I have made it out of Kathmandu and it actually went very smoothly. Flights were leaving very early and we already landed in Lukla at 7am. It is great to be back in the mountains and I am glad that I made it as I nearly decided to stay in Kathmandu for another week to help Miss Hawley with the expeditions that are still arriving. However, I decided to stick to my original plan and leave on 8th of April as I am already one week behind the rest of my expedition and it is probably important to catch up with my group –not only for acclimatisation purposes but also for group dynamics.
Ellen, an amazing woman and athlete who will be climbing Lhotse this year, and I walked to Phakding together but as we were so early I decided to push on to Namche. I love the walk to Namche, however, I will never understand why people moan so much about the notorious Namche Hill. It may be because I grew up in the Bavarian Alps, but all the Namche Hill is, is an uphill section that leads you to the Sherpa capital, at 3,300 metres. I have always heard people complain about that hill but it is actually a very good path that goes uphill – which is not that surprising in the mountains.
I arrived in Namche at around 3pm and I spoke to some of the lodge owners there, who told me that so far they have not seen that many trekkers. However, if they compare the number of trekkers with last autumn then I am not surprised. According to the figures of the Sagarmatha National Park (Sagarmatha is the Nepali name for Mount Everest), more than 10,000 trekkers went through the region last October. It was a record number and the lodges and restaurant could hardly cope with the influx of people. This must have been mainly due to the fact that Nepal was out of the bad news with the civil war being over and a new government being in power. However, even though expeditions to Mount Everest do not seem to be too much affected by the global economic crisis, I think that many trekkers and expeditions to smaller mountains are staying away this year.