Arrival in Nepal
Expedition Leader Gary
Guller arrived in Nepal earlier this week for a 4-week
trek into the remote Makalu region of eastern Nepal in preparation
for the Spring 2003 Everest expedition.
Greetings and Namaste from Kathmandu, Himalayan Capital
of the World! Chris
Auger and I arrived safe, happy and not too jet lagged
into Kathmandu after 2 days of flying: Austin to LA, onto
Taipei, then Bangkok and finally, Kathmandu. It was an incredible
site as the world's highest mountains came into view. Upon
arrival, we hit the ground running, first to my favorite Newari
restaurant. The Newari people are native to the Kathmandu
Valley and their cuisine is tasty - momochha, wild
boar, aloo shadeko, chhatamari and bara.
Then, of course, sleep followed very quickly.
While in Kathmandu, we are the guests of Loben Sherpa, who
will serve a key role in organizing logistics for the TE'03
expedition. He has a small apartment overlooking Boudhanath,
one of the largest Buddhists stupas in the world. We
awoke one morning at 5:00 am to make our pilgrimage to the
stupa. When making the kora, or circle, around
Boudhanath at first light, smelling the incense, hearing
the chants, praying in your own way, one fully appreciates
just being alive. I think about how lucky we all really are,
and my mind is filled with thoughts of next March when the
whole Team will be making this kora. Each one of us
brought together by similar goals for our lives - to have
the freedom to explore, to chose, to be alive!
We'll be leaving soon for eastern Nepal, first flying to
Tumlingtar just above the Arun River and following the traditional
Newari trade route to Makalu (8,156m), the fifth highest mountain
in the world. We expect the route to be extremely challenging
- over rugged terrain with sharp altitude gains, numerous
glaciers and high passes. In short, excellent training for
Everest next year!
The days thus far have been very busy - all positive and moving
ahead. We are making the necessary arrangements for next spring's
Team Everest expedition: discussing the route, making food
lists, working out the transportation details, securing our
fine Sherpa support. The air is filled with this excitement
as the whole country is celebrating Dashain, one of
the biggest of all Hindu celebrations glorifying the triumph
of good over evil, ten days of intense sacrificial and joyous
worship. It is truly an amazing sight - vivid and bright colors,
flowers everywhere, each person wearing news clothes, taking
a holiday, visiting friends and family. Everyone, and I mean
everyone, is so happy!
I'm off to the Makalu region of eastern Nepal. As mentioned,
our route will take us from Tumlingtar to Makalu base camp
(16,700ft), over Sherpani Col (20,200ft), Amphu Cross (19,000ft)
and into the Khumbu Himal where we will trek to Everest base
camp. All of us, including the climbing Sherpa team headed
up by Nima Dawa Sherpa of TE '03, have been up since 4:00
a.m. packing the food and gear for this 28-day trip.
I want to say thanks to our friends all over the world from
the folks here at Team Everest and CTD for your support and
belief in all of us. Happy Dashain - God bless.
Gary Guller, Team Everest 03