Today was another hard day. There's a gigantic hill to climb into Lukla, and I found myself hitting the ground with my trekking poles in frustration because it went on and on and on, and I had forgotten about this initial downhill, which, in reverse, became a flashback to early days of the trek. But we made it—sweaty, tired, and grumpy—to the Sherpa Lodge at Lukla. A few hours later, the yaks pulled up with all of our gear. And now all we have to do is wait for the itty-bitty prop plane to hopefully take us out early in the morning. Then, if all goes well, there will be someone from Windhorse Trekking to meet us and take us to the Nirvana Hotel, where, as you might imagine, a shower will truly take us to nirvana.
Since you all know that we work for a dot com, you'll find this amusing, I'm sure—at least all of you corporate types will. We recently got a snippet of e-mail that announced the reorganization of the company, yet again. So, when we come back, who knows where we'll be. Perhaps we'll have big promotions, but somehow I don't think so. I'll settle for the same old office, with my plants that our almostEverest editor extraordinaire claims to be watering regularly for me. See, we weren't even gone 20 days when the reorg happened. Hopefully, the same people we know and love will be there to welcome us back. I'm kidding—I know they will be. More importantly, we hope the expense checks will clear.
Now for an Island Peak update.
David and I were hanging out in the common room of the Sherpa Lodge when a very, very tired couple ventured in. It was already dark on the trail. They'd been walking for 12 hours all the way from Tangboche, rushing to make their flight tomorrow morning. This was the couple joining up with us to climb Island Peak. We exchanged excited greetings and caught up on the expedition news. They almost made the summit, but some big crevasses prevented all climbers from reaching the true summit about 100 feet further on. But they did it, early in the morning, led by climbing Sherpa Pasang.
Bruce and Gerry, however, were not so lucky. They both came down with severe altitude illness and couldn't make it past base camp. The rested in Dingboche, and then, determined as ever, hiked off to Loboche to try that mountain. They ought to be down in about a week. It's funny how it goes—this couple just waltzes all over the Khumbu, they never get sick, they have no climbing experience, and every one of us, on the other hand, failed to make our summit. Irony would be the word of the day.
Meanwhile, the expedition logistics seemed to be falling by the wayside. With Eugene and Kamenna needing to come down to Lukla, and with Bruce and Gerry going another way, there weren't enough porters. And somehow, Eugene and Kamenna reported that when they made it down to base camp, none of their gear was there, so they had to walk all the way to Dingboche in their plastic snow boots before catching up with their hiking boots. Then they had to wait while Pasang scrounged up another porter.
Now there's confusion about who has been paid what and where the tips are, so we have some things to straighten out with the trekking company. Hearing about the couple's hell-walk to Lukla made us very glad we abandoned that part of our itinerary, came down slowly, and were able to see some of the sights we were too tired to see on the way up.
It seems like you can make all kinds of plans, but once you get in country, your plans are pretty meaningless.
In the meantime, we've seen other expeditions and the cook staffs that they have hired. We've seen people eating lasagna, chicken, and chocolate cake, and we're wondering perhaps just how good our cook staff was after all.
When we're home, we'll do a complete evaluation of the equipment, sponsors, people, and so forth, which we think you'll find valuable—whether you're a trekker or techie.
We have a surprise for you in today's pics. Back in Loboche, before David and I parted from the group, we had some pictures taken with the TechRepublic flag; so here they are, as an expedition bonus.
|Mike and Dave hold up the TechRepublic flag in Loboche before heading down for healing and home.|
|It may not be clear, but we had everyone on the expedition sign the flag and pose with it. Rudra signed for those who couldn't.|
The adventure never ends, does it?
Want to win a TechRepublic baseball cap? Share your climbing experiences by posting your comment below, or send us an e-mail. It's that simple.And so you don't miss one step of David and Mike's climb up Island Peak, subscribe to our free TrekMail. Be one of the first 2,000 subscribers to our TrekMail, and you'll get a cool TechRepublic flying disc!
Mike Jackman is an editor in chief of TechProGuild, an editor of PC Troubleshooter and Windows Support Professional, and also works as a freelance Web designer and consultant. Together with his co-editor in chief David Bard, he traveled to Nepal to report on high-altitude technology and to climb 20,285-foot Imja Tse. In his spare time (when he can find some), Mike’s an avid devourer and writer of science fiction, parent to two perpetually adolescent cats, and a hiking enthusiast.