few days have passed and a few memories have been
etched into our minds while hanging out at
12,000ft for 2 days now in the city of Muktinath.
The morning, clear and crisp, brought forth
striking views of our route on Dhaulagiri.
Children here in the village have filled our
courtyard with the enduring spirit of the Nepalese
culture playing hacky sack and football with the
team members. Tomorrow we leave Muktinath and trek
18+ miles back to Jomsom at 9,000ft, combining our
two-day trek into one long day of downhill.
Dhaulagiri's presence looms in the distance as the
great monarch of the range lays still, covered in
snow with the intimidating stance of a great cat
waiting for us to grace her elegant flanks. With
each seductive view relented by the clouds, the
spirit of our climb is slowly taking flight as
each member prepares for the mission to be among
the few elite American climbers to summit the
seventh highest mountain in the world.
all is well in the USA. Ben Clark
April 1, 2002: Returning to Jomsom from
Muktinath, we received news regarding the route to
base camp. Dawa and the other Sherpa traveled with
the porters carrying expedition loads towards base
camp last week. However, due to heavy snowfall
this winter, it has become incredibly difficult to
carry all the gear over the pass. The team sat
down last evening to discuss options on how to get
120 loads to base camp focusing on the most
option is to hire additional porters to make it
easier in traveling through heavy snow over the
pass to base camp. The second is to helicopter the
loads in with a couple of Sherpa and team members
to base camp. That way we could descend from base
camp kicking in a trail for the team and the
porters ascending, which will make it easier
traveling. Utilizing a helicopter has a hefty
price tag. We also would like to provide
additional work for the porters, which would help
on April Fools Day, instead of joking around we
are making some decisions, which will hopefully
make things go smoother getting into base camp.
Most likely, we will hire 15 - 25 additional
porters, fly them from Kathmandu to Jomsom and
start working our way towards Dhaulagiri tomorrow.
In addition, the team members will be carrying
loads along with the Sherpa. Even the trekking
team members have offered to carry heavy loads in,
which is not always the case. It's good to see
that everyone is willing to chip in and suffer a
little by carrying a little more weight.
Sherpa told us in the beginning, "getting
into Dhaulagiri may be a bigger challenge than
climbing the mountain itself", and it is
starting to appear to be true. However, one must
understand, that itinerary's are always subject to
change, especially in the Himalaya. It's time to
say good-bye for now. The team is currently doing
laundry and I just got a whiff of my feet so I
better get going and hang up my socks.