Saturday, May 9, 2015

A year later

It has been a year since we have climbed Everest and so much has changed!

At 4pm on April 25, 2015, a massive earthquake hit Nepal ranking 7.8 on the Richter scale. Right now we know that there are more than 5000 people dead and more than 9,000 people injured. Eight million people are affected across Nepal and one million children urgently need help. The earthquake actually originated in Langtang National Park which is about 80 km from Katmandu, the capital city of Nepal. It was the aftershocks of the earthquake that affected Katmandu and the rest of Nepal. In Katmandu many sacred temples and buildings have been destroyed. 

As you recall, 80 million years ago Gondwana, split apart. The Indian plate collided with the Asian plate to form the Himalayas. The Indian plate is still moving under the Asian plate causing Everest to still rise.   "As the Indian plate and the Asian plate pushed against each other, friction generates stress and energy that builds until the crust ruptures" said Dr. Chan. The plate jumped forward 6.5 feet to cause the earthquake. There were also other places that were affected by the earthquake. On Everest base camp the Earthquake triggered an avalanche that wiped out base camp, the Khumbu ice fields and killed 18 people.

Survivors at base camp can either hike down or are air lifted if they are injured. Climbers at camp 1, 2, 3, and 4 can't get down because the ice fields have been destroyed. Helicopters are taking people back down from the camps 2 at a time. Because many helicopters are being used to fly people down from the higher camps some of the hikers are stranded in Lukla waiting to be flown back down to Katmandu. 

This is something that concerns me very much because just exactly one year ago I was at that same spot where the Avalanche hit. I feel bad for all the people who have been affected and the damage that has occurred. I remember all of the places I saw in Katmandu and Everest but now some are destroyed. That area relies heavily on tourism. I worry about how the Sherpa and their families are going to cope. This year we were planning to go again as part of a Wharton Leadership trek to Everest but changed our mind a month prior to departure (we could not get all the details to work to allow the trip to go forward). 

I still am very committed to climbing and hiking. I remember being excited and in awe when climbing Everest. Hopefully this year we will try and summit Mount Kilimanjaro.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Sherpas and their families.  


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I had a great time

On this trip I had a great time doing everything that we did. Right now we are going home but I am still thinking about everything that we did.

First we started out by hanging out in Hong Kong. Then we moved to Kathmandu and finally we flew to Lukla. We started out hiking then we kept walking for day after day. From Lukla to Monjo. Then from Monjo to Tangbouche. The hiking was tough but I was glad for a warm bed after every long day. After 6 days of vigorous hiking we arrived at Everest base camp. We had reached our goal but we had to get back! After lunch and a quick walk around at base camp, we set a new goal - make it back alive. We had to hike for 4 days to get to Lukla to catch our flight to Kathmandu.

Once we got back to Kathmandu we could say that we made it to base camp and back again. We had achieved our goal. I felt great!

We had done what we had to do.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Most Difficult Trekking Routes of the world

The Travel Guide

Most Difficult Trekking Routes of the world

Trekking is one of the most popular adventure sports of the world. Trekking offers travelers much closer view of the nature and its scenery. Although, it does not require much planning to go for trekking but the weather conditions and geography plays important role. Trekking routes on the mountain regions of Himalayas in Asia are most popular around the world among the travelers followed by other continents.
Every trekker has different experience depending upon the place they choose for trekking. According to difficulty levels, trekking routes are classfied into difficult, moderate, and easy routes. Here are some of our list of few very difficult trekking routes of the world:
1. Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Duration: 8 days
Best time:March-April and October-November
The trekking route to the top of the world is considered to be the toughest trekking routes in the world. It is 8 day trek which starts from Lukla in Nepal at the height of 2,860m to the Everest base camp which is located at the height of 5,360m. It is one of the most challenging trekking routes even for the fittest and strongest person. Altitude sickness is one of the major concerns, it requires quite a bit of time to adapt to the environment. For trekkers, those who complete this difficult terrain is like dream come true.



Well, the last 24 hours have been interesting. Due to significant cloud cover very few flights were able to land in Lukla and consequently very few flights were going to leave Lukla and return to Kathmandu. We had a decision to make. It was possible that we may miss our connecting flights departing the country. So we did what any sane person in Kathmandu would do - we contracted a large Russian helicopter to transport us off the mountain. We were all packed in there- with luggage in the aisles. It was actually quite funny. We had to wear ear plugs because the noise was so loud. But we made it! Another wonderful adventure.

We are now safely in Kathmandu and are departing tomorrow. We will fly for almost 24 hours (not including stop overs) to get home.

So the grand total:
- We hiked 152 km
- Our average pace was 3 km / hour
- Just counting the times we went up, our elevation gain over the trip was 38, 574 feet!

Quite an accomplishment! Both Aadam and I had a great time.


Sunday, May 4, 2014


The Sherpas are eating their dinner. Aadam and Seth are playing cards. We just had a session on knots and fire starting. Aadam and I both are able to start a fire with only flint and steel. Dinner is over. In essence the perfect evening.

So was it worth it. Absolutely! Both Aadam and I had an incredible time. We spent lots to time together, made many new friends, and we challenged ourselves. Nepal offers incredible trekking but the infrastructure is very basic. Simple lodging with no heating (the rooms were incredibly cold) and toilets that required some getting used to. But we certainly fell in love with the people. The Sherpa are an incredible group of individual. Their hard work, resourcefulness, and constant positive attitude are certainly something to emulate.

We are excited to come home but we will miss Nepal. Tomorrow we hike to Lukla, where we spend the night, and then catch a flight to Kathmandu the following morning.

During these two weeks we have
- explored the geology of Everest.
- collected rock samples
- collected physiological data on ourselves
- learned about Sherpa culture and interviewed many Sherpa
- attempted to capture the spirit of the trip through video and pictures
- pushed our fitness limits
- spoke French with one of our Sherpa that is fluent in French (he trained at Alliance in Kathmandu)
- listened to the sounds of Kathmandu
- recorded our feelings in a journal and this blog
- and become much closer to one another.

We are in Kathmandu for our final dinner, a tour of the Canadian Hospital in Kathmandu, and some last minute shopping. Then off to Hong kong, Vancouver, and finally Calgary.

It is time to return to our normal lives in Calgary and our routines. We are looking forward to this. We miss our family dearly.

See you all soon.


A shower at last!

For the last 12 days, we have been woken up at 6:00 am by the Sherpas, knocking on our doors and presenting tea. Moments later they arrive with a small basin of warm water. In this water we have to wash up, brush our teeth, and possibly shave.  That is all we get. The facilities are very basic. The toilets may either be squat toilets (holes in the ground) or western toilets with no flush. We have to pour in water from a large bucket to flush the waste down. We cannot drink or use the tap water to brush with. Consequently we are using lots of hand sanitizers. Showers are very hard to come by. Sometimes we can buy a hot shower, but it may either be outside or a bucket of hot water that we use to shower with. Overall though, we did well with the basic facilities. Finally today we had an in-roon shower. It felt incredible after 12 days!

We are clean and happy. We just had dinner and we are learning about knots and carrying techniques for injured people in the backcountry.

Excited to come home.

PS the picture above presents our Sherpa.