Mountally challenged > Harry's Everest 2005 trip updates

9th April: Hello from Tibet! No Heli, but army escort!


Hi all!

well finally we have arrived in Tibet, we are in Zhangmu right now, where the chinese customs post is.

Yesterday we still though that the trip was going to be by helicopter, but suddenly there was an opportunity to exercise Plan B after al: an army escort.
So today a strange sight was seen in mountainous Nepal: A huge white fully armed army vehicle followed by a dozen buses and trucks containing not only ours, but also other expeditions and their cargo.

We did see no Maoist rebels and encountered no roadblocks and though we had to stop a few times to change escorts we made decent time and arrived at the Kodari border in the early afternoon. The Nepali people were clearly surprised by our huge convoy and some applauded when we passed. The strike causes them much hardship as they can not sell their products or buy other much needed stuff as supplies are stopped to a complete halt.

The Maoist have more influence than they might know and Nepal appears to have more problems with controlling it than it might appear. For example, yesterday night when my insomnia brought me and my knowledgeable local friend Katrin to a nightclub where there was some nice dancing music. It was all very pleasant and relaxed and the night was just starting to pick up when suddenly half a dozen armed soldiers came walking in, shut down the music and effectively the club by simply pointing their guns at all people in the room and directing us to the exit.

So at 00.30 we were standing outside quite unexpectedly and noticed that also many other clubs and bars appeared to be closed without any clear reason. Just a few hidden places would let us in, with the curtains closed, to avoid the army that was still patrolling.
A weird experience that made quite clear that this situation influences daily life a lot. The nightclub was one of the few places where actually a few dozen tourists were spending hard needed forreign currency and then it is just shut down. Stuff like this makes it even harder in the poor Nepalese society to make some $$ as the number of tourists arriving at this beautiful and warmhearted country have decreased dramatically the past year...


When you walk across the Friendship bridge towards China, you immediately lose 2 hours and 15 minutes (!) so our cargo is not yet through customs, should arrive first thing tomorrow.

Then we wil also continue our journey towards Everest by ascending to Nyalam at 3700m where we will spend one or 2 nights to acclimatise before continuing to (old) Tingri, Xigar and finally, Everest BC!

All the best from close to the top of the world  8)


Harry, stop complaining. The army only have your interests at heart. They and you both know that you need to get to bed nice and early in order to be as rested as possible before you start climbing. You should be grateful.

Oh, is that the Chinese police I see outside, checking on when you're going to get off the Internet?

Hahaha, at least someone is reading these posts ...

though Arbu actually read it on my screen as he was sitting next to me  ;D

Oops, Chinese police :o

Hi Harry,

Sounds like you guys encountering a few unexpected challenges, let's hope they're all behind you now.

I was wondering what mechanism you guys are using to connect to the internet, and do you expect to be able to do this while you are on the mountain?

What equipment are you taking with you to enable you to send/receive email, and how well does it perform (speed of up/download and connectivity etc)?

Hope your cargo arrives on time!

Chris Valentine:
They have been making use of Internet Cafes, but Lorenzo has a Thuraya satellite phone and I think Harry has one too. From last year's expedition, they know that laptops are vulnerable to the high altitudes and thus haven't taken one. Sadly the team doesn't have the ability to send photos - I just wish we'd have had a little more time to put some kit together to enable Lorenzo to send at least small images, perhaps as MMS messages, if only to illustrate his audio blog. The Hughes Thuraya has a data port and we have seen an HP iPAQ solution that can transfer and send images.



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