Thursday, April 8, 2010


After arriving into Kathmandu from the flight from Lukla we headed back across town to the Yak and Yeti hotel. It was really nice to get back to the hotel as I had not brought any other clothes on the Khumbu valley trip with me. Yes, this made me rather ripe at this point. I threw out my socks and underwear and had my shirt and pants cleaned. I think I stayed in the shower for about a 1/2 hour scrubbing myself clean. Then it was off for Julio and me to go on another round of shopping. While I was at Phakding I met an American by the name of Jamie. He had already been to the North side a couple of years ago and was going back again this year with the Russians. (He has been living in Russia for the last 3 years and speaks perfect Russian) I asked him for some advice on what to bring to base camp. He said to bring everything. This is contrary to my past climbs where weight had to be watched at all costs. He said the cost of an extra yak verses your comfort is nothing. I agreed. So off to shopping we went. When we got back to the hotel it was dinner time which was going to be special because our Japanese climber had just flown in and we were going to finally meet him. When we all sat down, Geljen had beer served to everyone, we raised our glasses and toasted to six friends and a successful climb. The team was finally together! Our newest member was Hoshino (I can't spell his name or anything else for that matter) was immediately telling jokes and making everyone laugh. We then found out that he has been coming to the Himalayas twice a year for the last 20 years. It was at this time that I began to look around the table for the weak link. Not seeing any I quickly surmised it was me. Hoshino might be 70 but he looked 60 and in shape. Here I thought I might have caught a break and a guaranteed slow pace. Not a chance. Between Julio and Hoshino I think they will be having a race to see who gets to the North Col first. Oh well. The next day was spent on a sight seeing tour. I believe we would have seen much more of the city except that the Maoists were striking and blocking all the streets. Therefore we were only able to see 2 temples, one Hindu and one Buddhist. It was Geljen's son who gave me the tour. His English was perfect which was nice and amazing in its own right since most kids here don't get school past the 4th grade. First stop was the Hindu temple. As we walked towards the temple my guide asked if I could smell the incense. I remarked yes but that it wasn't very good. He said it was because it wasn't incense but burning bodies. That pretty much stopped me in my tracks. I had him explain to me what the heck was going on before I took another step. He said it was the Hindu way to burn the body after death. That the spirit had moved on and that the body should be burned. He also said there was another process but it is too gross to repeat. So I tentatively moved forward as the smoke got thicker and stinkier. I figured if I have to face dead bodies on Everest I might as well get a head start! I took some less than Ann Landers kind of shots until my guide pointed out the head of one guy. That was enough for me. We then tried to get into the temple but were blocked by the guards because I wasn't Hindu. I told them I was but that didn't go over to well. Just outside the temple were several Hindu Priests. I asked my guide if one of the Priests could bless my wife and me for having children and a safe climb. He said no problem. It was pretty cool. I got a red dot on my forehead along with a band around my wrist that is to stay there till it falls off. Once it falls off I am to tie it to something that goes into the ground. The Priest then asked for Sue and my names and then said they will be in his heart till the children are born and went into a long chant. I really hope it works! Now we were back in the car heading over to the Buddhist temple. You all know the one that you see in every picture of Kathmandu. It symbolizes the city. Standing there in front of the temple I couldn't stop staring at it (because the eyes were staring back at me). It was another one of those ah ha moments where you realize you are there in Kathmandu and going on a journey to Everest. As we walked around the temple to find the entrance (clockwise) and I was spinning all the prayer wheels, just a certain level of emotion starts to overwhelm you. As a climber you have seen this time and time again and now it was my turn. Many questions immediately pop into my head like "Am I worthy of being here?" "Am I really here?" "What does it mean to be here?" "I sure hope this brings me good luck!" As we walked into the entrance there was a massive prayer wheel off to the left so we had to go in there. Little did I know, inside by the wheels were some Monks who were midgets offering prayers. I asked my guide if I could get a prayer for having children and a safe climb. He said absolutely. 20 Rupees later I was being doused by holy water and blessed for the climb. I got to light a candle for the children! So there you have it. I have Hindu, Buddhist and Catholic priests all praying for Sue and me to have children and wishing me a safe climb!!! So on the way back to the hotel we hit another Maoist blockade. These people really disrupt the city in many ways. Once we got back to the hotel we all met up again to have a meeting with a guy by the name of Ted. He owns and operates Top Out oxygen masks. He was there to show us all the ins and outs of the masks and to make sure we didn't have any problems on the mountains. It was really nice to add the extra confidence to the climb. Once that was over Julio and I began to talk about what we wanted to do for our last dinner. He knew an Indian restaurant down the way that had great food. Nice. We called it the last great supper. We ate till we couldn't fit any more into our bellies and rolled out of the restaurant. It was perfect! More Later

1 comment:

  1. with all those prayers - Sue is going to end up putting Octo mom to shame :-)
    But babies and a safe climb would be awesome!