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Author Topic: April 5th: Bruce Matthews: Xigatse(Shigatse)...we are on our way!  (Read 11565 times)

bruce matthews

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Bill Tyler is reporting on this site and is a member of the 7 Summits-Club expedition.He reported yesterday on our arrival in Lhasa...he covered most of what I was going to report so I will run on from there! Bill is returning to complete what he started last year with Alex's expedition.Unfortunately, he had to abandon last year as a result of a severe lung infection when at advanced base camp.

Yesterday we visited the Potala Palace, also known as the White Palace or Snow Palace...it is white washed each year.The palace was built in the 1600's and numerous Delia-Lama are entombed there. It is a remarkable building that survived the takeover of Tibet when many monasteries were destroyed; it it the most prominent structure in Lhasa.

The Chinese Influence is very apparent and the population of Lhasa has increased from
100 000, 15 years ago, to today's 270 000! There are still parts of the city that can be identified as Tibetan but there is change.The fears of the Tibetans is that they will lose their culture and traditions!

Lhasa is the largest city in Tibet and is situated in the centre of the so called autonomous region known as Tibet. There is a new railway line that has been constructed which carries about 1000 passengers on a train that takes 48 hours from Beijing...there are 4 trains daily! The upcoming Olympics in China next year has led to huge development and this is evident in the new roads, buildings etc. Temperatures at this time of year here are a mild 19 degrees centigrade with a minimum of 3 degrees centigrade at night; there is a sweepstake running amongst the expedition members as to when I might finally get into a pair of long trousers!


Today we left Lhasa at 10:00am in a convoy of 4 Land Cruisers and a truck carrying additional suppplies and our table tennis equipment! The day was clear and traffic light on this new highway which seems to have a speed limit of 80 kilometers per hour ( 50 MPH)...there are no mandatory speed signs! In Lhasa the traffic was very orderly and speed not an issue. There are many rickshaws and mopeds that are electrically powered. The roads are wide and they drive on the right hand side of the road which is a bit disconcerting for some of us!

We arrived in Xigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, situated SW of Lhasa and about?260 kilometers from Lhasa, at 4:30 pm. We then proceeded to visit another mmonastery..this one built in 1447 and has the body of the first Delia-Lama entombed within it's walls.

Altitude of Xigatse is 3900 and tomorrow we head to Shakar at an altitude of 4500 meters. Because of this increase in altitude, we will spend two nights there and do some hiking up into the hills. We expect to be at base camp on Easter Sunday...Yeeha!

The expedition members are all in good spirit and there are no signs of altitude sickness...probably not expected at these altitudes but some minor symptoms will surely present as we gain altitude. Everyone is being very cautious and nothing is done at speed!The Internet Cafe I am using here has only Chinese staff and communication is difficult. We will have our own setup in Base Camp and beyond and at that time I will post some photographs of our trip to date.

We are not sure of ccommunications in Shaker but amazingly, our local cell 'phones work incredibly well and we are expecting to have this coverage from Base Camp. Please feel free to text my mobile and I will reply. 021 580 580

'Till later

Cheers

Bruce
« Last Edit: Apr 5 2007, 21:43 by 7summits »

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Re: Xigatse(Shigatse)...we are on our way!
« Reply #1 on: Apr 5 2007, 21:42 »

Hi Bruce,

thanks for the updates, it is very nice to visualize all that you are experiencing through your stories. Looking forward to the pictures of Lhasa and Shigatze.

ps: when going to climb the old ruins on top of the hill in Xigar (Shegar), remember there are 2 ways to get to the top: the stupid way scrambling straight up and the smart way, curling around the back of the hill :)

When you get there you will know what I mean :D
"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

bruce matthews

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Hi Harry

We climbed to the top this morning...thesmart way!! Fortunately we had our guide with us...Bill lead the way!!

I am sitting in a very backward Internet cafe and struggling a bit...I am not sure I will be able to post pictures from here to the forum so will send them to you and you can do your best with them!

The team is all strong!

Cheers

Bruce

Mountain John

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Good news for you, Bruce and Bill.  The Gods are more tolerent to let you climb Everest if you first climb Shegar.

Yes, in 05 i tried the stupid way (as Harry puts it) and almost killed myself.  Luckily I had just walked under the "library of knowledge", (to get smart) so I turned back.  Then when i got to the bottom and heard that was the wrong way, I "ran" back up in less than an hour and made the summit.  I was determined to reach the prayer flags at the summit!

Good luck to you guys.  I met Bill in 2003, when he gave a talk on Denali, at REI.   I only had 1 summit down, at the time!  Now I am sitting back, done, and have given 16 talks at REI.  Moral of story: all you 7summit wishers, get off your butt and start climbing.

Oh, and didn't i hear the pool table broke on the way to base camp?

Mountain John
Not a perfect person, but a true person.

treefrog

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Hi Bruce,
Fascinated by your news and extremely happy that all sounds so good.
Keep going...
Your pals,
Knigel, John and Gary

DARRYL

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Hiya Bruce,
Found the site !  Used GPS and Seat of Pants! (And Rosy expertise)
Very happy to hear all is going well and will now write regularly.
Keep safe!

Darryl and Rosy
 

bruce matthews

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Hey darryl

Thanks for writing...I posted yeterday and wil do so again after we return from IBC...we leave for there tomorrow.

Had huge headache last night but well again today!

Will reort on IBC and the Puja Ceremony we had this am/

Cheers

Bruce

DARRYL

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Sawobona Bruce,
Viewed your photo...looking good for your age!
I beleive Yetis are attracted by stubble!
Should you meet one I hope it is pretty...and female.
How are your boots holding up? The glacier walks seem to shred all types.
Did you get an ice-axe ?

Drink all the water you can.

Enjoy

Darryl and Rosy. 

Rosemary

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Dear Bruce,
Well, at last I have also managed to get registered on this site in order to send you messages.  We are thinking about you all the time and I know Darryl is sort of reliving his experiences that he had when he went to Everest.  I am so amazed to hear that you will be climbing up to the North Col...... how exciting but please take care......
We are in the midst of sorting and packing for our move next month to our totally revamped and renovated simplex - we are very excited!
All is well here in sunny SA and we will follow your progress daily.   What a life changing experience it is to go to Everest.  It changed Darryl's (& my) life in a wonderful postive way forever.
Enjoy everything (is that possible under those conditions?)  keep safe.
Lots of love
Rosebud
XXXXXXXXXXX

bruce matthews

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Hey Darryl
« Reply #9 on: Apr 14 2007, 15:33 »


Hey Darryl

Sorry I have not responded sooner...see my reply to Gary etc and it will bring you up to speed.

No Yetis as yet, either sex! We walked to Intermediate earlier this week so quite looking forward to doing it a second time with acclimatisation; then there is the unknown of ABC.

Base Camp is becoming quite full and there are now at least 20 expeditions here. Russell  Bryce from NZ has a large setup and a number of his members are being filmed for Discovery Channel.

Ronnie Muhl, my good friend from Cape Town is part of Arun Expeditions out of Kathmandu and he along with three other Capetonians are hoping to summit.

Regarding boots and ice axe, I will not get into my Koflach plastics until our next foray up the mountain and get onto the North Col..Don't need an ice axe as we will be on fixed lines using a Jumar.

Earlier in the week I went to visit the mound central to Base Camp where there are many memorials to climbers who have perished on Everest this side...today, I noticed the new memorial to David Sharp!

As soon as we are back, I will post on the preceding days walks and of the camp up at 6400m.
Stoelle

Bruce

P.S. We have just hired a motor bike to allow our members and Sherpa to get around base camp.
 

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