Nepal, September 2019

Utsikt Mot Nuptse (7861) Og Everest (8848)

01. February 2020

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View towards Nuptse (7861) and Everest (8848)

In the beginning of November 2018, I received a call from an unknown number. It was Bjørn Arne. He had arranged with my employer that I would join him on a “real trip”, as Bjørn Arne called it. The trip was going to last between five and six weeks, so it was important to make sure with my employer that this was possible. Originally, Martin (my boss) was supposed to join the trip himself, but he’s not a fan of living in tents and he felt he wasn’t fit enough.

We arranged a meeting and the planning was underway. Cho Oyu (8201) was the peak, with acclimatization on Lobuche East (6119) and Island Peak (6181).

In February, the group going to Cho Oyu – Bjørn Arne, Kristoffer, Pepo and me – agreed to switch to a slightly lower peak because the price of Cho Oyu just kept rising. We were up to around 350,000 kr per person. For me, it was okay to take a lower peak, as I had “only” been on Kilimanjaro (5895) before.

The months passed, and in mid-June, I decided to quit my job as chain manager at Skeidar. After six years with the company, I felt that it was time. The reasons were many, but I had long felt that I wanted to spend more time outside – not inside an office.

After a very good summer of training, it was finally time to depart.

PictureKari, Egil og Beate leser kart før avgang på Gardermoen. PictureJacob, Bjørn Arne og Kristoffer.

Here’s a summary of the first three weeks of the trip.

Sunday, September 1st:

Departure from Oslo to Kathmandu, via Dubai.

The group of ten (Bjørn Arne, Kristoffer, Gunnar, Terje, Claus, Jacob, Kari, Beate, Egil and me) were very happy to finally be on the trip. We talked a lot about clothes and equipment, what had the others brought and had we remembered everything? The conclusion was that we would go a long way with passports and money! Everything would be possible to get in Kathmandu, according to our quite experienced Everest climber Bjørn Arne.

PictureGod stemning, Kristoffer og Gunnar. PictureKristoffer og meg :)

Monday, September 2:

After a long journey, we arrived in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. At the hotel, we had our first meeting with our guide Matoco, Sherpa Lhakpa, and our new trekking companions from Argentina. After a brief review of the equipment, it was time to go shopping for the final items. For my part: a map, a knife, an insulated cup, and a larger urine bottle.

PictureArrived in Kathmandu. PictureLunch
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Me and Kristoffer shopping in Thamel

Tuesday 3 September:

At 5:00am we gathered and departed to the airport, where we hoped that the weather allowed landing at Lukla airport. We had heard of others waiting for hours for good weather, so we were very happy when we got on a flight before 7:00am. After a 35-minute flight, we landed safely in Lukla, also known as the world’s most dangerous airport.

After waiting for our luggage for a few hours, we began the trek to Phakding (2652). We walked calmly about 12 km in 4-5 hours.

Here we arrived at a lodge with good standard and good food.

PictureEarly start towards Lukla. PictureFlight to Lukla
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PictureArrived safely in Lukla. PictureThe short runway…

Wednesday, September 4th:

After a very good and long night, we continued the trek at 9am. In an incredibly beautiful and lush nature, we walked approximately 16 km in six hours from Phakding to Namche (3440). The whole group was still in good shape and the atmosphere in the group was great.

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Everyone in the group ready for departure.

PictureBeautiful nature PictureMe and my roommate Kari :)
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The bags are carried uphill by porters.

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Thursday, September 5th:

“A rest day” and acclimatization hike from Namche (3440m) to about 3840 meters above sea level. We went on a short hike of about 4.5 km in 3.5 hours. Several of us began to feel the altitude in Namche, but everyone was in good spirits and good shape. After a short hike, we went to a cafe, had proper coffee, and ate cake.

PictureNamche Bazaar PictureTwo Nights here :)
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In the middle of Namche, a cow takes a little rest.

PictureAclimatization trip. PictureNamche seen from above.
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Cake and coffee :)

Friday, September 6:

A 12.5 km leisurely hike from Namche (3440) to Tengboche (3870). The standard of the lodges decreased as we went higher up, but we were happy to sleep indoors and have coverage.

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Saturday, September 7:

Today’s hike went from Tengboche to Pheriche (4240), approximately 13.2 km in six hours. I had been very careful to walk slowly, stay at the back of the group, and drink enough water throughout the trip. On this day, I began to feel a slight headache. It wasn’t very bad, so I wasn’t very worried about it.

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The whole gang outside Tengboche Monastery.

Picture PictureBeate and Egil <3
PictureThe dining room in Pheriche. Picture

Sunday, September 8

From Pheriche to Lobuche (4940), about 8.6 km in 7 hours. Unfortunately, after we arrived in Lobuche, our good friend Jacob became so ill that he had to walk back down to Pheriche to be picked up by a helicopter. 5000 meters above sea level is no joke, and several of us felt the altitude strongly here! We also lost coverage here, and the lodge we stayed at had no working WIFI. Apart from that, the standard was still OK.

I myself was in very good shape (knock on wood!)

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Myself, Jacob, and Claus with Ama Dablam in the background.

Picture PictureOn the way to Lobuche. Picture
PictureThe gang arriving at Lobuche. PicturePepo, me and Kristoffer :)

Monday, September 9:

Rest day in Lobuche. The day was spent checking equipment and testing ropes. The group would have probably wished for WIFI here, as we now knew that it would be at least three more days without contact with family and friends. The summit was approaching, and we talked a lot about equipment and what clothes to wear.

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The girls in the group <3

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Bjørn Arne, Lhakpa, Stephen, Pepo, and Matoco around the fireplace.

Tuesday, September 10:

From Lobuche (4940), the journey continued to High camp (5400). We walked about 6.6 km in 3.5 hours, in steep terrain, so we kept a calm and steady pace going up. After a three-course dinner in the dining tent, we all went to bed early. The summit push awaited us at night!

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The group ready for High Camp.

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Amazing lush nature at High Camp (5400).

PictureArrival at High Camp. PictureThe good boys Gunnar and Terje :)

Wednesday, September 11th: Summit day

The alarm clock rang at 00:45. We went to the bathroom, brushed our teeth, and packed the last things in our bags. I was cold, so I put on some extra clothes. The sky was clear and we could see the mountain far in the distance.

01:30: Breakfast, and we were all ready!

02:30: We started the summit climb. We went a bit fast in the beginning, but we all knew we had to push hard to reach the top. After only 20 minutes, we had to stop and take off some clothes. Several of us had started with too much.

I knew early on that I was having a good day! After about three hours on rocks, we changed into our climbing shoes, put on crampons and harnesses. It started to get light, and we finally saw Mount Everest itself. Magical views of the world’s highest mountain. My form was still so good that I was able to enjoy the view. With the strong guys Gunnar and Bjørn Arne in front and the world’s best Sherpa Lhakpa, we reached the top at 07:30. It was a very good day and a wonderful feeling! Relieved and happy that everything had gone so well.

Within the next hour, the entire group reached the summit! It was very well executed and good statistics. 6119 meters with climbing is no joke!

The trip down was long and cold. After several long stops waiting for rappelling, I felt my condition deteriorating. Sore throat and stuffy nose.

Finally, after almost 10 hours, we were back at High camp and could crawl back into our sleeping bags.

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Gunnar, Bjørn Arne, and me in the dark.

PictureThe dog that belonged to us followed along :)PictureIt’s getting light :) PictureGunnar is grabbing a bite to eat.PictureFirst glimpse of Everest :)
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PicturePictureApproaching the summit. PicturePictureMe and Lhakpa :)
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Lhakpa, Bjørn Arne, me and Gunnar on the summit of Lobuche East (6119)

PictureEveryone in the group reached the summit! PictureWaiting and a short break on the way down.
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Thursday 12.09:

A tired but happy group walked the 15 km from High Camp to Chhukung (4730). Several had become slightly cold, but no altitude sickness.

Picturethe tent used as a kitchen/dining area during camping. PictureToilet… :)
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Friday 13.09:

Rest day in Chhkung. The standard was significantly lower and one rest day here was enough.

PictureToilet… PictureGood atmosphere :)

Saturday 14.09:

This day we were supposed to start the journey towards Island Peak Base Camp, but due to bad weather we had to cancel the trip to Island Peak. Instead, we started the trek down towards Pheriche to be picked up by a helicopter. Unfortunately, the weather was too bad to fly a helicopter, so we found a lodge and slept there.

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The view towards Island Peak, where we were supposed to hike towards.

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PictureAgriculture PicturePhone and internet coverage.
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On Sunday 15.09:

At 05:45 we set out, and the optimism was high when we saw that the weather was clear! Unfortunately, it only took a few minutes before the fog came up the valley, and we realized that we just had to continue walking downhill towards Namche. Arriving in Namche, we realized that there would be no helicopter today either. A good, warm and much-needed shower, followed by an evening visit to the Irish pub, kept our spirits up.

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Early morning in Pheriche.

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Matoco is waiting for the helicopter.

Monday 16.09:

The fog was thick over Namche and we started the trek down to Lukla. Upon arriving in Lukla, we realized that there would be no helicopter this day either. Due to the recent problems with flying in the Khumbu Valley, there were about 300 people waiting to get out of Lukla.”

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We kept up the good spirits :)

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Kristoffer and Gunnar… ;)

Tuesday 17.09:

Early Tuesday morning, we heard that one of our helicopters was waiting for us in Surkey, about 4 km below Lukla. We ran down, but quickly realized that there would be no helicopter ride. The conditions here were quite poor, and all the clothes we had were soaked through. The atmosphere was quite tense (not in our group), as some had been waiting here for several days already. We also heard that several had lost their lives in recent days because they had not been able to get out in time. Of course, we were glad that none of us were suffering from altitude sickness now.

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Kristoffer and Pepo :)

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Some take advantage of the waiting time to rest, others joke :)

Wednesday 18.09:

The fog was still thick and the conditions for the helicopter did not look good. We put on wet and cold clothes and walked back to Lukla. At least the conditions at the lodge were better and everyone could get a bed to sleep in.

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View from Surkey.

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Still in good spirits :)

Thursday 19.09:

0530 and clear weather! That boded well! Finally, we heard a helicopter and the first group ran down to the helipad. Planes and helicopters were in heavy traffic around Lukla. So finally, after 6 days, we were all in the air.

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Happy Bjørn Arne when we finally could fly back to Kathmandu.

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The whole gang gathered :)

Finally, at Yak & Yeti Hotel Kathmandu.

Thank you for the trip <3

Kristin

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