Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
|Everest as seen from near the 5th lake of Gokyo|
|Tenzing & Hillary after their successful 1953 climb|
The first ascent of Everest was followed by three decades of successful high altitude mountaineering in the
The major peaks fell one by one and climbers turned their attention on new
routes and unclimbed walls. On Everest itself, in 1963, an American team led by
Willi Unsoeld and Tom Horbein summitted the peak by the west ridge. In an astounding
feat, they completed the first traverse of the mountain through the night by descending
the south East Ridge down to the South Col. In 1975
a British team led by Chris Bonington laid siege to the south west face of
Everest and completed the first ascent of this huge wall. In 1978 Messner and
Habeler accomplished the first ascent without oxygen and again in 1980 Messner
set a new benchmark by making a solo ascent of the mountain completely
unsupported from the north side. In 1983 an American team climbed the avalanche
ravaged the Kangshung face, one of the last great challenges of Everest. And by
the early nineties, the stage was set for the first guided climbs on the
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
|The West Ridge of Everest with the climbers below - Photo Courtesy Everest, The West Ridge by Tom Horbein|
On 21st May 1963 at six o’clock in the evening two climbers reached 27,205 feet (8300 metres) to set up
on the west ridge of Everest. Tom Horbein a US anasthetologist then 32 years
old and Willi Unsoeld , a mountain guide then 36 years of age were poised for
the final push to the summit of Everest by a new route. Camp 5W
It had not been easy for these two men. The 1963 American Everest Expedition led by Norman Dyrenfurth had squarely set its sights on a first American ascent by the
South Col route. On
May 1st 1963, Jim Whittaker accompanied by Sherpa Nawang Gombu,
Tenzing’s nephew, made the first American ascent to become the fifth and six
men to stand of the summit after the British in 1953 and Swiss in 1954.
But Horbein and Unsoeld had other ideas. Working doggedly with the meager resources including limited oxygen the duo set up camps on the virgin west ridge route.
On the day of their summit climb, Barry Bishop, a National Geographic photographer, and Lute Jerstad were also attempting the summit by the South Col route. Bishop and Jerstad reached the summit around 4 pm but did not find any evidence of the west ridge team who were still two hours below the top.
Monday, May 20, 2013
|The top of the Rhenjo La pass - one of the three passes crossed on this trek|
For the complete photo essay please do visit http://old.outlooktraveller.com/printarticle.aspx?285825
There are a number of flights every morning from
Kathmandu to the mountain airstrip of Lukla, the start of
the trek. Tara Airways (www.yetiairways.com)
is the airline of choice and runs the maximum number of flights. The fare is
presently USD 280 for foreigners and NPRs 16,280 return for SAARC citizens. In bad weather, Lukla flights get disrupted
and the only option then is to take a seat on a helicopter (www.simrikair.com.np) back to Kathmandu (USD 450-500 one way).
The best season for the trek is April to Mid May and again from Mid October to early December. Though the passes are crossed later in the season as well, there is always the possibility of heavy snowfall closing down the route. If there is heavy snow during the trek, the passes are best avoided and the route can be done by following the valleys instead. We trekked in late April and were rewarded with a riot of mountain flowers including the rhododendron in the valleys capped by the soaring peaks. Bottled mineral water is available but very expensive, so please carry iodine/chlorine water purification tablets. You need to carry enough water with you at least one litre at a time and this can be refilled at the lodges. Trekking poles are a must as there are three passes to cross with slippery trails and scree. The tea houses (lodges) will provide beds and quilts but a warm three season plus sleeping bag is essential. The trek crosses 5400 metres so do not underestimate the effects of the altitude or the walk. This is a difficult trek and you need to be fit and properly acclimatized to succeed.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
M ark Horrell, climber, writer and photographer has written an excellent post on his blog about trekking and mountaineering and the fine line between the two. Do visit Mark's blog for more articles and photos on the mountains.
|Photo by Sujoy Das|
Monday, May 6, 2013
One of the better guest houses in Gangtok and located in a quiet part of the town below the gates of the Palace, Mintokling is run by the brother and sister duo of Pema and Tenzing. The guest house which was started in 1986 has twelve rooms overlooking a lovely garden rich in hydrangeas, rhododendrons and other exotic flowers. The personalised service given by the family ensures a high standard of hospitality and comfort. Rooms are clean with plenty of hot water and fine views over the valley. To contact the guest house please do visit www.mintokling.com
|The Mintokling Guest House with a view over the valley|
|Rhododendron in bloom|