Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 8

Return to Base Camp

View of Kharta Valley
The Kharta Valley

After my debacle on the slopes of Lhakpa Ri, I was pretty much a zombie – still not rehydrated and definitely not yet thinking smart.  The next morning we left for the hike back to Base Camp.  By “we” I mean the Sherpa who had been assigned to me since we had arrived in ABC, as well as the other staff who had been maintaining the mess tent and providing support for our team.  There was no wiggle room in the schedule – no time for a second attempt on Lhakpa La.  We needed to hike down in one day what we took 4 days to climb up.  Continue reading “Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 8”

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Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 7

Part 7: Lhakpa La and Lhakpa Ri

Advanced Base Camp and Lhakpa Ri

So, in the past few entries I’ve talked about the problems that come from inexperience at high altitude but this has been more of an academic discussion.  Now we get to the part where I can describe exactly the real life experience that shows how I came to the realization that this was not complete bullshit.  I’ve read a number of articles about the commercialization of Everest summiting – how clients come to Nepal and learn how to put crampons on for the first time while they are at base camp, getting ready to go through the Khumbu icefall.  It is not that I don’t believe that this actually happens, it is just that I am, well, flabbergasted that there are others out there who came there as unprepared as I was and arguably showed even poorer judgment since their plan involved doing far more dangerous things, like attempting to summit Everest itself. Continue reading “Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 7”

Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 6

Part 6: The Trek to Advanced Base Camp

 

early morning at ABC #2
Early morning at ABC – the North Col is in the upper right hand corner

So, this is where my story starts to get more interesting.  Base camp was high enough, especially for someone like me for whom this was literally the first time I had been anywhere close to this altitude and now, for an extended period of time.  As a result of this trip, I learned a really important lesson – climbing is very much a mind game.  If you don’t take care of yourself and stay in control of yourself, if you don’t eat, drink and sleep properly, then slowly (or not so slowly) but inexorably you begin to run down.  The funny thing is that you don’t know this if you are a rank amateur – it just starts to happen. Continue reading “Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 6”

Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 5

Part 5: Everest Base Camp

Interlude

 I’m back on line after a hiatus as we’ve moved from Maryland to Wisconsin last week.  I’m much further away from the Appalachian Trail and some of the great hiking in the Shenandoah Mts that I had come to love over the last 20 years.  But I look forward to exploring new hiking trails in northern Wisconsin.  I’ve already signed up to volunteer on the Ice Age Trail which is a pretty new (and still being built) long distance hiking trail.  It has the distinction of being totally within a single state (Wisconsin) and yet will be over 1,000 miles in length when completed.  I’ll need to add this to my plans for long walks.  But, back to describing my experience in the Himalaya.  Here is Part 5 (and more still to come!). Continue reading “Walking in Mallory’s Footsteps: Part 5”