After two days of brisk walking, I arrived in Lukla on Sunday night hoping that I would get to Kathmandu on Monday morning. However, the Agni Air plane that I was supposed to fly to the capital with, unfortunately crashed in Jomsom – the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit in western Nepal.
Current reports say that 15 people (13 Indian tourists and two Nepali pilots) were killed when the plane hit a hillside as it tried to land at Jomsom airport, a hub for trekkers and religious pilgrims. Six people are said to have survived the accident. Incidents like this always put things into perspective and the sad mood that had overcome me since I left base camp on Saturday morning has been blown away. Of course, it was hard to leave without having really achieved anything on the mountain and seeing all the other expeditions stay, however, many people regard Russell’s decision as very courageous and even though I did not go through the icefall this year, I heard a lot of talk about its dangerous conditions this season.
However, I never leave base camp without having gained something ( well, it is certainly not weight), and this year I have made some good new friends and enjoyed some interesting conversations with acclaimed mountaineers. Naturally Russell’s decision to cancel the expedition was the centre of many conversations inside and outside of base camp and it was interesting to see how other people see his judgment. For me, the early end of our trip means going back to Kathmandu and help Miss Hawley meet returning expeditions from other mountains, such as Annapurna, Makalu, Manaslu etc – so I certainly won’t be bored as Kathmandu sounds quite busy in this respect.
Thanks for bearing with me and sorry I was not able to provide you with exciting news this climbing season….but I hope you enjoyed visiting my site anyway.