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  1. #1

    Default Back from EBC

    Hi, there, everyone! Or... namaste!

    I want first of all to thanks the help I received here before I did go to Nepal. The infos were really usefull. Thanks a lot, people!

    I got back from Nepal in Nov., 21 Nov.

    The trek was great, really great. We trekked 1 month (31 days), from Jiri to EBC-Gokyo.

    Kathmandu has a unique way to be. Thamel is dirty, confusing, polluted, with narrow streets crowed by cars, rikshaws, people, bikes and motorbikes. It is noisy. We (me and my babybrother) just love it!

    The deals for buy gear starts good. It's very easy to bargain and get good prices, but is easier to waste lots of time at it and after a few hours I just couldn't stand anymore of the "what's your price?". So, after 2 days in Thamel I was desperate to go trek.

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    The protagonists of the trek, taveling over the Kathmandu-Jiri old bus. Photo by Marcéu, my brother, who auto-cut his own face. I am the other, the ugly one.

    Day 00

    The bus to Jiri was agradable, even if we had to travel the first 2 hours inside of a over-croweded small bus until it got out some army barriers. The other armies stops didn't care about traveling in the roof. Yes, we did go in the roof and was fantastic, even if was 8 hours of it. The people were friendly and good-humoured. We were the only tourists there, so we got lots of atention, what wasn't always welcomed, like the guy who seats in my brother legs or the one who decided my shoulder looked nice to have a nap on it.

    The way of driveing bus on the roadway isn't much opposite of the one in Thamel. Lots of honking, whispering, claping, shouting, ziga-zags, etc. Lots of dangerous situations on the way and wtih others cars/trucks/bikes/people/cows, but after a few hours you just accept it like it was and relaxed. One time our driver smashed a mirror of other bus and didn't even sptoped to see the damage. I guess he didn't want lose the good momentum of the bus.

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    Danda la, 2440m, our first mountain high pass and also first deserved rest after leaving Jiri towards Shivalaya. For a long time, days, we would meet and re-meet people who we saw at this pass, nepali and trekkers. Marcéu is the yellow one, talking with a nepali guy. Lots of backpacks lying there, as you can see. Photo by me.

    Day 01

    After sleeping in Jiri, finally the trek! we start very entusiastic on the street behind Jiri, just to desperate when saw the first uphill a little further. With 25kg of mostly useless gear and 1 past-year of no exercise at all, I just wasn't prepared for that. The views were great, but the pain were greater.

    We had our LP with us, and so I've read that was better to go no further then Shivalaya on the first day, because if we go to Bhandar it would be a long and hard day. But since I'm latino, therefore I'm a MAN, I decided go to Bhandar. Staying in Shivalaya is for pussyes an tourists. Bhandar is for MACHOS trekkers. The crossing of the firts bridge and the arriving in Shivalaya still early in the mornig reassured me that I was OK and had enough stamina and testosterona to push to Bhandar.

    Yeah... very nice, but when I just got out Shivalaya, what is there? a BIG, HUGE, LONG, INFINITE rock staircase. I thougted that it was like the ones we got early in the morning, but no... that -beeeeep- just keeps going and going and going and going. They say that "the first time we never forget", so this first serious hill will be remembered by us as "Deurali ascent" and would be equivalent of "nightmare", because it is what it was for me: hell on earth. The sun, the dust, the backpack, the huge steps... all screamed: "we gonna kill ya!"

    Around 16:00h I was very desapointed and thinking seriously in come back to the nice hotels in Kathmandu and forget this yak's life [by the way, not much yaks on the way to Lukla. Looks like there is it after just for the tourists's amusement. But there was LOTS of over-loaded porters]. I have no ideia why I didn't did it but keep going. At 17:00h, almost crying, we got in Deurali. Because was getting dark and we were so tired, we let to get in Bhandar next day. We sleeped like rocks.

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    I'm not sure if this photo is from the Sete or Deurali's ascent. The notes says ete, so as Sete will be commented.Hours and hours of this, under a evil Sun. After Kenja, cames the Sete Ascent. That one is Marcéu, my brother, figthing his way up to the hill. My photo, of course.

    Day 02

    Next day we get up very early, to try cross Bhandar before the maoists wake up. We heard that was in Bhandar that they where collecting the "donations". But we had no such lukc, because once we get there we were so hungry that had to stop for breakfeast. While we are eating, a old guy cames inside very smoothly and hand us a book of what I thougted be a kind of lotterie. Was the maoist... 5000 Rupies... per person...

    I heard after that that many people got better prices, but with THAT guy at THAT day, there was no bargainig. Or pay, or go back. Not just us, but everybody who was there. Around 15 people. Good day for someone's purse...

    After the "contribution", the maoist came shake our hands very hard. It was the most expensive handshaking of my like.

    After that we just flew on the way. We forgot all the troubles of the day before and life was good. So we just keep going down, straight, down, straight. No uphill. I thougted the worst was gone and fell the MACHO talking again and saying to go to Sete, another, following the guide, long and hard day. But I thougted my EGO were more correct then any stupid book, so... we push.

    The bad is that after lunch, what we find? yes... the "Sete Ascent". This one to be breaked in half.

    What is wrong with Nepal??? there is almost no straight patch on that trek! we just go up and down, uuuuuuuuuup, dooooooown.

    At 18:00h we got in Sete. I was a little better then dead. Completely exhausted, headaches, nauseas, dizzy... I thougted it was the sun, but when next day I got in the Lanjura la at 15:00h, I knew it was AMS. So I just sleeped there and would see how I was going to be the next day.

    To be continued...

    []'s

    Hendrik
    Last edited by Hendrik van Dingenen; 19th April 2006 at 01:43 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    West Coast Canada
    Posts
    749

    Default

    Looking forward to more!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Posts
    516

    Default Good to see a "report back"

    I had been wondering since a couple of weeks what had happened to
    Hendrik and Chief Brody and others who have asked questions and
    been given help on this site. It is good to see Hendrik filing a report
    after "mission accomplished".

    Since I have trekked in from Jiri several times I can really relate to
    Hendriks vivid descriptions of the many challenges facing a machotrekker
    wannabe the first days out of Jiri.

    "Lamjura is a Bitch!" I wrote in my diary the last time I fought my way
    up that long climb.

    I agree with Sharon, looking forward to hear more.
    Spare us no details of your hardships Hendrik!

  4. #4

    Default Part II

    Thanks, guys, for the good reception and I’m happy that my narrative amuse you people, even if in a so bad english. Hope you can understand most of all.

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    Little exemplo from the last steps on the Sete Ascent. Is that and worst for almost 2 consecutive days. Photo by Marcéu, showing the way over the crest that takes to the Lanjura pass.

    Day 03

    Like I said, we got in Lanjura Bhanjyang very late. The LP told us that is possible to be there at noon leaving from Sete, and see the little planes passing very low on the pass. Some kind of touristic manoeuvre the pilots do to amuse their importante ($$$) guests (us!). But since I couldn’t walk 10 minutes without having to stop and take big breaths and lay down for a while, we got there 15.00h. The dead-alive guys in Resident Evil looked more alive then me. At last that ones could run. I barely could breath. At this time I realized I had AMS. 3400m looked like be my limite of climb without aclimatize and the MACHO pushing didn't exactly helps it.

    So, with the Lanjura la on view, I breaked down and told my brother that had to esleep there. He wants go to Tragdobuk, “just after” the pass, but one of the sides efects of my AMS was to be deaf to anything else but my over-powering will to go sleep. So, we took our lunch there. Yes, lunch at 15.00. In the rush to get over Lanjura la, we didn’t had lunch. Not good, eh?

    There, in a small and nice lodge I discovered RARA. Follow trekkers going to Nepal, don’t let the nice list of soups in the menus follish you. Most are the well know instant soup we are so used to have at home (if you are an bachelor as me, you’ll understand). So I got a RARA thinking it was some kind of local home-made soup. But the damn thing was just instant soup and, worst of worst, it was very, very, pikant. And I HATE with all my will, with all my heart, peppered food. To eat that RARA was as bad as ascending Sete or Deurali: the plate seens bottomless. All the way from Jiri I tried to discovery which word they would understand for "don't but pepper on the food". Sadly I myself knew no word for "pepper", so I used "pikant, hot, sharp" and some other useless expressions. Later I learned the magic word "pepper" and my toilet-life became easier. Boy, that people just love peppered food!

    After the...er...food I go sleep. It wasn’t 16.00h and I was already sleeping (later, when came my brother’s turn to have MAS, I would know how luck I was to be able to sleep with AMS) and at 18.00h he cames in waking me up to go dinner. If I was not so sick I swear I would send hem running down back to Sete.

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    On the way down to Junbesi, I could resiste make a pose besides a huge rock wall painted with some mantras. Marcéu wanted that I stop, but the wind there were so strong that I was afraid of falling.

    Day 04

    I did eventually wake up at 6.00h in the morning. Yes, more then 12 hours sleeping. I guess I was tired besides sick. Felling lots better, we headed to Lanjura la and expended around 30m there for pictures and sigh-viewing. Even if the pass was almost besides the village, it fells good to be there. MACHO, EGO and TESTOSTERONA, my holy trinity, starts to wake up also. Why not? I just had prevail over the worst Nepal could throw me, so there was no reason to be a pussy and slow down. Man, I can be super-stupid some times... lots of times... most times... alright, that is enough of “mea culpa”.

    In Lanjura we meet a small boy, around 8 years old, who adopts my brother and was determinated in domesticanting him in giving him, the boy, some candys, or pens, or rupies, or wherever. After the photoshoot, he tries to follow him for a while, but his mother cames in rescue of my brother and call the little demon, I mean, child, back.

    Like everybody who has done this trail, this was not the first time we meet such childs. As soon they see us, they start the mantra: “alô, pen!” (most commun) or “alô, sweet!” or “alô, flower!” or “alô, beatiful!” (this last one was a mistery for me) or “alô, rupie!”. Some times they try to make a little show in front of us, so they try to show that they deserve the reward. But we had agreed to not feed this kind of behavior, and we had nothing to give in our over-loaded backpacks. Thinking now I should have give then around 10kg of useless gear I had with me, but at the time I was still convenced that that stuff would be very usefull in the near future.

    But the boy in Lanjura was diferent. His mantra was like “alô pen, no pen. Alô pen, no pen. Alô pen, no pen. Alô pen, no pen”. I think he gots the menssage and needs no answer anymore.

    So we finally got the downhill pach. The next village must be nearby and we should be early in Junbesi. But we go down, down, down and by 10.00h I was convenced that NOTHING on the EBC trail is “almost there”, but I must say that the way to Junbesi was very nice, because it wasn’t very much uphill, or nothing like the scaries Deurali and Sete's acents. Felling MACHO again, I rush to Junbesi. When got there, we saw that the vilage was pretty much adapted to the tourist flow and the prices were a preview of what we would find on the way post-Lukla.

    Since still early and we didn’t like Junbesi that much ($$$), we decided go to the Everest First View Hotel, a “little” further after Junbesi, but... the damn thing was uphill. So, there we go, again, huphill and, again, the “little” further became an endless and painfull walk. Actually we meet the owner of the lodge on our way up and he keeps saying that we were “almost there”. Since “there” never became “here” hour after hour, I desesperate, what has became a kind o habit for me. All the sherpa people we meet on the way says the same “just 15 minutes walk ”, “just 10 minutes walk”. Soon I learned the difference betwee sherpa walk and my walk, and it was a HUGE difference. Normally I had to multiple the given time by 2 or 3. So, “30 minutes walk” would be no less then “1.30 hour walk”. The gap between the LP times and my times also became larger and larger. My MACHO-SUPER-TREKKER-DUDE starts to shrink. The epiphany wasn't far.

    Just 2 hours before sunset we got in the EFVH. The place was good, the views great, and the wind, sharp. I took my camera to have some shots of my objective, Everest, just to see that my objective, Everest, didn’t want come out of the clouds. “Oh, hell, tomorow morning I’ll try shot the little bastard again. For now I will kill my pains and deception on a nice fried mix rice and some tasty yak cheese”.

    To be continued....

    []'s

    Hendrik
    Last edited by Hendrik van Dingenen; 22nd March 2006 at 02:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    215

    Default Jiri to Lukla

    Great stuff Hendrik, good to hear someone talk so honestly about the Jiri to Lukla trek into the Khumbu.
    I have trekked that path myself twice and I still rate it about the toughest hiking I have ever done. It doesn't help that you hit it straight off the plane so to speak. If it was later in the trek I'm sure it would be easier.
    I don't think you had AMS at the top of Lamjura, I think you were just exhausted !!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    201

    Default

    Great post, I can't wait for the next installment. Your english is wonderful and I can feel your pain.

  7. #7

    Default Back from the Limbo

    Hello there, everybody.

    Maybe some of you were wondering what hell happens. Maybe not and were relieved because finally I stoped posting my boring relate.

    The problem is that, for a mix of lots of reasons, I became "ISPless" on the last months, so I couldn't update my "accomplished mission relate". I hope that now I will have Net for a while and if not, at last the next time I lose my conexion again, it will be for a shorter period.

    Bad luck for you people is that I didn't stop writing my relate, so it's like I have kind of accumulated material to post, what I will do on the next days. My last post was just before becoming "Netless" and stopped at "Day 14". Now I am on "Day 23", so it's really lots of pages. Bud I didn't have time to review it all and correct/erase the most obvious and monstruos English erros on it, so it will take a while. One commun error I discover just now is the diference between "then" and "than", so my texts are packed with "then" meaning "than". I think I will just run a "search & change" on the document and get ride of it all.

    Other stuff is that the relate became more dull. I don't know why, really. So I think it will be less interresting to read it now.

    Thanks and see you soon with "Day 15".

    Hendrik

  8. #8

    Default Part XIII


    Top of the Nangkar Tshang, between 4800 e 5000m, our first Himalayan peak, where we celebrate building a small Brazilian tower: the flags are green and yellow, Brazilian colors.

    Day 15

    We did not leave Pangboche too early, mostly because the breakfast wasn’t ready at the time we asked the lodge’s owner to have it ready on the day before. I start to ask myself about the usefulness of this action. I mean, why bother writing down our breakfast at the books, putting the hours on it and talk with the owners about wake hours and orders if they will just put the book at some obscure place, forget about it and ask all over again next day?

    The day was beautiful. No clouds in the sky and the Sun is shining very much. I thought would be nice have breakfast outside, at an improvised terrace the owners had carved and put some tables, besides the traditional porter’s wall.

    Until Nepal, in the countries were I used to live, Sun shining always stands for warmer environment, if there is not much wind, like in Belgium. But in Nepal I did learn that the Sun also, can be reduced to a mere decorative object. OK that was too early to the Sun be strong, but I did expected to feel something and what I did feel was nothing. The Sun was little more than a lamp hanging on the sky, delivering a total of 0 hot.

    So we did go back to the dining room, where some porridge and tea welcome us. Out of some unbelievable act of merci, the owner’s husband gives us some honey to sweet the porridge.

    Both my brother and I were feeling OK. No AMS at sight. So we decide to go further.

    The LP suggests going to Pheriche, but also gives Dingboche as possible next night stop, but advices to be careful, since Dingboche is higher than Pheriche. But Dingboche is at the Chokung valley, one of the planned “maybe-to-be” side treks. So, we head to there. (But there are too much "but"s on thsi sentence. Oh, well, bear with it).

    After Pangboche, the way is very flat, broad, straight and beautiful. Is a very nice walk. Just feel sorry about the lack of discrete places where I could take a pee without it been witnessed by half Himalaya. I try going behind some big rocks, and the quantity of toilet paper laying there prove to me that I wasn’t being original, but if I hide enough so the people going up wouldn’t see me, I make myself plain visible to the people coming down. And vice-versa. I just had to decide at whom I wanted show myself doing some basic action, and chose some yaks and porters as audience. If I waited a little more, there was some women and children coming, but wasn’t sure about the cultural impact my gesture would cause. I play a little melting snow, making yellowish draws on it, etc.

    As usual, my brother fly away. He goes over the plain. Ah… to be 20 again… lean and mean… sigh…

    The LP talks about a fork before Phriche, where the broader trail goes to Dingboche. I was expecting to see something well demarcated, but saw nothing. The trail to Dingboche looks like some detour improvised. I seat there waiting someone pass and confirm to me that that was the correct trail. It goes down and the other goes up. Down is NOT good. Downs mean up just a little further, so I wasn’t enthusiastic about getting on something smelling of up climbing.

    But that was the trail, sadly… My hopes of getting early at Dingboche goes underwater and I set my mind and body to “yak mode” and start the down and up climbs.

    Lots later, I get in Dingboche. I like the village and the valley. There is plenty of lodges to look for rooms. It’s just as Thami, only a little cheaper, maybe. My brother is there, with room and food arranged. Good job, bro! too bad it is at the middle of the village, so I couldn’t collapse straight away.

    The lodge was very nice. It’s managed by a lady and her son, a very dynamic and modern boy. He make us a good deal (sorry again about it, folks) and the rooms where outside. While we set up our baggage and tired bones, tents are prepared. The boy’s father is guiding a group to the Ama Dablam’s base camp.

    Oh, no… not again… not another organized group…

    Since still early, we go for a walk after lunch. The plan is to do something short, maybe just over a crest besides de village, where some gompas are hanging.So we begin at the start of the crest we walk it’s length. I’m not fan of up climbs, but have to admit that the views up there are nice and the LP was right about it: Chokung valley is wonderful. From there we could see the trail up to Duglha and it seems flat enough to my lazy body. Looks like there is a trail climbing the crest just on it’s middle, from where most trekkers come and go, but I think I will walk around it. Looks easier. There, on the middle, there is a gompa with places to seat, but we decide to go further. I don’t know how, but STILL early and we chose to go further and further. There is a little peak in front and the way become that typical “Nepal-hill-climb-trail”: not large, rocky and full of switch backs. We look to each other and to the hill. It’s a extra hill, since we talked before only about the Chokung ri, Kala Pattar and Gokyo ri, what sounded more than enough hill climbing for a trek, but that one, the Nangkar Tshang, didn’t even come on the LP. We have to look at the maps and found it at the Jiri to Everest’s Himalayan MapHouse. No altitude. Something between 4800 and 5000 meters. But it’s a peak nonetheless, it’s there and we’re here too, so… why not?

    Like everyday before, the clouds start to cover the lands and sky when we’re at the middle of the climb. For a moment we were in doubt if complete a climb with no views, but then decide to go anyway. Climbs are not just view, at last for me. Is to be there, at the peak. My last peak “trek-climb”peak was the Stanyo, in the Andorra’s Pirineus. It is just 2975m high, but the feeling of being there, of satisfaction, was unbeatable, so I go to this Nangkar Tshang’s peak, with or without clouds.

    After a couple of hours, we get there. At this time, we could see only a dozen of meters around us, let alone see any view from the glaciers, valley or mountains around, but it’s OK. It’s the first peak of my brother and I would like it to be on a clear sky, but we can’t have all in our life, so we find satisfactory just have done it.

    The Nangkar Tshang’s peak is small and without the views, there isn’t much to do up there, so after some photos, we start climbing down. The mist was pretty thick by now, but no danger of falling or getting lost. Soon we arrived at our lodge. The tents are up and the group, like any adventurer one who camps on the trail, is inside the lodge, being served tea and cookies by them nepali “helpers” and warming up at the dining room heater. There is a child with them and she don’t look be much more than 10. Outside the lodge, doing the real work, a little army of locals are busy setting the dinner of it’s intrepid customers. The dining room is crowed, something that will be the standart from now on, but we find places to set our cards. Since all is already occupied, our seats are the worst and far from the heater. If we don’t take care, we also bump our heads against the lodge’s goods shelf. We did order our dinner before leaving for the walk, but since the lodge is full of so many money-loaded and since we’re not money-loaded, I remember the lady about it. Again, the lack of appetite of this people scandalize me. Well, not so much, since I start to see that they expend most of they not-walking time snacking.

    After dinner, we go sleep. Tomorrow we go walk the Chokung valley and see about the Chokung ri. The LP says it is a long day to do all in one day, so maybe we have to sleep at some lodge there. Maybe the climb of Chokung ri is not possible for us at all. Don’t know. Tomorrow is another day and we’ll see about it when we get there.

    Warming the bags are the worst part of going to sleep and, after that, enduring the heat inside it, but today it’s seems I’ll not feel too warm.

    Around 10 or 11 o’clock, my brother wakes me up. Half wake, I ask what is. He says he’s not feeling well and can’t sleep. Oh, crap, I thought. In an instant, I become full wake. So I take the LP to see about AMS. Some symptoms agreed. He has a little nausea, insomnia and headache. I ask him to do a little walk in a straight line, and ask about if the symptoms are too troublesome. He does and says all is weak, but the worst is that he can’t sleep, mostly because of the headache. I give him some Diamox and Paracetanol and say that if he feels worst, maybe we have to go down tomorrow.

    To be Continued...

    []'s

    Hendrik
    Last edited by Hendrik van Dingenen; 22nd March 2006 at 03:45 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Part XIVa


    Acclimatization walk. Climb of the Chokungs. Here Marcéu took a picture of the crest between the two Chokungs, from the Chokung ri. The Chokung peak is at the other side of the crest, in front.

    Day 16

    Still dark when we wake up on the day planed for the Chokung valley trek and Chokung ri hopeful climb. The first thing to do is see if my brother is OK. He wakes up feeling good. He says that after he took the medicine, the headache did weak enough for him calm down and sleep. The others symptoms didn’t survive the rest of the night. Maybe it wasn’t AMS at all. Maybe was something he have eat the day before, but I doubt very much, since my brother has a digestive system strong enough to make a gout envious of it.

    Is always hard for me to get out of the bag and I think I will start sleeping with my clothes inside it for now on, because these clothes were so cold when I did put it in this morning… the hands are the first thing to freeze. It was -6º Celsius IN our room. The habitual wet on the windows glasses were froze also. After a while trying to convince my froze fingers to close all clothes pieces properly, I go out to the morning toiletry, what proved almost impossible to be accomplished. The first problem is that the recipient where the lodge keeps it’s water has it’s contents froze. A little water drop froze on is way down. Then I did remember that the little army of porters, guides and cookers used a hose outside the lodge for collecting water. When I got there, it wasn’t froze, but the water from it was so cold that my poor hands and teethes go numb after I finish washing and brushing. My brother was the next victim.

    The first lights starts to appear and we find it beautiful. We forget about cold hands and go out to take pictures and appreciate a wonderful Sun rising. The weak yellow light shining on the mountains make the peaks looks like are on fire.

    When we go back to the lodge, the cookers and helpers are up already and starting to move to make them clients wake up less traumatic than ours. We go have a champion breakfast and buy some snacks for the possible climb. When we finish, we go prepare our daypacks for the side trek. I take a empty Platybus(?) and go ask for water in the kitchen. The woman is holding a hot pot of water in her hands and fulls my precious Platybus with it. I treat it with chlorine and put on my pack. I carry always two with me. One treated and the other being treated. 4 liters in total. I finish packing first than my brother, so I go watch the movement outside. The Sun is fully out, but none from the organized group is wake. The frenetic come and go from it’s little army of “helpers” is higher and higher, then I see the traditional tea ceremony that I did read so much on the books, guide and other relates: “tea, sir?”. Tent by tent, client by client. I guess it’s lots agradable than cold water. After a long while, recipients with hot water are disposed in front of the tents and besides it, soap and towels. If I forget the environment around me, I would think that I was inside some hotel in Kathmandu. Definitely there is a big deal of difference between my concepts of what a trek is and the ones followed by those organized groups.

    Anyway, my brother finally get himself ready, so I stand up to start the walk and give a casual look to where I was sitting, to see if nothing felled down. For my surprise, I saw that almost 1 liter of water felled down. I open my pack and feel a big blow in my hart, because one of my Platybus was leaking. The hot water broke it. My pack is soaked inside and I have to empty it, dry it and replace the Platybus by one ordinary water plastic bottle.

    Because all of this, we get late from the lodge. Should be 6.30h at last, and the LP says this valley trek is a long one. The hopes of climbing Chokung ri are thinner.

    We cross the village, on which end there is some boards indicating the trails to Chokung and Duglha. Some French guys take the Chokung, but following a higher trail. Some English guys take Chokung also, but walking on the valleys bottom. My brother thinks the way is the upper one, so we take it. After 10 minutes, I don’t feel so certain about it, because it goes upper and upper, so I propose go back to the lower one. Down there was a nice trail. Very gentle, flat and easy. We catch the English guys very soon. They look like doing just a small walk to have some pictures and we didn’t see them again. Like I said, the walk up the valley is very easy, but it’s a little long. We cross porters and trekkers, but Chokung seems not to be any closer. But the LP is right. The views on this walk are just breathtaking. We knew that Chokung was two hours LP walking time from a Bibre settlement, but this Bibre was further from Dingboche than we thought. Eventually we get there. Some trekkers and them guide where resting there, on they way to Dingboche. The guide come talk with me and as soon I said that I was Brazilian, he says that Brazil was football champion. I answers that the sherpas were mountain champions and the guy liked it so much that smile from ear to ear and repeated several times: “yeah, we’re mountain champions!”

    After this cultural exchange, we resume our trek. We get in the Chokung village in 1.30 hours, what was a big surprise for me. I think that there is indeed a big difference between a 25kg pack and a 5kg daypack. Is like I’m carrying nothing on my shoulders!

    Besides the good timing, we still a little too late. It’s almost lunch time and the lodges menu didn’t help the appetite. Looks like the prices there are trying to be rivals with the Everest to see who the higher one is. Our tea stop cost us almost the same as a generous lunch back on our Dingboche lodge. So we decide not to sleep there.

    But is almost midday. We are not sure about the climb, but then decide to do at last some walk on the hill and come back for lunch.

    I just start climbing when I realize one thing: I couldn’t breathe normally. I mean, I breathe too fast and too deep, but didn’t feel much improvement on the air quantity on my lungs. Like on my way up to Lanjura pass, I start walking short periods and having to rest now and than. The good news is that the breathing came back to normal after resting a few minutes. My brother was having difficulties also, but lots less and he goes away pretty soon.

    Initially we thought that Chokung ri was a small hill just in front of us, but the trail take us around this hill and reach a relatively flat part, where we could see the real Chokung ri. And it was far, far away. Looks like the lunch will be late. After the flat part, the steeply of the climb is eagerly resumed by the hill and I see myself walking the dreadful switchbacks that I honestly hate on this treks. The tiredness resulted from my breathe problems are more frequent, but thankfully the shorts rests are enough to repose all the air and strength I need to keep going.

    One of my fears is that Chokung ri is on steep hill I see on my right side. It’s still too much far way to be reached on the few hours of light we have and I start to feel a little frustrated because of my objectives seems to be not possible.

    To Be Continued...
    Last edited by Hendrik van Dingenen; 22nd March 2006 at 03:52 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Part XIVb

    Continuation...

    When I get on the section between two hills, my brother was there already, of course, even if not at long time. Some nepali guides are there and they tell us that the Chokung ri is on our left side and the Chokung peak, at the right. 20 minutes to one and 50 minutes for the other. I couldn’t believe that it was that close, but is true. The worst of the climb is really getting at that middle section, so after some short small talk with the guys, I run to Chokung ri, getting there in less than 15 minutes. I fell so good because I get there that forget all the troubles and the tiredness. The peak is large, so some exploration is possible. My brother get there after me and liked it very much also. All that glaciers, icefalls, moraines, mountains and valleys around us are gorgeous. Kala Pattar will have lots of trouble to surpass Chokung ri.

    We have a little snack there and make a “brazilian” rock tower on a extremity of the peak, far from the big ones on it’s center. I collect some loose pray flags, one yellow and one green, and put it on the tower. It’s our “1ª Brazilian Tower” and it’s building cost us relevant amount of energy. I couldn’t lift a rock and put there without feeling breathless.

    We hang there 30 minutes more or less and decide to climb down. The hours are passing and we still must have lunch and go back to Dingboche. We pack all and go down to the middle section. There we make a short brake and talk about going to Chokung peak. We say lots of reasons for NOT do it: clouds coming, time getting short, tired, too hard climb, too far away, out of plan, etc. We agree to resume the descent. Than we say to each other that it was a pity, because probably we’re never coming back. I ask my brother what we should do. My brother is less prone to make decisions than me and appears to not understand at all the very mean or the word, so we are stuck with a moral dilemma. I walk a few meters down, stop, look to the peak, think about never coming back, ask decisions to my never deciding brother, I decide to climb it, walk up again, stop, think better about the hour, clouds, time, etc, walk down again, stop, look to the peak, think about never coming back, walk up again, stop, think about the hour…

    After a while dancing up and down like this, I decide at last walk just a little in the direction of the peak. Only to see how it was the way. My brother is skeptical and says that if we start that walk we will go till the end. I say that it’s not true. I just want take a look at the way. Maybe walk 10 or 20 minutes and come back.

    30 minutes later I using my hands to climb some parts and don’t have the courage to look at my brother. I still saying to myself that I’m just exploring and not going to the peak. 10 minutes later I give up and confess to myself that I’ll go to the peak.

    I must say that the climb to the Chokung peak is LOTS harder than the one to the Chokung ri. The crest is narrow and the trail likewise. Sometimes we have to use the hands to climb or keep on the trail. The rocks are flat, but disposed on a diagonal disposition and loose, so it’s not wise to slip up there. The danger of fall is real.

    I just decided to go to the peak when I look up after climb a wall of rocks and what I see? The peak! It’s there, a few meters away! I couldn’t believe it, but it’s really there. I turn to my brother and scream: “peak!”.

    So, on one last minute “decision” we make the Chokung peak, lots higher than Kala Pattar and completely unplanned. The views by now are a little obstructed by the clouds that start to cover the valleys, but still great.

    We stay there just a few minutes. Enough to take pictures of our 3º Nepal peak, the highest one by the way, and build another “Brazilian Tower”. The peak of Chokung peak is much smaller than it’s small brother, but we find a piece of rock and on it’s extreme point, hanging over the void, we build the tower. Full of proud and hunger, we run back to Chokung village. I don’t know how much time we took to climb the Chokungs, but the climb down was a lot faster. And I feel good. Not breathless. Not tired.

    On the village, we decide to have lunch there. It’s almost 16.00 o’clock and our stomachs can’t wait anymore. The prices are an absurd, but the hunger is a much more absurd than the prices. All the lodges are pretty full, mostly with people going to the Island Peak. Mostly organized groups…But an empty stomach can’t be picky, so we get in one and eat there a incredible small portion of dhal, with no right to seconds.

    On 17.00 o’clock we start our way back to Dingboche. I was scared of being caught by the darkness and walk as fast as could. Even faster than my brother. It was just a little past 18.00 o’clock when we get in the lodge.

    It has being a hard and long day, but we were happy and commemorative, so we pay for a 150 Rupees shower and order lots of food. It would be our last shower until reaching Lukla again. The organized group still out, so the dining room was empty. We seat on some nice places, without banging our heads against the shelf. We start playing cards and I believe it was the first time I win a game from my brother. Soon the army of guides and helpers invade the dining room and start settling the tables for them clients. One of the guides came to us and ask us to seat at the bad table, so the nice one could be set for his clients. I told him to put his clients there. He says that like that they will be separated. I answer: “Poor little things. I don’t care, I’m not moving”. So because they didn’t be separated or didn’t want bag they heads all dinner long, they compress they self and eat like canned fish. A little discomfort for them, at last. As for me and my brother, we eat and play cards lazily.

    But we’re tired and tomorrow is time to resume the trek. I order the next day breakfast, even if knew the useless of the act, and go to my cold sleeping-bag. The book I took to the trek is ending and this is a HUGE problem. It’s the second book since I leave Paris and I did hope it last till the end of the trek, but looks like it will not. Confirming my fear, the last dozen of pages reveals to be some kind of comments/commercial, so on this very night I became bookless, what is, for me, an unacceptable situation.

    To Be Continued...

    []'s

    Hendrik

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