After having wrapped up my job with the United Nations in Islamabad and said goodbye to the lovely people I met there as well as our CORE community, I am back in Kathmandu getting ready for Lhotse. I left Pakistan with a laughing and a crying eye but it was time for me to go. Even though the floods still have an impact on the affected population in Pakistan, the emergency seems to be over and the humanitarian work is shifting more to early recovery and developing work. And as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) focuses on relief assistance our workload had decreased significantly in the past few weeks and it was time to go.
Great timing, as I am leaving for the Everest Region on Monday morning, when I catch my flight to Lukla from where I start my trek towards base camp. Like every year, I am really looking forward to ambling up the Khumbu by myself – without a porter, a guide or a group – just my rucksack and I. I will take it slowly and I am planning to arrive at base camp at around 25 April.
I will be climbing Lhotse, the 4th highest peak in the world, with Himalayan Experience, the operator I scaled Mount Everest in 2009 and Manaslu in 2010 with. Russell Brice’s 12 Everest and six Lhotse climbers are sharing base camp and will be doing most of the acclimatisation programme together due to the two mountains’ proximity. When people ask me about Lhotse’s location, I usually say: “It is the same route to Everest, but just before you get to the South Col, you go right where Everest climbers go left.” Well, I hope that I won’t the miss the turn-off. Like the previous two years, we will be acclimatisating on Lobuje East, a 6,119m peak, which is in the region.
I am very excited to head back up the mountain and even though I have spent a lot of time in the Everest region and base camp, I am very much looking forward to being there. I can’t wait to get into my little tent, which I will furnish with my Pakistani rug and my yoga mat, and wake up to the ramblings of the Khumbu Icefall and the amazing scenery there.
I am also looking forward to spending time with the Himalayan Experience team, who I know really well, and with the Sherpas and the kitchen team, who astonish me every morning when they deliver tea and hot towels to our tents, displaying their endless smiles and uttering kind words.
Last but not least, I am of course looking forward to climbing another 8,000m peak even though these high-altitude expeditions are not always easy. The good thing is that I seem to quickly forget the hardship of such a climb and only remember the positive sides, which there are plenty of.
I will try and update my website on a regular basis, however, for more detailed and frequent updates on our climb, click on the Himex website, for which I will be writing the newsletter.
Until then – upward and onward!