One of the Tibetan Yak Herders

The Team

  Autumn Everest 2001: The American-Canadian Expedition

Dispatch 6: Lots of Yaks August 24, 2001 Everest Basecamp

Just before dusk yesterday the first yak showed up at our camp on the bank of the Rongbuk River. The Tibetan yak driver wore a black blazer, grey wool vest, a grey fedora and camouflage sneakers. Down in the valley we could see the main herd of 33 beasts. Thick, shaggy tails, hairy bellies and very sharp, curved horns made them look quite different from a regular cow.

These animals spend their whole lives living at really high altitudes and they seem to be very tough. A dozen Tibetans had been walking for three days with their yaks to get to our camp so they could carry our gear 12 miles up the east fork of the Rongbuk Glacier.

We have a 3000 pound load of gear made up of food, fuel, O2 bottles, tents, ropes and warm clothes for our team. Everything has to be carried up 21,000 feet to Advance Basecamp (ABC). It took two large trucks to bring everything here to BC from Kathmandu.

The Tibetans made their camp downstream from us. Yaks wandered by our tents throughout the night. These animals are very gentle. Some of them wore bell collars and had prayer flags tied to the hair on their necks.

--Brian McCullough

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