Himalayan Adventures

Climbing to 22,000 ft. on Mount Everest

Climbing the Khumbu Icefall

2 months, Mar-May, 2007

Ray Jardine

Day 5 2007-04-01 page 4 of 33
Helicopter at Syangboche.
The steep walk down to Namche Bazaar.

Ray got a call early this morning, at 6:30 am: time to load up the huge Russian helicopter and leave Kathmandu. The Sherpas hired by the company quickly loaded all their gear bags. The helicopter was packed to the hilt with gear bags and food. There was room left for 5 passengers. Ray climbed aboard and 45 minutes later they landed in Syangboche, at 3720 meters, 12,205 feet.

(If you click on the Trekking Map link, above, you will find Syangboche - spelled Shyangboche on this map- at the bottom left corner, close to Namche Bazaar.)

The Sherpas unloaded the helicopter and it returned to Kathmandu for the next load of gear and passengers.

There had been a fair amount of cloud cover during the flight, but they caught glimpses of several famous big peaks: Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam. Ray was totally awed by the beauty of the area. He said it blew his mind how massive these mountains are, and how beautiful. When they unloaded at Syangboche, Ray said he was surprised that it wasn't too cold at this altitude. Just a fleece sweater and a windbreaker.

A mani rock.

They hiked down the trail to Namche Bazaar, about 700 or 800 feet very steeply down, about a 40-minute hike.

The dining room at the Panorama Lodge, with our host Sherap.

They are staying at a nice hotel in Namche, two trekkers per room with a private bathroom. They will stay here for 3 nights, taking day hikes during the day in order to acclimatize. Namche is part of the Khumbu region, the land of the Sherpa, the mountain people. They are incredibly friendly, most can speak English, and they are always smiling. The Sherpas are wonderful people. Everywhere you look there are yaks and porters and Sherpas carrying loads into the mountains.

After a nice lunch Ray and Vern walked into the town proper, another really steep walk, about 15 minutes. Ray said he was amazed by the steepness of the terrain, with clouds hanging onto the slopes. And extremely beautiful.

Trundle sewing machine at work. Note the logo.

In Namche there are a lot of stores - almost all of them selling mountaineering gear of some sort. Ray was surprised to see big name brand clothing for sale at ridiculously low prices. For example, $20 for a super nice NF jacket. However, he soon learned that these are not genuine, only imitations. He found a sewing shop, with trundle sewing machines busy at work, putting together down mittens, complete with official-looking embroidered logos.

As we spoke on the phone, yaks loaded with gear passed by along the trail; they obviously knew where they were going. Ray laughed as they walked by, and moved aside to allow them room.

The story has 33 pages. This is page 4.
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