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  Everest 2006: ANDALUCIA EVEREST EXPEDITION ASCENDS THROUGH THE KHUMBU REGION


Numerous hanging bridges in a trail over the Dudh-kosi river gorge, with a hard last part

Namche Bazaar, The Andalucia Everest Expedition and the Murcian climber Carlos Garranzo, left at seven in the morning from Phakding to Namche Bazaar, not without having felt the first symptoms of the low temperature last night.  The route started by crossing little concentrations of houses in which it was nice to see the daily routine of the inhabitants of this land, their agricultural workers, schools, the mine and carpentry in the construction of the buildings, the care of livestock and the attention to the shops of refreshments, beer and food which are oriented to each passerby on this singular route.

Pedro is loaded with candy and he gives them away whenever kids greet us on the way.  It makes us smile and it is unavoidable to look at them and to smile at them when they greet their 'namasté' with sweetness and they pose to shoot pictures.  The sacred Buddhist stones 'ommane peme hung ri' are of every kind and color and it is difficult not to pay attention to those on the way.  They must be left on the right of your path where the 'mane' are, the decorated rolls that are spun when you walk by. 

After a progressive start, going along the Dudh-kosi gorge (the 'river of milk', because of its white color - which goes down with its mighty flow through metallic hanging bridges), the route gets harder.  Around 13.00 hours they stopped for lunch - pasta and potatoes - to then continue gaining altitude by stony paths and stairs made of blocks of stone, sometimes with hard stretches.  Filming has made progress a little slower than usual and the journey gets longer sharing the route with groups of tourists and a large Korean expedition.

After passing the last of a half a dozen bridges the route changes direction to the Bhote-kosi valley.  From here the change of altitude is bigger up to Namche Bazaar.  The last two hours have been really hard for the legs.  A hard journey of eight and a half hours to ascend a total of 810 meters. 

Namche Bazaar (3,450m) is a beautiful city of buildings with blue windows that greets travelers with the eyes of Buddha on the dome of a little white temple - 'chorten' - next to some peculiar water mills.  The town is full of shops with clothes, hats, mittens and souvenirs.  There are a lot of lounges and cyber cafes.  In our lodge, Khang Ri, 200 rupees have to be paid for a hot shower and to charge batteries of cellulars and cameras.   

The next journey is for resting, but they feel like going through a route of some three hours to climb for an spectacular view of the Khumbu from where Everest and its brothers Nuptse, Lhotse and Ama Dablam can be seen for the first time, and to visit a monastery where they say they have the head of a Yeti.  On Saturday 1st, they continue trekking to Tengboche (3,860,) where there is no electricity or telephone and the possibilities for communication are on the hands of the satellite phone. 

THE FIRST SYMPTOMS

The first night in Phakding brought the first sensation of coldness, so much that they had to sleep in their sleeping bags inside their rooms.  The path is a pleasure to all senses for those who know how to appreciate the beauty of the stones, water or vegetation, but it is really hard.  The trail changes constantly from dirt terrains to stony ramps.  The ascent is constant and there are a lot of times when they have to descend to go up again.  The final part has been specially hard for the legs with fifteen kilos on their backs.  Even some of the porters buff and sweats.  They have to be careful with their advance and be smart to chose the next step to economize effort.  Just like the Sherpas do, but of course, they have been living these mountains for centuries. 

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

THE EXPEDITION SET THE LAST DETAILS TO START TREKKING IN TIBET

Some hours of tourist visit to film the documentary and some hours of work to prepare the logistics of the first phase

Katmandu, March 28, 2006.  19.00 hours

The members of the Andalucia Everest Expedition have spent the last hours in Katmandu before starting a preparation trekking in Tibet.  Last afternoon and this morning they have visited some emblematic places with the objective of filming some images for the documentary that they prepare for Canal Sur.  Yesterday, in the afternoon, they visited Themal, a wealthy zone full of shops and street sellers that offer jewels, flutes, craved figures, and some musical instruments called 'Sarangee'.  With this kind of concave violin they plan the typical Nepalese music (Gambartha), accompanied by the 'modal' for percussion, 'basuree' or bamboo flute and other string instrument called 'arbaj' which is covered by intestine tissue, which the expeditioneers knew while sipping tea.

This morning they have visited the temple of the monkeys and the Royal Palace of Pathán, built in the XVII century and has been restored by UNESCO, a religious Buddhist epicenter with a public bath surrounded by pagodas where the tourist hunters never stop offering jewels, krisna flowers, small bags and daggers.  They have crossed back the Bagmati bridge in minuscule taxis to go visit other impressive religious place called Pashupatinath where they saw death people being cremated in front of little fertility temples.  The mountain climbers got blessings of some monks after a fine tip.  The last visit for the documentary was to Bhoudanath, a Buddhist complex with a great golden central tower that represent the 39 steps previous to Nirvana on the top.

The Andalucians have also had the visit of Billi Bearling, an aid to the prestigious archivist Elizabeth Hawley, currently in a hospital in Bangkok for an operation of a kidney, an institution among mountain climbers with some relation to Everest.  Billi gathered complete information of the mountain climbers and said that according to their data, more than 20 expeditions go to the North Face of the roof of the world this season.

The end of the journey was hard with the bad news that one barrel is currently lost, and with more than three hours to organize the material which is directly going to Everest base camp - all the food and the technical material for the climb - besides that which they are taking for the trekking in Tibet which will start at 6.30 AM when they go to the airport for a flight to Luckla.

DOCUMENTARY TOURISM

Nepal is a very religious country with more Hinduism followers than Buddhists and with a very strong military and police presence in the streets.  80% of the population is not happy with their difficult way of life.  Bhujal, one of our taxi drivers - married with two kids - charged 800 rupees (some 10 euros) to take us to two very distant places in this chaotic traffic and they back to the hotel.  A job of almost three hours.  In Katmandu and the surroundings there are three million people with a huge noise, pollution and chaos.  However, people are pacific and they don't know about stress.  You see some motorcars called 'kempu' that work like commute buses with a dozen people inside.  Motorcycles and bicycles dodge pedestrians or sacred animals and offer a typical Asian image.  Life starts at daybreak and the last businesses and restaurants close at 21.00.  We have known something more of the Nepalese culture and traditions today, the spirituality and bonanza of their people.  Also their colors and smells, their prices, their routine and time for distances...

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Dispatches

 

 

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