Back at Namche
Mary set up to spend the night in the communications tent (from here she brought you the live updates on our summit climbs). Photo Justin Merle
Paul and Mary heading down to Namche in the fog. Photo Fiona Adler
Wild rhodedendrum flowers near Tengboche. Photo Fiona Adler
Location: Namche Baazar
Local Time: 8pm, 27th May
Weather: Foggy and rainy, 10C
Hi everyone - Fiona here,
We've been walking all day having finally arrived back at Namche Baazar.
We're staying at Camp de Base - the same lodge that Chris and Bridget stayed in on the way up - except there are some differences. For one thing, the trekking season has finished so the price for a room with an ensuite is now 100 rupees instead of US$10. The other difference is that there is no running water or electicity in Namche at the moment - so the ensuite is not too much good and there is no heating or lights! Oh well. I guess it's best that we're introduced to luxuries like these slowly.
After yesterday's walk and the climb down, we have all got various degrees of sore feet and legs, so today's hike seemed like it would never end. (Chris O - Mary says to thank you for the tip re tying her shoes.) Although we are heading down, the trail is anything but just downhill. Today we had two relatively big climbs to contend with.
The day started out foggy and then cleared until lunchtime. But it rained pretty much all afternoon, causing us to put our heads down and focus on walking. Some people are saying that the monsoon has already arrived. Sure feels like it to us.
During the walk we enjoyed increasing amounts of vegetation, including the rhododendron forests which are still at the end of their bloom. It's great to see trees, flowers and grass again. Makes you realise how hostile the basecamp environment is - all rock and ice. But the landscape has also changed a lot since our trek in 2 months ago now.
It's already a lot warmer here. Even last night in Pheriche, we were all amazed at how warm we were at night. We just realised that we are 2 vertical kilometres lower than base camp here.
After only 2 days walking, it feels like we're already a world away from base camp - but still a world away from home as well. I don't think any of us will miss base camp, and especially not the icefall, but the mountain had a majestic appeal that we are a bit sad to leave. As we walk down we wonder if or when we'll be back again.
Tomorrow, we'll hike to Lukla from where we'll hopefully get a flight to Kathmandu the next morning. (The flights only go in the mornings and are prone to cancellation if it is raining or cloudy.) Once we get to Kathmandu, we'll try to get onto the next flight to Melbourne (via Bankok). Hopefully we'll also be able to catch up with some of our fellow climbers who left for Kathmandu a few days ahead of us.
Jo - in a way you are right about the route up from the south col to the south summit being fairly direct. What is difficult to gleen from the photos is the scale - you are looking at around 1km of vertical height there. So within that climb there are sections which are snow slopes and other sections which are almost vertical rock.
Also, in case it's not obvious, Mary is trekking out with us and will be flying home on the same flight.
Phil M - The South Summit is around 8750m and Camp 4 is about 7900, so it's a height gain of 850m.
Donovan - I did later think that it would be nice to get a rock from the summit as a souveneir but at the time I completely forgot about it. I may pick up a poster in Kathmandu to fill in my missing photos.
Dave and Stephanie - I'd definitely encourage everyone to follow their dreams, whatever they are. Yes, I found Everest incredibly hard, but I am so glad I've done it now. However, if you are thinking of trying Everest, it's not to be taken lightly. I wouldn't want anyone to skimp on the preparation necessary (namely experience on other mountains, experience at high altitude, training, gear, etc)
Sean - The very top of Mt Everest is a pretty small area. I'd guess at around 3 x 1.5m. It's relatively flat but one side overhangs as the whole summit ridge is a cornice. The top is strewn with things that people have left there - mainly prayer flags, but also the odd framed photo and other things that I couldn't make out.
So now just one more day of hiking to get through without twisting an ankle! Very much looking forward to catching up with our families and friends when we return,
Posted by: paula stout - Palo Alto, California on May 28, 2006 01:58 AM AEST
The two of you have made so many friends around the world. Just wanted to echo the sentiments of the hundreds of individuals you've touched with your posting. My mother, from small town Texas, has kept track of you the whole time and even adopted you as her own. Thanks for taking people to places they may never get on their on. Sorry to hear about the rain. Heard from Asian Trekking people earlier...looks like travel is challenging. will pray that it lets up so you can get out. My best and thanks again! paula.
Posted by: Chris & Bridget (London) on May 28, 2006 02:15 AM AEST
Hi guys, welcome back to Namche! We can sympathise with how long the day back into Namche is (we didn't really remember all those hills between Tengboche and Namche, it just goes on forever doesn't it!) - we were cheering as we finally came round the last bend to get there and enjoy a shower at Camp de Base. Bad luck there's no water or electricity at the moment. Really hope the bakeries have been somehow able to turn out a treat or 7 for you! Did you have the courage to try anything at the Tengboche bakery on the way through?
Enjoy the trip back to Kathmandu. Do you have to wait there for your gear, or will it follow you home later?
Chris and Bridge
PS - We had a good dinner at Kilroys back in Kathmandu, think you'd like it. It's in Thamel near the "red tshirt shop" if you can remember right back to the start of the trip! Easy to find, sure a taxi driver would know it.
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 28, 2006 05:25 AM AEST
Fiona, Paul and Mary
Well, you are almost home. And I can imagine your friends and families are as excited to see you as you are to see them! And Zac and Zoe must be beside themselves!
As you said, Fiona, running water and electricity would have been nice in Namche but it might have been "too shocking" so quickly (kidding.) What I love is your continual positive attitude toward disappointments and obstacles put in your way. You are to be emulated. Take care - MC
Posted by: Anne Marshall on May 28, 2006 08:38 AM AEST
Dear Paul, Fiona and Mare: It's a glorious feeling to picture you now trekking ever closer to the travel connections which will bring you home but thank goodness you can also allow yourselves time to soak up whatever else you will see and do before your final flight to Melbourne.The rhodedendrons etc must be beautiful and maybe there'll be a bit of luxury to be had in Bangkok?
Posted by: Judy-Glen Ellen CA on May 28, 2006 09:21 AM AEST
Thank you for a glorious ride! I have loved following your adventure from the very beginning. You are my heros! I hope you keep our e-mail addresses and include us in your next big adventure. Judy
Posted by: Bill Sims on May 28, 2006 09:36 AM AEST
Paul and Fi,
Now that you're safely off the mountain I wanted to ask some questions. We followed a number of teams this year attempting from the South and the North, yours most closely. This was a hard year with 10 deaths so far. The outfits from the North seem to be less organized and cut corners in a number of areas. There has been discussion on everestnews.com about 40 climbers stepping over David Sharp, a Britt who was near death (but alive), on their way to the summit. He later died. And another about Dan Mazur who bravely abandoned his summit attempt to assist Lincoln Hall who was near death, but thanks to him still alive. My questions are, did you and Fi hear these stories while you were on the mountain, and if so how did they affect you? Also, did you witness any of the same selfishness amoung those you came in contact? Your story of the Sherpas giving up their oxygen was an important one. The Sherpas are mountain angels.
Thanks and enjoy the trip home,
Bill and family - Jax, FL
Posted by: Tam - Florida Keys, USA on May 28, 2006 11:02 AM AEST
P, F and All:
As the sun is setting here in the Florida Keys, we know it is beginning to rise on you in Namche. It saddens us to know this amazing journey is coming to an end, yet I am filled with elation that "my man" is coming home! Jack Gerstein, Vickie and I toasted all of you with a Mojito in Key West and I hope you will do the same at the Rum Noodle!
Everest Hugs to all of you and unconditional love to Dennis.....
P.S. We continue to await pictures of the Yeti!!
Posted by: Gavin Turner, Seattle on May 28, 2006 04:39 PM AEST
Dear Paul and Fiona,
Thankyou so much for sharing your adventure with us over the last couple of months. You have both been an inspiration to me.
I have to ask, have you started thinking about future climbs yet?
Any plans for more 8000ers?
I wonder how melbourne will feel after the experiences you have just had?
Congratulations on what you both achieved on Everest. I loved reading your reports.
Posted by: Sammie and Nick Melb Aus on May 28, 2006 05:29 PM AEST
Hi Paul, Fi and Mary,
Enjoy the hike out and the reintroduction of luxuries!! Will you be having a rest in Thailand? You certainly have earnt it. Every one at home is talking in awe about what you have both acheived. Well done! Looking forward to seeing you when you get home.
xx Sammie and Nick
Posted by: Jenny Gay on May 28, 2006 06:18 PM AEST
Hi Fi and Paul - mum just told me about your big adventure today so I have been looking through the website. Congratulations to you both, what an effort and Fi I take my hat off to you! Makes me start to think about what I have (or have not!)achieved in my own life. Hope the trip home goes well. Jen xx
Posted by: Mick S Geelong Victoria Australia on May 28, 2006 10:13 PM AEST
Rum Doodles in Thamel gives free food and drinks to Everest summiters. Just leave your footprint on the ceiling.
The food is good and worth the visit.
Posted by: Mum & Dad H on May 28, 2006 10:39 PM AEST
Hi there, well dad & I had a relaxing time at BG - I walked Milly from Rye to home and the view was beautiful -the sea was blue & like a millpond with just a few fishing boats out there & it was quite mild as well. I found the setting so calming & peaceful & while I walked I thought of you all treking back home to us - safe & sound. The sense of relief was enormous. It will be great to see you & hug you again.
Bev & Trevor came today & it looks like alterations will be completed by Christmas - that should be fantastic.
See you soon - rest up in kathmandu, love always Mum & Dad xx
Posted by: Maggie on May 29, 2006 08:45 PM AEST
Congratulations. I have very much enjoyed your journey. Please unsubscribe me now.