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 Dhaulagiri Ski Expedition: Update one


2007-09-04: Missed flight and a lost bag!

Finally the trip has started. I’m on my way to Dhaulagiri, the 8167 meter high mountain in Nepal to climb and ski. I must admit that the trip could have started better. I left Chamonix last Wednesday and flew from Geneva in Switzerland to Doha in Qatar. That part went smoothly. I was in time, the flight was on time and I didn’t have to pay for any excess weight for my big and heavy ski bag with all my ski and climbing gear.

In Qatar my luck changed. I had three hours until my flight for Kathmandu was leaving. That was plenty of time I thought so I strolled around the airport, checked the internet and listened to a book on my mp3 player. Not at all thinking of the one hour time difference between Europe and Qatar I arrived at the gate when the plane had already left. Fortunately for me they let me rebook on the next flight without charge. Not so fortunate, the next flight to Kathmandu was 24 hours later. By now I know the Doha airport quite well. I do not recommend the restaurants.

Friday morning I arrived in Kathmandu and after a bit of queuing to get visa I walked over to the baggage belt to pick up my bags. My duffel bag was there, but my ski bag was nowhere to be found. In that bag I have my skis, poles, crampons, ice axes and down clothing: the gear that I need to be able to go up in the mountains. Without it I might as well take a flight to a beach resort and go swimming.

After filing a report for my lost bag and checking in at the hotel my Nepalese friend Loben took me sightseeing in Kathmandu. We visited the touristy shopping quarters of Thamel, Bouddhanath, the sacred Buddhist stupa and the Hindu temple of Pashupatinath. Kathmandu is a big city with millions of people and it seems that everyone has a car or a motorcycle. It also seems that they have a competition where the one that honks the horn the most wins. Even though the city is a bit too stressful for me, it offers a lot to see and if you get out of the tourist traps the people are very friendly.

I first met Loben in 2004 when I was in Tibet to climb and ski my first 8000-meter peak, Shisha Pangma. Loben runs a company called Loben Expeditions that is organizing anything from short treks to big
expeditions all over the Himalayas. If you’re interested in a great experience in the mountains of Nepal, Tibet or India you should talk to Loben. On my Shisha Pangma Expedition as well as my ongoing Dhaulagiri Expedition Loben has made all the arrangements with climbing and trekking permits, base camp staff and all logistics in Nepal.

Hanging out with Loben and his friends I’ve found out that a Nepalese guy is competing in the TV show “India’s Idol”. He’s one of only three remaining so it’s getting big here in Nepal. What can be better evening entertainment than watching India’s Idol? I guess if I could understand what they are saying.

I take full credit for missing the flight, but the lost bag; I must give
that to Qatar Airways. They have put in a great effort to lose a big ski bag. Now it has been four days since I arrived in Nepal and still no news about my ski bag. Until I get my gear I’m stuck here in Kathmandu and I can only hope that the bag arrives soon. Fredrik

Photos: Fredrik Ericsson

 
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