After our Air China plane had hobbled along the pothole-ridden runway of Kathmandu Tribuvhan airport, I was glad to be airborne and embark on my next adventure. I was travelling with Sergey Baranov from Russia, who was on Makalu with me this spring, and the two of us are definitely the latecomers in the team
. The rest of the group had left Europe on 29 August and are already at Shisha Pangma BC.
As Sergey and I need to catch up with the other members but also have to acclimatise, we opted to go via Lhasa rather than by road via the friendship highway from Nepal. The Tibetan capital lies at an altitude of 3,600m and one night there is certainly good for getting used to the higher elevations.
Since I was last in Lhasa in 2006, it has changed significantly and the development of the city can’t be overlooked. Chinese shops with neon lights definitely dominate the skyline, however, stepping into the old Tibetan quarters still takes you back to the ancient beautiful traditions of this country.
After our arrival, we went for a walk around the monastery, found some beads as talismans for our expedition, had dinner at one of the many restaurants there, and collapsed into bed. The strange thing about Tibet is that it works on Beijing time, which does not really make sense as it was still pitch dark at about 7.45 this morning. For this reason most expeditions on both Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma usually work on Nepali time.
The following morning our driver picked us up at 8 and we embarked on the long ride to Xigatse, which at an altitude of 3,900m is Tibet’s second largest city. Here Sergey and I went for a walk which was longer than anticipated as the roads lined with their numerous Shops either selling cheap Chinese goods or gems, all looked the same – so we got a bit lost.
On Saturday, we will continue our journey straight to Shisha Pangma BC (5,000m), where we will meet the rest of the group. Sergey and I will stay there for a couple of days to acclimatise while the others will most probably move on to Advanced Base Camp (ABC), which at about 5,700m will be our home for the next month or so.
So watch the space for more from Shisha Pangma. I am looking forward to keeping you posted on this expedition and I hope you will enjoy it!