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  Dutch Snow Leopard Cho Oyu 2005 Expedition Update from Everest


photo@Jason McMillan

 

Update: Wednesday 27 April

On Wednesday they start the journey to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) on the north side of Mount Everest. ABC is on 6400 meters and BC on 5200 meters. Therefore they split the journey in two parts. Today we hike to Intermediate Camp on 5800 meters. The 600 meters ascent is not easy and the trail has big parts which are flat. Though flat is not the right word: it goes up and down all the time without gaining altitude. All their gear, tents and kitchen stuff is carried by two yaks and about twenty Tibetan porters. Our group hikes over the endless moraine tracks and arrives in between 1 PM en 3 PM. The weather is common for Tibet. For weeks it is beautiful and sunny in the morning and cold and cloudy in the afternoon. The porters are a little behind but in the late afternoon everybody is in his or her tent. The Sherpa’s serve supper in the tents and everybody sleeps early.

 

 

Thursday 28 April: The initial plan was to move the Intermediate Camp to ABC and the team members who don’t feel great would have to turn back to BC. But they change the plan. The campsite stays here and the team members going to ABC have to come back to Intermediate Camp again for the night. The others go to BC. The group separates and seven turn back. Nine go further to ABC, along the beautiful ice pinnacles. They have clear views in the morning. A few make it until 6000 meter, others to 6250 meter but Jan and Kees go all the way to ABC, to see the North col. They call ABC ‘North Face City', because of the large number of tents of this brand. The weather gets worse and, after taking a few pictures, they turn back. It started snowing heavily. Jan, Kees, Frederike and Edwin walk back together. They follow a couple of Yaks because they know the way and the visibility is poor with fogged sunglasses. It is a hard trip back with slippery tracks and continuous snow showers. Back in Intermediate Camp they found out Jaap was walking on his own in front of us, but they are all happy when the Sherpa’s serve us hot tea with biscuits.The seven team members arrive in BC early afternoon. It has been snowing here also. At night there is a lot of wind.

 

Friday 29 April: The nine that slept at high altitude descend to BC today.  Around midday all team members are together again to enjoy the lunch. The cold weather doesn’t melt the snow. Most of the member feel good, with only a few minor throat problems   Kees, Frank, Robert, a minor ankle problem Frederike and Evert’s stomach problem. Because of his stomach problem the toilet, a hole in the ground with a tent on top of it, has a capacity issue.  They had not only beautiful views of the landscape but also of the wildlife: small birds, lamer gayer and even blue sheep. Tomorrow they leave for Tingri (4350 m) what they consider a low place to recover. 

 

Saturday 30 April: Today they leave Everest BC, the huge dumpsite of rocks with continuously wind blowing, and they don’t mind going. They also don’t mind leaving the overfull toilet place behind. After the breakfast with porridge, chapatti and omelette they go with jeeps to Tingri. It takes them 3, 5 hours over very bumpy roads. They stop at the Rongbuk monastery and notice the demolition works of the Chinese Revolution in the1960’s. Only one temple has been restored. The temples they have seen previously were much more beautiful.  The landscape is very impressive: splendid rock formations, river sediments and huge boulder fields. They asked the non-english speaking driver to stop several times to make pictures. He often needed a cigarette break anyway. The activities of the local people catch your eye in the empty dark brown landscape. You see horses, a plough with a woman planting seeds, many children in blue school uniforms (sporting cloth). The people look like they don’t wash themselves, but they are very friendly and they work very hard in this harsh landscape. They notice a man with sheep far away and wonder where he would sleep at night. Sometimes they see a hole in a hill with a wall as entrance, a possible place to sleep. There are hardly any tents because the Chinese want them to stay in one place, which is easier to control. The main source of living is cattle: sheep, cows, yaks, donkeys and horses. And there is crop and weed, though it is hard to irrigate the dry soil. They see Tibetan cultural elements everywhere, despite the Chinese influence along there are piles of Mani stones with “Om mani padme hum” engravings and on remote hill top there are prayer flags. They hope that the banned Tibetan national flag, which colours are blue, white, green and yellow, is represented by the colours of prayer flags. They are touched by the driver who prays every time they cross a high pass. In the desolated village of Tingri (4300 meters) they drive on the courtyard of their hotel. They pick a room with four of two beds and enjoy the Chinese meal. Frederieke celebrates her 50th birthday. 

 

Sunday 1 may: Four team members: Frank, Robert, Henk and Hans, stay in Tingri on 4300 meters to recover from their colds and coughs. Tingri is not really a paradise; it is more a stop along an empty dessert road. It contains a few houses, a tire repair shop and some other undefined shops. Dust blows continuously along cardboard eating cows. The street dogs have outnumbered the villagers. The other team members travel to the Chinese Base camp of Cho Oyu. According to Rene the road has been improved since 2002. In less than one hour they reach base camp. They have nice views from the high plateau on Cho Oyu and the Nangpa La col. They meet the extra Sherpa’s in base camp. Sonam, Pemba and Kadji will work with Pasang, Sonam and Tashi who they already had during the trekking. The kitchen staff stays the same: Mayla, Subay, Lakpa and Gjeltsin. They are excellent helpers. The mess tent has been replaced by a bigger one and they have armchairs now. It feels very luxurious. All the personal- and group gear from Holland has arrived safely. Nothing fell of a truck or was confiscated by the Chinese customs. Today and tomorrow they use for repacking all the gear in loads of 20 kg for transport by Yaks. They need about 60 yaks to carry al the loads to ABC of Cho Oyu 

 

Monday 2 may: Chinese base camp Cho Oyu, 4920 meter. In the morning they had beautiful views on Cho Oyu. Around 10 AM the remaining four team members arrived from Tingri. The day was used to pack the barrels for transport on Yaks to intermediate-camp (5300 meter) and later to BC (5700 meter). They also looked at the wildlife and plants. There are many species of birds and they are surprised these birds can feed themselves and survive the cold. The BGAN will be packed to go to BC.  

 

Previous Update: The team of the Dutch Cho Oyu expedition 2005 has chosen to go to Mount Everest for their acclimatization prior to going to Cho Oyu. They want to go to ABC at 6400 meter. On the 25th they arrived at the north side base camp of Mount Everest.

 

26 April: The plan for tomorrow is to go to intermediate camp at 5700 meter and the next day to ABC to spend the night. The first time at this altitude will be hard for most of the team members. But first they have a rest day: they relax, check their packs for tomorrow and do some shopping in the supermarket. It is hard to believe but there is a real shopping mall on 5200 meter at the entrance of base camp! At the end of the day there is some snowfall. The next dispatch will be in four days because they leave the BGAN in BC.

 

Background

 

This spring the Dutch Snow Leopard Cho Oyu 2005 Expedition will take place April 6 until June 2. It has 16 members under the leadership of Rene de Bos, first Dutchman on Everest.

The expedition also includes a research project studying factors of

influence on cerebral oxygenation at altitude.

 

Members are:

Rene de Bos

Frank Husslage

Simon Kossen

Jan van den Bos

Henk  Bilderbeek

Thom  Bogaard

Suzanne Castelein

Edwin Overbeeke

Paul  Strik

Evert Wesker

Hans  Vis

Kees  Terhell

Robert Eckhardt

Lex   Ottervanger

Jaap  Vuyk

Frederike Bloemers

 

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