunity.  I blame the reading I had been doing for several years about the early Everest expeditions. Continue reading “Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps”

Close Company

So, my trekking/climbing resume has grown significantly since my initial failed attempt DSC00140on Mt. Lyell that started my whole affair with mountains.  Some climbs have been guided and some unguided (and others might say that some have been misguided).  The guided climbs have been interesting, in unanticipated ways.  They invite examination of the sociology of small groups, particularly when that small group really doesn’t know each other.  Continue reading “Close Company”

Lost and Found

My wife believes that I have a problem.  Dave Barry used to write a humor column for the Washington Post – a few years ago he had this one liner:  “Why did Moses wander in the desert for 40 years”.  Answer: “He didn’t like asking for directions”.  My wife thinks this applies to me.  More to the point, she P1060021believes that I am “directionally challenged”.  Continue reading “Lost and Found”

Weighty Matters

I recently bought a kitchen food scale.  It is sensitive to one one-hundredth of an ounce, or DSC00670so it claims.  I did not buy it to weigh food.  I bought it to weigh my hiking equipment, all of it.  For your information, my liner gloves weigh 1.45 oz while my alcohol stove weighs 1.35 oz (but that includes a pack of matches and a syringe for loading it with just the right amount of fuel).  Not that she wasn’t already, but my wife is really starting to worry about me.  Continue reading “Weighty Matters”