On Sunday, most of the members of the Himex Everest South 2009 expedition arrived in Kathmandu, and it was quite overwhelming to see how many people are actually part of this expedition. There are 28 clients from all over the world, seven “western” guides, a doctor, 30 climbing Sherpas, 10 base camp staff, two cooks and a few more. So, this crowd will get onto three Twin Otter planes tomorrow morning and fly to Lukla, where their expedition begins. The walk to Everest Base Camp should take around 10 days as the expedition members will have to take it easy due to the acclimatisation process. Once they will have reached Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital lying at an altitude of 3,300m, they will not be able to ascend more than 300 metres per day. The reason for this is that the human body needs time to acclimatise and produce more red blood cells. If the climbers ascend too quickly they are most likely to get either High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE) or High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE), which can be dangerous if ignored and could end their Everest expedition there and then.
However, most of Russell’s team members have been to high altitude before and the acclimatisation process is nothing new for them.
Once the Himex team will have gone tomorrow (lot of socialising), I will have more time to get ready to leave on 8th April. As I said in my last entry, I still have a lot of expeditions to see and the fact that I am so busy with interviewing teams makes my own preparations for Everest quite difficult. My physical exercise regime is going well, however, I still haven’t got my head around the fact that I am actually going to climb the highest mountain in the world. For me, it is probably less dramatic than for other people as I live in Nepal, deal with Everest every season and I know the Khumbu region very well. So, flying to Lukla next Wednesday could just be another trip to the Khumbu…but it is not and I am slowly getting excited about this!