Monday, May 09, 2005

finally made it

Originally uploaded by scarlettholly.
Yep, I'm back in Kathmandu after an incredibly boring couple of days. Gnawing off my arm and gouging out my eyes did at one stage seem sensible ways of passing the time. But instead, we had a a rather, no wait, very bumpy plane ride from Lukla. It took much longer than the scheduled 30 minutes because just as much time was spent going up and down as was spent going from west to east. Still, we're here. Arriving back in Kathmandu was like coming to a mad centre of civilization. We stared at the masses of people and literally called out all the things that we were seeing. Pashminas! Fruit! Rickshaw! Internet! Two weeks of trekking in the mountains and you would think we were savages. And Kathmandu is a rather mad form of civilization in all honesty. I am sure that I have mentioned the drivers, and the mad dogs, and the meat in the streets, and the strange men with their violins. Pure madness, in a good way.

Now, onto this rather glorious photo. It is off Nuptse, a huge rock of a mountain behind which lies Everest. If you are in the right place (ie high enough), and the clouds are right, Everest poke over Nuptse's left should, usually trailing a plume of cloud. Whenever that happens, its an amazing sight. The bottom of the picture shows the Everest Ice Field, which the climbers cross on their way to camps 1 through 4. Whilst we were at Base Camp (bottom left of the picture, but probably too tiny to see), we saw some guys carrying back the body of an American who had fallen into a crevasse. Dangerous place.

The dangers of altitude were rammed home to us pretty often. One of our trekkers, a great guy called Jeff, ended up with serious AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), with a pulse ox of 43% (it is normally 85ish at the altitude we were at), and cerebral and pulmonary edemas. If he hadn't gone down when he did (on the back of first a sherpa and then a horse), then he would have died. Once he reached the Himalayan Rescue Centre in Pheriche, he was reassuring told that "they hadn't lost anyone on the bed this season". Luckily he wasn't their first. A helicopter to Kathmandu later, and he is now nearly right as rain. Right enough to come for dinner and have a few beers last night anyway. Damn lucky escape though.


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