Monday, May 07, 2012
3P3W Himalayas - Complete
Bad weather has hit Lukla and while the team aimed to wait it out, it wasn’t clearing up. In order to get on international flights already planned, Ade (our guide) hopped in a helicopter with Corrie, Misa and Morgan for Kathmandu. The other three, Jen, Liz and Lauren decided to take the scenic route and walk out to Jiri and then bus to Kathmandu, a 5 day journey. They are in safe hands with a guide - but apparently 3 weeks wasn’t enough! Great effort team - we can’t wait to see photos.
Pictures and stories for the trip will be posted in days to come. For now - a massive congratulations to the first 3 Peaks Himalayas team.
The team is doing well and on their way to Lukla. They have decided to make two short trekking days of it instead of one long one. No one can blame them! Even their guide reported yesterday that it is a very challenging hike and one these women should feel a huge accomplishment from taking on.
We would like to take a quick moment to mention our guide for this trip, Ade Summers. He is been a phenomenal person to have with the team. Though most guys would think it’s a dream to spend 3 weeks with a group of women – it is certainly a challenge in itself. And many thanks as well to KE Adventure, our expedition partner, whose services are unmatchable.
Tomorrow the team is off to visit Classroom in the Clouds – stay posted for an update.
Day 17 & 18 - Recap
Here is a recap of days 6 - 16 in detail by Morgan Muller, who manages to find an internet cafe after arriving in Namche. The team is together with Corrie again and resting up for their final days in Nepal.
Day 6 - Namche to Tengboche
We left Namche at a normal hour and “plodded” (guide Ade’s favorite term for walk) up to Tengboche…I was feeling mostly better until I started to quite suddenly feel ill. A short vomit-stop mountain side made me feel immediately better and I honestly couldn’t help but appreciate my scenery that much more…how often does one get to be sick in the company of the tallest mountains in the world? I’m so lucky. Once we made it to our destination we took it easy-it was quite a crowded lodge as we rubbed elbows with Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Israelis, and some folks from Holland. We took it easy for the rest of the day and continued with our 7 pm bed time…something I’m not ashamed to say I could get used to.
Day 7 - Monastery, Nunnery onto Dingboche
We spent the first part of the morning exploring the Tengboche Monastery which is the most famous in the Khumbu region. It was absolutely stunning. The views, the prayer boxes, the murals, the pillows, everything. I was so humbled. We made our way down the valley a bit which brought us to the sister Nunnery. The contrast was stunning. So, when a son decides to join a Monastery, the family continues to support him as well as donate to the group. Furthermore, people from around the world travel to various Monasteries to pay homage and donate. However, Nunneries do not experience the same financial support. This compound was a fraction of the size with many buildings nearly dilapidated. Many of the nuns had to move out as the level of poverty was beyond bearable. I donated as many rupees as I had left in my pocket as I couldn’t imagine how difficult it must me. There was a sign out front noting that the roofs had recently been replaced by an American non-profit, though you couldn’t hardly tell. It truly struck me that these women were so dedicated to their religion that they chose to live in poverty in order to continue to practice. Amazing.
We slowly meandered up till we finally reached Dingboche which put us past the tree line…such a difference in scenery. We took the rest of the day to relax as the next morning we would have our second acclimatization hike.
Also-this is where we got our first snow everyone was happy!
Day 8 - Dingboche acclimatization
Today was fairly straight forward as an acclimatization day….while one might think this consists of relaxing, reading, napping, I’m sorry to say it’s not so. While we were able to ‘sleep in’ and do a little bit of basin washing…we headed up a nearby hill to gain some altitude. It was by no means easy as gaining over 400 meters in one day is what usually instigates altitude sickness. Everyone did spectacular so after we got to 4650 meters, we headed back down…the next few days were going to be tough.
A few of us went next door to “Mama’s Bakery” (I unfortunately would not recommend for the chocolate cake or walnut pastry) which ended in our first dance party next door at the ‘pool hall’...said dance party lasted a maximum of 2 minutes of Black Eyed Peas “I’ve got a feeling” due to the lack of oxygen- a necessary component of dance party.
Day 9 & 10 - Chukung and Chukung Ri - FIRST PEAK!
We got up early and plodded onto Chukung which only took us the morning…we knew we would need our rest for our first peak on Day 10. We spent the afternoon reading and relaxing in the sun. At one point, I had my eyes closed and I vividly remember feeling the most peaceful sensation. The sun was warm, the breeze just enough, life was good (still is but especially at the time-amazing).
The next day was big. We made sure to carb load the few days before and had a great breakfast. We were up Chukung Ri while the weather was amazing and before the clouds rolled in. What a rewarding climb. It was great because the climb was broken up into 3 little ‘breaks’. We got accustomed to hiking for 45 minutes, then taking a 10 minute break to catch our breath and take pictures. At the top, we were at 5550 meters (approx 18,000 ft)- not an easy height! Down we went all the way back to Dingboche…as you can imagine-down is much quicker than up!
Day 11 - Lobuche
We mosied onto Lobuche and took it easy. At this point in the trip I started Into Thin Air which was quite fitting since as we reached Lobuche, I was on the chapter that the climbers were stuck in the very same village. It really made the story come alive for me. Highly recommend to all. The following day was going to be huge so we again carb loaded and went to sleep early early early.
Day 12 - Everest Base Camp and Gorek Shep
We started early and after about 2 hours were in Gorek Shep where we would be spending the night, but only utilized this as a 30 minute rest as EBC would be a 2-3 hour hike over and about a 2 hike back. We got started quickly there after and packed a nak-cheese sandwich, soggy ‘chips’ (fries for us ‘mericans) and boiled egg lunch. We set out and it was tough. We were along glacier ridge for majority of the trek and it oscillated up and down-not so easy after a full morning. The altitude began to hit Misa in not a great way so she turned back just as this HUGE thunderhead started appearing. We missed here muchisimo, but were glad she was able to rest-especially since this was an optional day-we definitely wanted her strong for the remainder of our peaks and passes.
EBC was quite a site…all these yellow and red tents were sprinkled about though most were empty as climbers were either up on the mountain or heading home (a few organizations pulled out as they felt the conditions were not conducive to summiting this season) We got our photos and go out of there…we were tired and not wanting to get caught in the rain (luckily the rain missed us…but it was ominous all the same)
Day 13 - Kalla Patthar back to Lobuche
We woke up early from Gorek Shep and made our way up to Kalla Patthar our second peak! The views, once again were spectacular-we got to see Pumori, Everest, Base camp, the Kumbu ice fall- each which, breathtaking on their own, were stunning together. There was a bit of rock hopping towards to end that made it difficult but so worth it! We were all feeling the altitude so made our way down and evaluated at Lobuche whether or not to push on to Dzongla. Executive decision was to stay in Lobuche-Corrie was feeling worse and Misa hadn’t been 100% for a while so we knew we had to make some serious decisions the next morning.
Day 14 - Bye Corrie and Dzongla
Corrie was no better :( though Misa was feeling stronger. We unfortunately knew we’d have to part ways but it was definitely the best move. Corrie had done phenomenal so far-2 peaks and Everest base camp-that’s incredible! Most people make it to EBC for their 2 week trek!
Off we went to Dzongla and hung out the rest of the day. Liz, Misa, Jen and I did a mini hike to the top of the ridge and had our second oxygen deprived dance party….since there wasn’t a sound system, we attempted to emulate “the venga bus is coming, and everyone is jumpin…ny to san francisco…etc etc” We sounded just like the real thing, let me tell you. Needless to say that night we slept soundly, surrounded by a field of yaks-so neat!
Day 15 - Cho La Pass
HARDEST DAY EVER and absurdly rewarding. We sported gaiters and crampons (we’re legit hikers now). This was the only day thus far where the weather was less than lovely. We had about 50 ft visibility and were going up some steep rocks which required hands and knees to get up to the glacier. The way down was equally challenging as it was quite ‘scrambly’ (another one of Ade’s terms…I think I’ll start requesting scambly eggs going forward-I like the word). After that we had a few ups and downs until we made it Thangnag.
Day 16 & 17 - Gokyo, Gokyo Ri, Renjo La Pass and Lungdhen
We got up early to make it to Gokyo with a short break before summiting Gokyo Ri ...our 3rd and final peak. By this point, our legs were beginning to feel the days. This was probably the toughest summit, strictly because we had back to back long, and difficult days. Since we were summiting later in the day (opposed to the mornings like our other summits) we were unable to see Everest due to the cloud roll. Otherwise the views were (as always) fantastic and we got some great photos.
The next morning we tackled the Renjo La Pass. This was our last ‘big’ day, meaning a major incline before we began heading down down down. Big is an understatement as our repeated tough days were still taking a toll on our legs and Lauren and I’s health (we both have came down with a minor cold/cough) We got some incredible pictures at the top of the entire range…some wonderful photos of Everest and overall enjoyed the view for some time. We finally descended to Lungdhen. The squatters were spectacular here and if anyone’s curious…just google Nepal’s latrines. It’s the little things after a long long hike that make girls like us smile.
Day 18 - Namche and reunion with Corrie
Today was wonderful…everyone was feeling spectacular with the ‘thick’ air (4380m is FULL of oxygen) We originally were going to stop in Thame (the village with the most Everest sherpas) but pushed on to catch up with Corrie. We entered below the tree line and I couldn’t stop taking pictures…villages and streams and mountains and trees were just stunning. We stopped for lunch in Thamo (not sure on spelling) and finally made it to Namche at about 3 pm. Corrie looked leagues better and was infinitely cleaner than all of us…I’m sure we were a sight coming into town.
Next few days - Lukla, Kathmandu back to NYC
Dinner’s here in a bit and we made a team decision to split the next day into two rather than have a crazy full day tomorrow and 2 lazy days in Lukla. After brunch tomorrow we’re going to mosey to Phakding and perhaps visit the Reggae Bar nearby. Friday morning we’ll be getting up extra early to make it to Lukla by 10:30 for our 11 am visit with Classroom in the Clouds, our third and final benefiting charity. I think this will be best for all so we can truly soak up our last bit of time here before flying back to Kathmandu super early on Saturday.
Written by Morgan Muller
Day 15 & 16 - Gokyo Ri
Decisions on mountains are critical. Over the weekend four climbers on Everest lost their lives in just two days. The Himalayas especially have weather that can change in an instant and altitudes surpassing any other on earth. The latter, unfortunately, caused one of our teammates to descend down early. It is likely the most frustrating sickness to get; altitude sickness. It can come at any point, typically above 10,000ft and it can target even the extreme athletes. Corrie MacLean headed down on Day 14 to get thicker air. Within hours she was feeling better and after taking a dose of Dexamethasone she was ready to go again, but sadly would have to wait below for the rest of the team to complete the last peak.
Likely due to bad weather (though the full report has yet to come in), our team was out of reception and ended up losing a day. However, word came in yesterday, that the other five women made it successfully up Gokyo Ri. We are extremely proud of all the efforts, from training, to fundraising and hitting the trail. The journey is not always about the summit. In fact, it’s everything else, the getting there, the getting down and the decisions. We are glad our team has made good ones.
Congratulations and we look forward to hearing more about your visit to Classroom in the Clouds!
Day 14 - Cho La Pass
The team is in for a long day today as they trek on over Cho La Pass (17,783ft) - high enough we could have considered it another summit! In fact, the 3rd summit of the trip is tomorrow, and is actually lower than Cho La Pass. Can we say it’s all downhill from here? Not quite yet. The Himalayas are full up ups and downs. This path over Cho La Pass is typically covered in snow and offers a steep descent to Thangnang. The team will get some rest before attempting Gokyo Ri (17,585ft) tomorrow, their third and final peak.
Day 13 - Summit of Kala Patthar
Kala Patthar is said to offer the most spectacular vantage point for a sunrise in the world. Imagine looking out as the sun rises over the Himalayas, Everest, glacial fields…and imagine that feeling of achievement having made it to the summit, a cold, windy, rocky path. But when the sun rises you can feel the warmth hit your face, the only exposed part of your body.
This is precisely how Misa, Morgan, Liz, Corrie, Jen and Lauren spent their morning. Together, they awoke around 6:30am to prepare for their second peak, the summit of Kala Patthar at 18,192ft (5545m). In Nepali Kala Patthar means “Black Rock” and often appears so with a backdrop of snowy mountains standing behind it.
By 7am the team was on the trail putting one foot in front of the other.
At 9:10am a text came through stating they were on the summit, all of them, together, as a team… a massive accomplishment and another peak down! An hour and a half later they had descended back to Gorak Shep where they spent a few minutes relaxing before heading back to Lobuche. But that won’t be the end of their day, they will trek on to the small village of Dzongla where they will spend the night. It will no doubt be a very tiring day. Help us in congratulating the team by posting comments at the bottom of the page.
See pictures of Kala Patthar: http://everestbasecamptrekguide.com/best-pictures-from-kala-patthar/
Perhaps the most famous trail in the world is the one leading to Everest Base Camp. Thousands of trekkers flock to the Himalayas every year and regardless whether they dream to stand atop the world’s highest peak, or simply hike in for a better view, the trail to Everest Base Camp is well trodden.
Yesterday the team walked from to Lobuche, a small village that welcomes an approach to base camp. They arrived feeling well, joking lots, and just as the snow began to fall. This morning they got onto the beaten path and set out for Gorak Shep (16,864ft), arriving in time for breakfast. From there, they would take on another 2-3 hours to Everest Base Camp. Sadly, Misa was feeling the high altitude and decided to wait back where the air was fuller with oxygen.
LIVE from Everest Base Camp!
Everest Base Camp is a permanent village for a couple months each year and climbers heading to the summit typically spend between 4 to 8 weeks at the camp. This year reports have come back from the icefall doctors (sherpas who put up fixed ropes and ladders on the mountain every year) saying that conditions look extremely warm, which will lead to avalanches, icefalls, crevasses and a variety of other dangers on the mountain. Several companies have already canceled their climbs but the ones still there have mentioned a possible “window” to make it to the summit in the next couple days.
Read more: http://www.everestnews.com/
After a challenging trek to base camp the team has now returned back in Gorak Shep, met up with Misa who is feeling much better, and all are resting up before taking on their second summit to Kala Patthar tomorrow, home to the highest webcam in the world.
Day 10 - A summit for all!
The team awoke early to begin their trek to the summit of Chukung Ri (18238ft). Described by many as a very challenging trek to high altitude, mixed with alpine weather and lack of oxygen, turned out to be an incredibly beautiful day with amazing views. Weather was on their side as the team put one foot in front of another.
At around 10am Nepalese time, we received messages from the summit: “Hi from the top of Chukung Ri. 100% success. Everyone summit. Awesome views from the top.” From there the team began their descent, a long grueling 4 hours on tired legs. After refueling, and celebrating their success, the team was ready for a siesta! We are eagerly awaiting their “awesome photos” and will likely get those in a week’s time. From here out mobile phone and internet use is likely non-existent, but we will continue to receive updates via satellite phone.
Congrats to the entire team! What an achievement!!!!
Please post your comments to the team at the very bottom of this page. These comments are periodically sent their way.
Day 8 & 9 - Chukung Ri hours away
Day 8 - The team spent a beautiful day in Dingboche - a perfect place for acclimatization. They trekked up to 15,255ft (4650m) to help their bodies get used to thin air, before returning to Dingboche for another night’s sleep.
Day 9 - Today they awoke for their last full day before heading to their first summit, Chukung Ri at 18238ft (5565m). The team will head to summit soon, but once there, they won’t stay long. The lack of oxygen can quickly make trekkers nauseous and altitude sickness is common. They will, instead, snap a few photos, hang prayer flags and then head back down to Dingboche.
Every Peaks trek aims to get all members of the team to the summit at the same time. Though some often start earlier or later than others, it is an unimaginable feeling to stand together at the summit. Lets keep this team in our thoughts and wish the best for the 6 team members to reach Chukung Ri and safely descend to Dingboche for a nights rest… don’t forget - there are still two more mountains after this one!
As soon as we hear word we will update our Facebook page. Climb on!
(Mother’s Group - The Small World)
Day 7 - Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!
The team left early after breakfast for a steep ascent to Dingboche at 14720ft! This will be higher than most of the ladies have ever been. In order to help with acclimatization, they will stay there for two nights and use tomorrow to do local treks in the area.
They have arrived safely in camp and word came in around 2:45pm Nepalese time, that snow is falling and making the Canadians on the team (Liz, Jen and Corrie) homesick. In just three days they will attempt their first summit, Chukung Ri (18238ft). Keep trekking ladies!
Dinner in Kathmandu
Texts from the trail
Tonight the team will be camping after a full day of trekking from Namche to Kang Taiga. The trail followed the Imja Khola river to Thyangboche (12655ft – 3860m) offering, again, spectacular views of the Himalayas. The following text messages came through during the day.
10:45am (Nepalese time) Having a coffee break looking at the amazing mountain views of Ama Dablam.
3:15pm (Nepalese time) Arrived in Thyangboche in good time. Having a cuppa then off to see the monastery which is the main monastery in Khumbu. Everyone going well!
Day 4 & 5
Team member, Morgan Muller reports LIVE
Nepal has been absolutely amazing. I arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday, May 6th and we hit the ground running. Due to logistics, we had to meet with two of our charities at our hotel where we saw a presentation of what projects were being funded by our raised funds and let me tell you - every dollar is being put to incredible use. I really connected with The Small World, which was started by Karma Sherpa as a thank you to a woman who personally funded his education. Now they work as a liaison between NGOs and communities to build what it is the community most needs. Since we began our trek, the views have been breathtaking-pictures, paintings, my words, do them no justice.
A quick recap of each day as we saw it on the trail…
Day 1 - Kathmandu and jetlag
I was the last of the 6 women to arrive and it was a great adventure merely getting picked up at the airport. I was greeted with a wonderful orange lei and proceeded to fly through town as I was escorted to the hotel we stayed at for the first few days. My eyes were as big as they’ve every been as I was taking in the views. We drove past the previous king’s compound which, since he abdicated in 2007, has been turned into a museum - I can’t wait to check it out when I’m back in Kathmandu at the end of the trip. I was feeling a little woozy from all the traveling and jet lag so turned in early with hopes of getting back on track. The other women are incredible human beings. I’m so fortunate to be traveling in such incredible company…over half of our group is from the medical field so I know my parents are sleeping a little better at night. I love that we’re all from such different backgrounds and I really look forward to the friendships we’ll be building over the next few weeks.
Day 2 - Exploring the city and meeting The Small World and dZi Foundation
The morning we had off to explore the city before meeting with two of the organizations that benefited from our funds. I walked around with Misa, Lauren and Ade, our guide, which was so great. Ade has been to Nepal many times so he was able to take us off the beaten path. As a predominately Hindu area, there was more than once where we had to walk around cows that were ‘resting’ on the sidewalk and street. I took many pictures and look forward to uploading when I get home.
The projects benefiting from our funds are currently in remote villages in Nepal so representatives from The Small World and dZi Foundation came and presented to us at our hotel. Their gratitude and passion was incredible. It’s so rewarding to see pictures of the girls who are able to attend school now that they can stay at a hostel year round, rather than trekking 2 to 3 days each way just for 9th grade. dZi foundation is working on incredible sustainable technologies that help villages be self sufficient and flourish. I was so pleased with what we’re doing and made this trek even more worthwhile.
Day 3 - Early flight to Lukla
So Tuesday we woke up at 4 AM to make it to the domestic airport. We flew in a twin otter (not sure what that meant really) which was an extremely tiny plane with two engines and a total of 15 seats. We wove in and out of the mountains and again I hated even blinking for missing some of the spectacular views. We took a brief rest before beginning out trek to Phakding, our first stop. We took it easy the rest of the day as it was our first major introduction to the altitude. The other women and I agree, this is heaven. The lodges are so cozy, views stunning, company hilarious and purpose worthwhile. What more could a girl ask for?
Team hiking (minus Morgan)
Day 4 - Full day to Namche
Today was a tough day for all of us. We ascended approximately 800 meters and I know a few of us felt it. We always get going early so that we have time to relax and acclimate in the afternoon. This was definitely a much needed rest day. We got a brief rain shower but nothing detrimental. This town is literally on the edge of a mountain. It’s great because the mountain side is sprinkled with these blue and red roofs of all the lodges…they say this is more of a touristy village. I look forward to about a week from now when we venture off the typical Mt Everest base camp path and see a bit more rural areas.
Team at Everest View Hotel, drinking tea. They reported they had an awesome view of Everest and surrounding mountains.
Day 5 - Acclimatization
Today was an acclimatization day in Namche. Unfortunately the altitude got to me so while everyone ventured up to the Mt. Everest view tea house I turned around to rest. I know tomorrow will be tougher because of it, but Ade and I agreed-no need to make it worse today before we take off tomorrow. This is where I finally had a moment to get use the Internet and get in touch with everyone.
A visit to Khumjung School built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Himalayan Trust
Overall, this adventure has been breathtaking. No picture or painting can do this area justice. Honestly, stories really can’t either. This place, these people, everyone and everything are incredible. I’m so incredibly lucky to be on the trip and am so grateful to each and everyone of you that helped me raise my donation goal. THANK YOU. Your dollars are so well spent.
The team strapped on their boots yesterday to being the trek. Different from most of our treks, the flight into Lukla was their last form of transportation (apart from trekking) for the next 3 weeks. As they meander through the high Himalaya they will stop over in many tea houses and pass through several villages.
The first day of trekking included a hike to Phakding, a small, quaint village that is full of color. Jen spent her 25th birthday with the team and had a chance to make a wish as she blew out her birthday candles. Namaste!
A text came in saying “Arrived at our first night destination. Phakding. Lovely walk through villages and fields of sulu khumbu.”
Imagine yourself on the 3 Peaks Himalayas team. You’re female, fit and hungry for a challenge. Likely an avid adventurer, keen to support others while challenging yourself at high altitude. But why trek? Why not just support these local organizations form the comfort of your home?
Imagine trekking through the Himalaya every day from the age of five until finishing secondary school. Imagine a world where there is little time for studying between the endless hours of fetching water, looking after livestock and, above all else, simply reaching the classroom. All three of our beneficiaries in Nepal are striving to make education not only more affordable, but more accessible.
Our treks are thus designed to push the participants farther and higher than they have gone before while providing interactions and opportunities for exchange with local women and girls.
Our treks are about meeting with the beneficiaries and seeing first hand the endless efforts they are putting forth to ensure girls and women in the regions we trek are also provided the opportunity to reach higher than they thought possible.
On the second day of the 3P3W Himalayas challenge, our team spent time with two of our beneficiaries in Kathmandu (the third they will visit towards the end of the trip). In the morning the team met with The Small World, an organization working to provide education to children in rural areas of Nepal and in the afternoon they were met by staff from the dZi Foundation, an organization working to support villages through training, education and health initiatives. dZi also houses girls that would otherwise be vulnerable to child labor or abuse. The Small World enlightened the team with information about their efforts to involve communities with schools, develop community centers in various villages across Nepal, and implement a water project at one of the student hostels. dZi Foundation gave the team more insight about their water projects, village income projects and sent them off with a quick discussion about their worm composting projects.
The Small World
The Peaks Foundation envisions a world where every girl has the opportunity to gain an education, not just those who are footsteps away from a school. In an effort to help provide access to an education for rural Nepalese girls, the Peaks Foundation has also teamed up with Classrooms in the Clouds – our third beneficiary for this climb that the team will meet towards the end of their trek.
After enjoying a nice dinner at a local restaurant, Le Sherpa, the team went to sleep with jet-lag and full day under their belt. Unfortunately, they were up again at 4am for their flight to Tenzing Hillary airport in Lukla. We received a text message early this morning saying the flight was spectacular…it is, after all, a breathtaking airport at an elevation of 9,100 feet (2,800 meters) with a 12% gradient! The team is now meeting their sherpas (porters) to organize their kit and begin their trekking adventure!
Team with staff from The Small World
Due to time zone differences (Nepal is GMT +5:45) updates are often posted a bit later then they come in. Feel free to post comments below for the team and send them your encouragement for their trekking days ahead.
The first ever 3 Peaks 3 Weeks Himalayas is off to a great start. All six team members have arrived in Kathmandu and taken this first day to get acquainted with the city. Kathmandu is easily accessible on foot and offers a wonderful welcome into Nepal.
The team will spend all day Monday in the city meeting with Peaks’ partner organizations before jumping on a flight to Lukla.
Meet the team:
Elizabeth Fee Canada
Jen Vos Canada
Corrie Maclean Canada
Morgan Muller USA
Misa Kurano USA
Lauren Denney Australia
A big happy birthday to Jen Vos, who will be spending her 25th birthday in Nepal today.
Stay posted here for more updates as they trek through the high Himalaya.
Posted by Laura on 05/07 at 05:37 AM