Newsletter #22 April 2013
Enjoying the clean air in Namche and Khumjung
After a sturdy breakfast in Phakding, the first stop on the trek, the Himalayan Experience team ambled along the Dudh Kosi River and made its way up the steep hill to Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital at an altitude of 3,300m (12,303ft). They are now inside the Sagarmatha National Park, which was created in 1976 and became a Natural World Heritage site in 1979. It is an important breeding ground for rare birds and ranges in elevation from 2,845 m (9,334 ft) at Jorsalle to 8,848 m (29,029 ft) at the summit of Mount Everest.
“Everybody is in a good mood and the team is getting on really well,” said Herbert from Germany, who rang me from his mobile phone while puffing and panting up the Namche Hill. On Tuesday, the crew carried on to the nearby village of Khumjung, where they are staying in the lodge of our head Sherpa (Sirdar) Phurba Tashi for two days to give their bodies a chance to adjust to the higher altitude of 3,970m (13,000ft).
During their time in Khumjung, some of the team will visit the Everest View Hotel, which was built by a Japanese businessman in 1968. This famous hotel lies at 3,880m (12,779 ft) and used to be frequented by Japanese tourists, who flew to the nearby airstrip in Syangboche. However, the sudden rise in elevation often made them altitude sick and even though the hotel offers oxygen in every room, it is now mainly visited by trekkers and climbers, who just want to enjoy a nice cup of tea while taking in the stunning views of Everest and Ama Dablam.
In the meantime, the Lhotse and Nuptse climbers as well as some trekkers have arrived at the lower elevations of Kathmandu. The team will meet for their expedition briefing at the Hyatt on Tuesday evening before they will escape the dusty air of Kathmandu and head to Lukla by helicopter on Wednesday. “Once again, chartering helicopters has paid off as many fixed-wing flights have been cancelled due to bad weather over the past two days,” said Russell, who will be leaving for Lukla with the team on Wednesday morning.
We will certainly keep you posted on the progress of the expedition but in the meantime we would like to introduce this year’s team to you, starting with Herbert Hellmuth from Germany.
Here you go – meet the team
Herbert from Bamberg in Germany has been dreaming about climbing Everest for many years. In 2011, the 44-year-old reached beyond 8,000m by summiting Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world, with Himalayan Experience. The shop owner and real estate agent is married with two children and has set his heart on getting to the highest point on earth.
1) How did you first come across Everest and who/what inspired you to climb it?
A few years ago I read an article about Everest while on a sailing trip and I have been thinking about it ever since. I have been following this goal for the past six years and I have built my life around it. And why exactly Everest? I guess, it’s the highest after all and that is why it is so popular – also for me.
2) How did you prepare for this expedition (physically/mentally)?
I have been swimming and running every day for the past year and I have to say that preparing for Everest was easier than I thought it would be. The experience I gained on Manaslu will definitely be very useful for this trip.
3) What do you think you will miss most on this trip?
First and foremost I will miss my family. Taking part in such a long expedition will throw me into a completely different world, which means it will also be a mental escape from my professional life. Of course, I will miss my work but ho much, I cannot say yet.
4) State a regular habit (daily/weekly) of yours and how do you think you will be able to pursue it on this trip? If not, do you have any alternatives?
I go running every morning followed by a walk to the office. I will not be able to do this on this Everest expedition. But with the physical exhaustion of acclimatizing, I probably would not be able to run anyway. I also have a very sweet tooth and I need to nibble on sweet things all the time but I guess Russell Brice has catered for that and I am sure I can pacify my sweet tooth at base camp.
5) Any luxury items you are bringing on this expedition? If so, what?
Luxury items?? Due to the airlines’ weight restrictions I will have to do without it. The only thing I could describe as a luxury item are my comfortable and cozy boots for base camp, but that’s it.
6) What will you carry to the summit?
If I get that far I will take my own body and I think that is enough. I don’t think I will have enough strength to carry anything else. My spirit and prayers will be with me all the way. However, if I have a bit of strength left I will take my little helmet camera. This will enable me to record how hard it is to climb that mountain. I do not want to forget.