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  Mt. Everest 2005: Valencia moving up the hill


Update Saturday, April 9

4-9-2005 14:10 (Spain time) Endika has just talked with the expeditioneers by telephone.  They will send a chronicle and some pictures in the afternoon.

They are already in Lukla strolling on the streets after leaving their things in the Lodge where they will spend the night.

The Yeti Arilines plane has left at 6:45h from Katmandu.  The trip has been short, but pretty shaken.  The weather conditions have deteriorated and the plane was jumping by the end of the trip, so much that Haya's breakfast has tried to come out three times.

They landed at 7:20 on the dirt runway of Lukla.  Lukla is at 2,800 m of altitude and is the entrance gate of all the climbers and tourists that visit the "Country of the Sherpas".   It is in the region of Solu-Khumbu, a zone isolated from the rest of Nepal and where you can only travel by foot.

After getting a "simple but comfortable" lodge they have met the Sirdar of the expedition who will be in charge of the coordination of porters and the installation of camps up to Bas Camp.  The Sirdar will also act as a high altitude porter, he is a very experienced person with 5 ascents of Everest.

They will begin the approach trekking to Base Camp tomorrow. 

The country of the Sherpas:

Day: April 9

Flying Katmandu-Lukla on a small plane

The weather conditions have let a minibus come to the hotel at 5:30 to pick them up.  They will have to load all the barrels of the expedition here.  The materials shipped by air cargo a few weeks before the departure, what they carried with them on the plane and all the necessary materials for the time they will spend at Base Camp will surely be over 600 kg.  Even with all this, this is considered a "light" expedition.

At the airport, they will take a small plane of Yeti Airlines, an airline where all the owners, pilots and other employees are Sherpas.  The Sherpas are well know because of their reputation of climbers and their genetic predisposition to adapt to altitude.

From here they will go to the airport of Lukla, a small dirt runway that thanks to the slight inclination allows small planes to land "uphill" and take off "downhill".   

When they get to Lukla they will have entered the Coutry of the Sherpas, a little region to the Northeast of Nepal, just south of Everest, where the most know ethnic group of Nepal, among other 30, lives.  The first Sherpas probably came from the east of Tibet around the year 1500 across the Himalayas settling in the region just below Everest, keeping all these centuries their language, with common Tibetan roots and their religion, Buddhism, thanks to the isolation of this region from the rest of Nepal.

Today some 7,000 Sherpas live in this area, although only the 10,000 that live in the Solu-Khumbu have had benefits from the climbing boom in the zone.  Thanks to this, the Solu-Khumbu Sherpas have a per capita income 5 times higher than the average Nepalese. 

In the entire Solu-Khumbu region of 1,100 Km² (the tenth part of the province of Valencia) there is not a single meter of asphalt, so the Sherpas always travel by foot and carry what the Western life style needs on the back of their yaks.

What can look like a "heavy load" has become the base of their wealth, because they get more than 20,000 visitors per year who depend of the natives to travel.  The Sherpas own most of the tourist business of the zone, having a much active role than any other indigenous people of the Earth.

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Dispatches

 

Jorge Verdeguer David Rosa
Juan José Haya Endika Urtaran

This is their second expedition to Everest, this time via the South Face.  They have already tried the North Face in 2001. They will hire two Sherpas for the expedition.

Previous feats:

·         1996 Bolivian Andes, summit of Illimani, 6490 m and other 6.000 m. peaks.

·         1998 Cho-Oyu.  Jorge and Endika made it to the summit, 8.201 m. and David gave up just 700m. from the summit.

·         2.000 Manaslu (8.163m.), did not make it to the summit due to bad weather, first time in the Himalayas for Haya.

·         2.001 Everest North Face, Jorge reached the summit, 8.848m., David was 200m. down because of a malfunction of the oxygen equipment, and Endika around 500 m. below.

·         2.002 David, Jorge and Endika went to the Geographic North Pole after a trip of more than 20 days over frozen ocean.

·         2003 defeated by Nanga Parbat, just got to Camp II.

All the expeditions have been sponsored by Universidad Politécnica de Valencia.

Jorge Rivera

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