Thyangboche, 3,810m: We
experience more bridges, charging yaks and a sandstorm.
This morning was market day
in Namche Bazar. As we packed and prepared to hike up the trail, the town was
alive with traders and farmers coming to buy and sell produce and wares,
vegetables, chickens and livestock. You could buy almost anything there.
Howard and Dave went off to buy a couple of chickens to thank the lady of the
house who hosted our meals, but they bought two roosters by mistake. I’m not
sure if that meant anything, but she seemed very pleased.
Before we left Namche Bazar
we bought a t-shirt which we all signed and gave to the local bar (which even
sells Everest whisky) to hang with the t-shirts from all the other
expeditions. “Are you the Canadians playing hockey at Base Camp?” is a
frequent question we are asked. We have met climbers from Germany, Australia,
New Zealand, Japan and Australia and they all know about it. What started as a
bit of fun, as a side line to the main expedition objectives and Sean’s summit
bid, has become a topic of great interest to our fellow hikers. I’m sure we’ll
have a big crowd when we play the game.
This was the toughest day for
me so far. The trail was just a metre-and-a-half wide in places with a 500
foot sheer drop on both sides. I had to really concentrate on using my poles
and balancing my weight. There was no conversation or chatter on the most
difficult parts of the climb; we just focused on getting safely up the path.
When we stopped, the views
were breathtaking. We relaxed at a site dedicated to Sir Edmund Hilary and got
a clear view of Mount Everest. The mountain was perfectly clear with a plume
off the top where the jet stream touched it – it was a stunning sight. In
places, the mountains are so tall that you think it’s a cloudy day but you
look up and up and you see the mountain peaks way above you shielding and
protecting the party.
We crossed another two
bridges today and the last one was really rough and in poor condition. Nicole,
Howard and Gerry were the last to come over and they got about half way across
when a bunch of yaks started to cross. The yaks are frightened of the bridges
and they run across, their feet slipping on the loose boards. Nicole, Howard
and Gerry had to sprint as fast as they could, with their back packs on, to
get off the bridge, or they would have been trampled and they made it with
just seconds to spare. It was a scary moment but it passed and we pressed on.
These yaks are bigger and better cared for, than many. They are well groomed
and fed. We have also seen some rare small mountain goats called Thars which
even the sherpas were excited about.
We ran in to a sandstorm on
the trail. The wind picked up and the trail, which is well above the tree
line, could offer us no shelter as we struggled forward, the sand blasting at
us. A couple of the party have had minor headaches but no altitude sickness.
You can get out of breath doing ordinary things but everyone is feeling fit.
We were happy to make camp
tonight after such a gruelling day and we had a toasted dinner to celebrate
everyone’s good health and fortune. Now, the temperature is dropping like a
stone. I’m wearing my -40 coat outside where the night sky is astonishingly
We have arrived at the very
large Thyangboche monastery, the spiritual center of the Khumbu region. As we
walked through an area of meadows to the monastery gates, earlier this
afternoon, it was difficult not to feel an intense serenity all around us. To
one side was a snow covered mountain, at the same elevation but here it’s like
a spring day. Tomorrow at 6am we are visiting the monastery for a ceremony at
which both the expedition and Sean will be blessed. Then we have another 5-6
hours on the trail and a rest day at about 4,500m
On March 25th 2005, a party
of Canadian climbers and hikers will set off on an assault on the world's
highest mountain, Mount Everest.
The expedition will be led by
Dr Sean Egan, an accomplished mountaineer and professor in the School of Human
Kinetics at University of Ottawa, and Peter Luk, director, School of Business
Management, Ryerson University .
Accompanying the climbing
expedition for three weeks is a party of hikers that includes senior IT
executives from private and public Canadian organizations and leaders from the
Ryerson University Business School . They will trek through Nepal to the
Everest Base Camp, starting from the exotic city of Kathmandu.
The expedition is sponsored
by Kanatek Technologies, an independent storage systems integrator based in
Ottawa , specializing in data availability, email archiving, and back up and
recovery solutions. Kanatek has a long tradition of hosting innovative events
and Kanatek president, Terry Kell says, “We want to put Canadian IT solutions
on top of the world. We will be using the latest in communications technology
to demonstrate data recovery in a hostile environment.”
The expedition is
co-sponsored by ProCurve Networking by HP, a supplier of enterprise networking
solutions, and SkyWave Mobile Communications, a world leader in
satellite-based asset tracking, monitoring, and control.
Expedition leader, Dr Egan,
says, “Two very well-respected Canadian universities are working together on
this expedition to complete some vital research. If we can get to the summit
it will be an added bonus.”
University of Ottawa and
Ryerson University have prepared research plans on coping with hypoxia (an
absence of oxygen reaching living tissues) , the relationships between fitness
and ageing, and sport tourism in the context of extreme adventure.
This is Dr Egan's third trip
to the mountain, and it will be his first summit attempt. If he his successful
in his bid, he will be the oldest Canadian to summit Mount Everest . In
preparation for his Everest expedition, Dr Egan is currently conditioning by
climbing Mount Aconcagua in Argentina (22,841 feet). Mount Everest is 29,028
It is also planned to play a
game of shinny hockey around the Khumbu glacier on Mount Everest, taking the
game to new heights.
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