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view from a bar
Pawlowski (left) and Krzysztof Wielicki can eat and
drink for free for the rest of their lives in a
restaurant in Katmandu. The reason is that their
autographs are placed in a show-case for the people
who stood at the peak of Mount Everest.
the participants of the Polish Winter Expedition to
Makalu (8481m) reached the capital of Nepal in several
groups. The Snow Leopard, as they call him in Georgia,
Gia Tortladze, mountain life-saver, Alpinist,
archeologist and filmmaker, the chairman of his
national Alpinist federation, joined our Ice Warriors
in Moscow. And thus the Expedition to the fifth summit
of the world consists of 10 climbers.
full of traces of different expeditions, recognizes
Everest as its king. It is present on t-shirts,
posters, sign boards and shop windows. Despite Makalu
being only 20 km away from the highest mountain in the
world, it is difficult to get a postcard with a view
of the mountain. Although the Annapurna's northern
slope has the biggest number of casualties, only
people who died on Everest are remembered here. There
are posters of numerous expeditions in bars but
"Rum Doodle" restaurant and bar is the most
admired place. People who stood on the peak of Mount
Everest have been able to eat and drink for free here
for more than ten years. Only those who looked at the
world from its highest point may place their
signatures in a thick book of rice paper and on
specials tables closed in glass showcases.130 persons
have done that until May this year. "Will this
not make you bankrupt?" - I asked the owner.
"No way - laughs the restaurant owner- each of
them brings his friends here to celebrate their
success. In May Nazir Sabir from Pakistan threw a
party for 80 guests."
Pawlowski and Krzysztof Wielicki, the two
"conquerors" of Everest also brought us here
along with the group of Polish and Italian friends who
will accompany us to the base at Makalu. We met Pawlowski
here by accident. He got back from Ama Dablam (6856
m), which he climbed as guide, with his clients, for
the twelfth time.
a thousand people stood at the peak of Everest 1303
times during 47 years. "Rum Doodle" is a
chronicle of the last years. The walls display
different stories. A portrait of Pasang Lamu Sherpa is
one of the central pictures. She is a beautiful
Nepalese who was driven to the summit by her husband's
unsatisfied ambition. The woman was almost pulled up
to the peak seven years ago. She did not have the
strength to descend. A Sherpa who took care of her
froze together with the woman. Another two Nepalese
women reached the summit from two different places
only in May this year.
Boskoff, a 33 year-old American, was in a great hurry.
She put her signature in "Rum Doodle" bar
just four days after she got to the summit of Everest,
which was her fifth eight-thousand-meter high
mountain. Boskoff wants to be the first woman to reach
all fourteen mountain giants of the Himalayas and
Karakorum. At the present moment she chases the memory
of Wanda Rutkiewicz, who remains unbeaten in this
filed. The American unsuccessfully tried to conquer
Cho Oyu exactly at the time when Dariusz Zaluski, a
member of the current Makalu expedition, reached its
Garcia from Portugal could drop in at the bar in
Katmandu a year from the time when he reached the peak
of Everest. In the spring of last year he spent a
night at the ridge under the summit form its northern
side. The place is called the Bivouac of Death. Only Pawlowski
got back from there out of three people forced to stay
after dusk. Garcia's partner and friend died. He
himself lost his fingers and a part of the nose which
oldest man on Everest so far, the 63-year-old Tashio
Yamamoto from Japan took his time to get to the bar.
He appeared to be the fittest of a few elderly
gentlemen who rivaled at Everest in the spring. Goran
Kropp from Sweden was not too eager to race. Four
years ago he got to the mountain from his homeland
on a bike, after which he calmly reached the peak.
It is not known how he returned home.
Whittaker had an especially warm welcome at the bar.
He was 49, when, after his third attempt, he stood at
the peak, despite the fact that during his last
expedition he had symptoms of lung swelling. 19 years
earlier Whittaker lost his right leg in a car crash.
His artificial limb had sharp metal crampons during
he said afterwards, his friend's gesture was the most
important for him. The friend gave Whittaker a stone
from the summit of Mount Everest asking him to take it
back to the place. Whittaker is a professor. He gives
lectures called "adventure education" in
signature of 38 year-old Davo Karnicar is still fresh.
The Slovenian skid down the peak of Everest almost two
months ago. many people did it before him, however
none achieved it without taking off the skis in rocky
places. Karnicar is said to be going down the Nepalese
side. In order to pass round a place called Ice Fall,
he traversed via slopes on which avalanches are
frequent. When asked how he avoided the avalanches, he
said "I skid faster than they fell".
tenders at "Rum Doodle" are especially proud
of their record breaking compatriots. They are Appa
Sherpa, who stood at the peak 12 times and Babu Chiri
Sherpa, who ascended the summit from the base in 16
hours and 56 minutes and a year before realized his
program - "The Dream at the Peak of
Everest". He spent 20 hours there in an
especially designed tent. Babu Chiri is very rich
nowadays. He wrote the following words in the
rice-paper book: "It's great".
his recently published autobiography entitled "A
View from the Top", Sir Edmund Hillary, the first
conqueror of Mount Everest, wrote that romanticism of
his times and human acts had the greatest value in the
period when he penetrated an unknown area of the
Everest massif. 47 years which passed from that moment
seem an epoch now. Every formality in Katmandu,
including shopping, re-packaging of the equipment and
its preparation for further transport has been
performed. On Tuesday, 28th of November,
the members of the Polish Winter Makalu expedition are
leaving the dusty city, where people walk with
preventive masks on their faces. We are going to Jiri
(188 km away). A helicopter is to take part of our
equipment from the place along with two Nepalese
guards to the base at the height of 4900 meters. We
will be transported from the bed of the Katmandu
valley to Tashigaon (2070 m). We will walk from that
place. After a week of travel through high passes we
should get to the base.