NEWSLETTERS - Cho Oyo Autumn 2001

Newsletter 12 September 2001

Kathmandu to Basecamp

27/8: The team assembles in Kathmandu: Yamada Atsushi from Tokyo, Graham Blackmun & Simon Fitzpatrick from London. Sightseeing in Kathmandu includes the temples at Bouddhanath, Swoyambhu and Pashupati, where the riverside funeral pyres are carried out, recently used for the tragedy within the royal family.

28/8: Early morning flight for team members to Lhasa while Russell and sherpas prepare to take the long and landslide-prone road route to Tingri.

Highlights of the 3 days acclimatising in Lhasa (3600m) include a tour round the Potala, which dominates the city's skyline and has provided, over the centuries, the winter home to the Dalai Lama, and to the Norbu Linka - the Summer Palace. In both, the personal quarters of what the guide tactfully referred to as, the 'foreign' Dalai Lama, were poignantly empty. On the last evening, we were guests of the Tibet Mountaineering Association (TMA) chief in Lhasa. The meal included many delicacies, sheep's brain and an unspecified bit of Yak among them. During the meal there were many toasts, the cumululative effect of which certainly faciltated digestion of some of the dishes.

31/8 - 1/9: By road to Shigatse - the 2nd city of Tibet and self-sytled 'highest city in the world' - and then by bumpier tracks onto Tingri, and rendezvous with Russell, Lopsang, Phurba & Lachhu.

2/9: Up to Base Camp at 4600m, and unpack kit including PC & satellite phone for first time. All to be packed up again 5/9 for move up to Advanced Base Camp (ABC), from where future updates will be posted. Grassy BC provides pleasant environment for acclimatisation walks and rope practice.