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Author Topic: Friday 27th August: Tingri (4300m) - BC (5200m)  (Read 4207 times)

Ron

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  • Adapt,improvise and overcome!

Leaving early we saw the day slowly starting to shine it's light over the wonderful Tibethan plateau. It's actually a lot greener than I expected, with grass and bushes and grazing cattle.

Very few Tibethans seem to live in tents nowadays, all villages we pass are blocks of quite ugly white square houses. Only the stacks of prayer flags on them give some colour. We race through the villages and leave the Friendship Highway at the huge sign indicating the Chomolungma national park.

In the first small village we have to show our permits and pick up a
hitchhiker: an old Tibethan woman carrying some luggage and a small popcorn bag. The reason for the latter became painfully clear within a few minutes:
although the Tibethans and Sherpa's are known for their strength at altitude, motion sickness is something their genes have not found an antidote to...

We continued up to another high pass via a huge amount of switchbacks. The dirt road was really good and safely rebuilt up the steep slopes. At the top of the pass is a viewpoint again fully decorated with thousands of prayer flags. Before us Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse & Makalu, all over 8000m, appeared as giants on the horizon, breathtaking (or maybe that was just the altitude:
5100m)!



The road descended to 4300m using more switchbacks, bridges and even a tunnel. Everest is business and the new road has improved access greatly, although mostly unpaved, it is good enough for trucks, jeeps and most buses.

It passes some more small villages and then slowly climbs until it reaches the Rongbuk monastery at about 6km before BC at 5100m. I was looking for some extra blessings, but no monks were available, so after taking some nice pix of the monastery with Everest towering behind we continued. The last section is only allowed for vehicles with climbers and supplies, all trekkers and other visitors have to walk or use one of the available horse cars.



At about 12.30 the kilometer markers that had been counting down from 92 the moment we left the Friendship Highway reached 1 and then the stone buildings of Everest BC came into view! I was a bit worried when I saw no tents, hopefully the team had not left for ABC yet as I had much gear with me that I wanted to put on a Yak..

But we rounded another small hill covered with prayer flags and the Dutch Chomolungma 2004 BC appeared! About a dozen small tents (one each, including the sherpas) and a few larger tents, a toilet and shower tent, a large pile of rocks with prayer flags extending to all directions and mighty Everest towering behind!!



And Dutch climbers! Everybody came out to welcome me and was looking quite happy. They had spend a week getting from Kathmandu to BC, sleeping 1 night in Zhangmu, 3 nights in Nyalam and 2 nights in Tingri.

Evereybody seemd reasonably acclimatised, only Boris was looking very bad and complained about severe headaches; he had been hiking at full power when the group did some acclimatisation hikes in Tingri and it seemed that his body did not agree with this now...

The team was just about to leave for an acclimatisation walk to the Interim Camp (IC), the first stop halfway up to ABC. I felt quite good even after getting from Kathmandu (1300m) to BC within 44 hours, seemed that the Pakistan acclimatisation had not wore off even after 2.5 weeks of being below 4000m. I decided to test myself and quickly had some lunch and joined the team (except for Boris). We hiked over a large open field between our BC and the glacier, this area is normally filled with several dozens of expeditions,but right now we are the only ones! We have the mountain for ourselves,which has some pros and cons ofcourse: it will be much more work to fix the route and make trail, but it will be much safer as there will be no crowdsof inexperienced people blocking key parts of the routes and the ropes will be available when we need them...



We followed the clear trail to the left of the glacier moraine until we reached the junction of the West/East Rongbuk glacier. If you want to climb the North Face of Everest you have to go straight, we will go around Changtse (Bei Peak) and approach the North Col from the North East.

There was a great view of wonderful PumoRi, a 7000-er with easy as well extremely difficult routes.



We continued for a whil up the moraines until we reached 5550m and decided to call it a day as we had to walk all the way back again. Some had a headache, but in general we did very well.

The way back was long, but the 4 dogs that accompanied us all the way up and down made the trip easier!



Boris was still suffering from his headaches and it seemed to be getting worse. We decided it would be better if he went down to one of the villages between BC and the pass, located at 4300m. He should wait there and acclimatise until his condition would be good enough for him to come up. We arranged for a Landcruiser to pick him up, which cost $100 for the taxiride down, and he left  late in the evening...

So our team had been complete for a few hours, but now we were missing one again, hopefully Boris recovers soon.



We also decided that an extra rest day would benefit us all and we agreed too have our Yaks come up one day later, on Sunday evening, so we would travel to Interim Camp on Monday, not sunday.


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