Newsletter #34 April 2013
Cows in the streets – trekkers in the hills
As most expeditions are heading up the Everest region, Kathmandu traffic police have launched a campaign to round up stray cows roaming the streets of the capital. They blame the sacred animals for major disruption, causing accidents and keeping the streets untidy. However, it is not only the cows that bring chaos to the streets of Kathmandu; it is also the road-expansion campaign that has been going on since September 2012 and has seen most of the city dug up to widen the roads to better cope with the increasing traffic.
While Kathmandu dwellers and tourists are dealing with cows and dust in the streets, all Himex members, guides and base camp staff have now arrived in the Everest region trekking up to base camp, where the first team should arrive around 12th April. “The team has gelled well and everyone seems in good spirits,” our guide Woody told me on the phone while they were sitting in Phurba Tashi’s lodge in Khumjung having a beer and playing cards. “Tomorrow we will either go and visit the Everest View Hotel or just walk up the hill behind the village. Other than that we should relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.”
Meanwhile in Kathmandu, the Nuptse and Lhotse members were meeting for the first time for a quick briefing and an introduction at the Hyatt Hotel. This year’s Nuptse team is a women’s only expedition consisting of Ellen Miller from the United States, Jing Wang from China, Martine Marsigny from France and myself, Billi Bierling from Germany. “It was only last year that Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner from Austria became the first female climber to scale Nuptse and I am proud to introduce this year’s women’s Nuptse team,” Russell said. “However, I am afraid our guide Francois will have to wear a wig to qualify as a female climber.”
For Lhotse, Russell was pleased to welcome our past and present members, Rene Bergsma from Holland as well as Naoki Ishikawa and Chieko Shimada from Japan. “I am so happy to be back,” Chieko shouted out when we met at the briefing. New to Himex this year is Suzanne Hüsser, a mountain guide from Switzerland, who will be guiding our Lhotse team.
I am looking forward to sharing more of our adventures with you but in the meantime I would like to continue our “Meet the Team” series with introducing Evelyn Binsack from Switzerland to you.
Billi Bierling in Kathmandu
This is not the first time Evelyn Binsack from Switzerland is going for the top of the world. In May 2001 she became the first Swiss woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and she achieved this feat with Himalayan Experience. The 46-year-old multi-talent from Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland is a certified mountain guide, helicopter pilot, adventurer, author as well as motivational speaker and this time around she is aiming for big shots as she will be taking her camera to the top.
How did you first come across Everest and who/what inspired you to climb it?
In 2001, I became the first Swiss woman to summit Mount Everest climbing with Himex from the North Side. After having reached the top of Mount Everest, I spent 484 days to conquer the South Pole on my bicycle starting my journey right in front of my door in Switzerland. After I spent 400 days biking through 16 different countries and another 84 days preparing and pulling a sledge on skis, I reached the South Pole. After this feat, I felt tired for two years. During this time I kept on asking myself the same question: Where do human beings take their willpower from? Can willpower be trained like a muscle? Every year, many people meet at Everest Base Camp to climb the highest mountain on earth. This year I am going back to Mount Everest to find answers to my questions about willpower and I will to try to summit again.
How did you prepare for this expedition (physically/mentally)?
I’m a Professional Mountain Guide and I have been training my body since I was 13 years old. I prepared for Mount Everest by ski mountaineering, running and specific muscle training.
What do you think you will miss most on this trip?
For most aspirants, climbing Mount Everest is a dream. I personally feel a friendship with that mountain, but I also know that the mountain remains the King. I have a huge respect for that mountain and climbing its faces is a big deal. What will I miss? I will miss vegetation, flowers and trees, my friends and the Alps, of course. But above all, I will probably miss enough oxygen to breath properly!!!
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?
My habit is to climb a mountain every day or, if I have other duties, at least I run for a couple hours or go rock climbing. This will not be possible on Mount Everest. This mountain will request its own habits and will ask the climber to adapt his/her request to the rules of the mountain.
Any luxury items you are bringing on this expedition? If so, what? None
What will you carry to the summit?
If you want to follow Evelyne’s blog, have a look at http://binsack.ch/.