Newsletter 17 September 2002
Kathmandu to Basecamp
The leader of this year's Cho Oyo Expedition is Russell Brice, assisted by his very able Sherpa team: Chhuldim, Loppasang, Karsang, Lachhu, Kul Bahardu and our regular yak men Chhuldim and Karsang.
The climbing team is made up of:
3 Australians: Ian, Simon and Mark; a Canadian: Stuart; 3 British:
Chris, Paul and Sue; assisted medically by James.
The team met in Kathmandu on 25th August and after obtaining visas for Tibet, flew to Lhasa on 27th August. We spent two days in Lhasa visiting the Potala Palace and various other sights. By now the group is getting to know each other and are still on speaking terms despite the disparate nationalities, although not surprisingly there is much verbal banter - mostly to do with sheep and what the Aussies think of the Poms.
We left Lhasa by jeep and spent the next night in the town of Xigatse - the smart hotel being something of a surprise and we knew we were not rnight stop in Tingri. Mention must be made of the night club at the Manasarova Hotel in Xigatse, which had something of the air of a brothel about it - however we stuck very boringly to Karaoke.
Tingri was memorable more for what it didn't have to offer than what it did - the toilets could actually have been worse. This is really where our acclimatisation started, as Tingri is at 4200 metres. We were here for two nights and the first morning got out of bed to see our first view of Cho Oyo and Everest. We then took our first bit of exercise for a week and Ian went off to commune with the nomads, which was something of an experience for an Aussie.
So here we are now settling in at Base Camp at 4800 metres, which is not noticeable whilst sitting in the mess tent, but becomes immediately apparent on taking any exertion uphill. We have been on several training walks and today had a session practising jumaring and abseiling on a nearby rock face, in preparation for what awaits us higher up the mountain. We will leave here on the 8th September for Advanced Base Camp, which is a 22km walk up to 5800 metres - which should be interesting!