Homeward bound

grey Homeward bound

Just after writing my last post we got word that all the climbing sherpas were going to wait about 4-7 days to finish fixing the mountain. Fixing the mountain involves securing communal safety lines on the tricky bits for all the expeditions to utilise. This wait was due to heavy snow on the Dablam bit of the mountain. Basically it was described as waist deep pellets of snow covered with a thin crust of solid snow – not ideal for climbing (read: deadly). News which, although sad for the boys keen to push on, kind of backed up my decision to bail on a summit attempt.

This delay sadly put our team out of the game and unable to make a summit attempt. On the plus side it meant that I would have some awesome company on the trek back to Lukla! We mooted the idea of making an attempt on Island Peak but everyone was feeling completely worn and ready to go so once the news settled in, we set about organising our retreat back to Kathmandu.

Our retreat involved changing flights from Lukla to Kathmandu and then trying to organise flights home. Some of the lads were thinking about going to Thailand for some rock climbing fun but as I said in my last post, I was ready for home. Flight changes were made extra difficult as Nima, our man on the ground in Kathmandu, had been in hospital for the last ten days (Jinxed-we are trying to figure out which one of our team killed a chinaman before coming here…)

grey Homeward bound

Relaxing at Base

On our third day at base camp, and having read everything in reach, including nutritional info on camp food packets, Dave, Brendan and I made the call to lash out and trek to Pangboche to stay in a nice, civilised tea house. The trek down took about one hour – a trip which on the way up was a high altitude ordeal of headaches, nausea and tirdness -  we were full of red blood cells and ready to demolish the trek towards Lukla. Our decision to spoil ourselves with a night at Pangboche proved a huge succes as we each ate a very tasty hashbrown with egg on top washed down with a Heneken beer.

A tall, thin sherpa with a long ponytail came over saying he remembers us from Ama Dablam Base camp. He went on to say he also left the mountain early as he beleives that it cannot be fixed in less than two weeks. He was on the mushroom above camp one and described waist deep snow, sketchy anchoring possibilities and conditions which, again, justified our leaving the hill alone…this time.

Sometime the following day the rest of the boys arrived and we set sail for civilisation.

Four days of uneventful trekking later we arrived at Lukla and were packed into the rattly twin otter plane ready for home. News arrived that teams were still struggling to make any progress on the hill. Silently wishing them luck we flew back to Kathmandu and the promise of a proper hot shower, maybe some Thai food, more beers and an early return home.

To round up my series on this adventure I am currently working on a few video, photo and shorter posts about an average day in the life of an expedition, the joys of acclimitisation and other logistical, but hopefully interesting, things I have learnt along the way.

Please let me know if there is anything that you want to specifically know about.

Blue skies and happy feet.


grey Homeward bound

Ama Dablam from Pangboche

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