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  Snowboard Everest Autumn 2003


Stephen Koch and Jimmy Chin will attempt to snowboard Everest this Autumn. They plan to climb Everest via the Hornbein route and then descend via the Hornbein. They will travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa then to Everest base camp on the North (Chinese).  Eric Henderson is the base camp manager.

Jimmy at Work

Dispatch Three: We finally headed out of Kathmandu after a longer than expected wait. En route we were abruptly stopped 52 KM out of town by a large mudslide that occurred the night before. There was no word when it would be cleared. This was an unusual place for a slide and the dozer was no where in site. Local entrepreneurs were making some extra money by ferrying motorcycles across the muddy blockage for 300 rps, about $4. We met a local man, La Lama, who invited Eric and me to his home for lunch. I was impressed with how clean the mud floor was downstairs, where the kitchen was located. In the upper loft were the bedrooms where we sampled Racksy, a homemade rice brew. La and his family grow rice and corn, eating what they need and selling what they can. They live an uncomplicated life and aren't distracted with advertisements and the wanting of the latest greatest thing, which is so common in western society. I admire their contentment. With our hands we ate dal baht and fresh ox yogurt, which they were kind enough to share with us.

The dozer worked its magic and cleared just enough space for our bus to hammer through the muddy ruts that remained. We were happy to once again be on our way. We spent the night in Kodhari, the last town before the Friendship bridge which spans China and Nepal.

It was near total mayhem as porters were fighting to get one of our loads to hand carry across the bridge to China. After a painless border crossing with the assistance of our Liaison Officer, Mr. Zhao, and our first meal in China we drove in a 94 Toyota Landcruiser up many switchbacks through an amazingly steep and high gorge with thousand plus foot cascades. Nyalam was our home for the next two days where we adjusted to the ever increasing altitude. Being here took me back to 1995 where I was with a team riding mountain bikes to Shishapangma base camp. There has been some growth but the town still retains its western character and gritty feel with mostly Tibetans living here. It seems that everyone in Tibet knows the word hello as many say it with an upturned hand, waiting for a treat.

Our Liaison Officer, Mr. Zhao is a friendly man with a quick smile, expressive face and good demeanor who has been on over 30 expeditions to this region. He is looking out for our best interest, which is key as he can make our lives hell if he chooses. Many an expedition have been thwarted due to tensions with their LO.

We have met many people on their way to and from Holy Mount Kailash. Deep snow has thwarted the circumambulation efforts of many pilgrims. Today we went for a 2,500 foot hike past prayer flags dispersing their magic into the sky for the world to enjoy and benefit.

Between the scratching sounds of big rats running overhead, the smell of the toilet wafting into the window and constant knocking on our door by other group leaders trying to rally their troops for breakfast, we struggle for sleep. Next we will be in Tingri at a height of 4200 meters and a day closer to base camp.

Eric Laughing

Dispatches

Pictures copyright Stephen Koch's Autumn Everest 2003 expedition







 

 

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