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Everest 2003: Himalayan Guides 2003 Everest Expedition
Featuring reports from Ian Mackay


Update from Patrick Kenny (who summited Everest in 2000 on Henry Todd's expedition is back for number 2!)

April 5, 2003    Gear Shift, Namche Bazaar, 11,300 FT.
 
Is it possible to have a hangover from melatonin?
 
So what started as a message on a machine in mid February now becomes physically tangible beyond an entropy-ridden pile of gear amassed in my basement. Boots touch earth, sweat starts to flow, and we are underway.
 
We flew into Lukla yesterday, a backcountry airstrip at 9,000 ft., and made our way slowly upriver to Namche Bazaar, the main Sherpa village of Khumbu, arriving at dusk.
 
Definitely a deliberate, old bull, slow-twitch kind of pace. The speed trials will come later. The trail in the afternoon very quiet, with the exception of porters returning empty down valley after delivering their loads to Namche in time for today's market. 
 
Our gear will be sent directly to Base Camp from here. Acclimatized, one could cover the distance to base camp in two days. We will take 7 or 8 days to cover this same distance, with the intent of arriving in Base Camp fully operational and fit enough to directly enter the icefall for the 1st trip to camp 1 at 20,000 ft.
 
Today will be a rest day of sorts. It is market day here in Namche Bazaar, so at the lower end of the village in an open terraced area vendors have arrayed their goods. Sides of yak, Chinese tennis shoes, cases of canned beer, clothing and all kinds of foodstuffs can be found.
 
Frequently Tibetan yakmen are here, having negotiated a high pass near Cho Oyu, the Nangpa La, with their animals carrying traditional items such as Tibetan rock salt, yakbells, balls of animal fat, ghi or butter as well as manufactured goods from China like transistor radios and thermoses.
 
These yakmen are easily distinguished by the red threads woven into their long braids and wrapped in a circular fashion around their heads. They also frequently carry a long dagger which adds to their rough and tough appearance. Their traditional yak hair tents have given way to tents made of parachutes, with drawstring openings in the top for the smoke of their cooking fire to escape.
 
I'll probably go up to Khumjung today to see friends. The challenge of the day will be figuring out a way to avoid the near obligatory pitcher of chang given by the wife of a guide I have known and worked with for many years. On the way out after this climb is finished there will be no such avoidance.
 
Until Base Camp then......Patrick Kenny

Dispatches

 





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