Paul, Mary, Dennis, Jim and Fiona enjoying a pre-dinner drink in our Lukla tea-house
Hi, it's Mary here.
Local Time: 7pm, 29th May
Weather: Low cloud and rain on and off, 12C
Life in Lukla
We were so excited when we finally trekked into Lukla late yesterday afternoon. We were looking forward to a shower (shower outside and solar heated).....oh sorry....too cloudy to heat the water!
At our Lodge we met up with many other people from IMG- sherpas, climbers and admin staff. We had a fun dinner in a relaxed dining room. Most of us went to bed early as we had to be up and ready to board our plane at 6am this morning.
"Bright eyed and bushy tailed" we were ready! ..........but alas.....at dawn the cloud cover was very heavy and it still hasn't lifted .....we are STILL here at 6pm!
The small plane we were due to fly out on has to fly in from Kathmandu first, but as these planes fly without instruments, they cannot fly in cloudy weather and unfortunately it has been cloudy and then wet all day!
Checking out Town
Lukla is like many of the Nepalese villages we have seen, but unlike others, it is built around an airport which is "protected" by a large unit of armed soldiers.
Lukla has one narrow stone street which is shared by people - stall holders, young kids playing among timber or piles of stones, school children (amazingly clean in their uniforms), chickens, dogs and yaks!
We are filling in our day by chatting, reading, laughing and playing cards- Paul won, followed closely by Fiona in the the card challenge today (and the worst thing is that I taught them the game!)
Hopefully the sun will shine tomorrow morning and we will fly out to Kathmandu, change our tickets and head back home......(fingers crossed!).
That's all for now,
PS - Happy Birthday Cheryl and thanks for all your postings.
Posted by: Jody & Stuart Cray, Melbourne, Australia on May 30, 2006 12:41 AM AEST
Glad to see your smiling faces, without been surrounded by multi layers of clothes!
Best wishes for a safe trip home. You have both done such a wonderful job and we are all proud!
Jody & Stu
Posted by: Tam - Florida Keys, USA on May 30, 2006 01:27 AM AEST
Paul, Fiona, BC Mom, Dennis & Jim:
Seeing a picture of all of you healthy, smiling and enjoying what appears to be a nice bottle of wine is almost as good as having you back home in our arms! ALMOST! Our thoughts will be on clear weather and a safe journey home for each of you.
We impatiently await your return....
Much love and hugs to all,
Posted by: Anne Marshall on May 30, 2006 01:41 AM AEST
Dear friends, you look very cheerful and convivial in today's picture, a typical holiday group. Let's hope the smiles don't wear thin as you wait for those clouds to lift...Big cheerio from Ron and Anne xx
Posted by: Jim C. on May 30, 2006 01:43 AM AEST
Good to see you all down safe. Jimbo, congratulations. Have a safe journey home.
Posted by: Larry and Marianne B on May 30, 2006 02:25 AM AEST
Hi Paul,Fiona, Mary, Den and Jim,
Soooooooo happy to see all of you enjoying the fruits of your two and a half months' labor climbing all over MT. Everest. We can't even image the feelings you must being experiencing.
Dennis, I bet I weigh more than you now from all the gatherings at Den's Dong. You have a lot of cathching up to do. And I've got the beers on ice.
Can't wait to see you again.
To all of you we thank God that you are well and looking great.
We've totally enjoyed your adventure.
A special thanks to Paul and Fiona for telling the story firsthand for all of us. Something we will never forget.
Larry and Marianne B
Posted by: William Popper on May 30, 2006 03:52 AM AEST
What a contrast in living environments, nice to see such smiles. Hope that the weather permits the plane to arrive soon and that you have an enjoyable flight to Katmandu. An image from the airplane of the mountains would be interesting to view, conditions permiting.
Nothing like a long soak in warm water to help soothe the body and soul. Have a good one and continued safe journey.
Posted by: Michelle Piro on May 30, 2006 04:43 AM AEST
Dear Paul, Fiona, Dennis and Jim;
So excited to see your photo and safely in Lukla. Congratulations to all of you. Can't imagine how you feel under those glowing smiles. Paul I know you will be back and give it another try. Safe journeys. Jim I am awaiting your return as is the state of NH.
Warm Regards and love,
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 30, 2006 05:21 AM AEST
What a fantastic photo showing the five of you looking so happy. You ALL have a lot to celebrate!!!
Echoing Tam's words, our thoughts will be on clear weather and a safe journey home for each of you. Cheers - MC
Posted by: David Gronow. on May 30, 2006 08:37 AM AEST
Congratulations on your acheivement. I was alerted to your website by my Sister in Law who is a long time friend of Fiona's mother. My son made it to the top of some mountain near Everest and about the same height as Base Camp. He said that was the hardest thing he had ever done so to get to the top or even near it is a feat beyond imagination (especially sitting in a heated house 30 m above sea level in Melbourne.
Thanks so much for your web site. Surely half a book already!
Regards and safe for the rest of the trip home. David.
Posted by: Phil M - Sydney on May 30, 2006 09:46 AM AEST
As I've said before, thanks for the adventure and ride in your back packs. The narrative and photos have been great, and for me who has followed expeditions for a number of years, yours was sensational. Every April I start hunting around for a "guided tour" and this has been awesome. Glad you are all OK and getting closer to home. A book would be fantastic, and I could add it to my collection. Would love to see more posted photos and a summary when you have time to come back to earth.
Posted by: Carissa O'Gara, New Hampshire on May 30, 2006 09:54 AM AEST
Dear Jim, Dennis, Paul, Fiona, and Mary,
It is GREAT to see you smiling and relaxing. Congratulations to all of you! Jim, the strawberries are going to come into season soon and we look forward to dining together and hearing about your amazing adventure. Safe returns to all and thank you for taking us along with you to Mt. Everest.
Carissa and Mick
Posted by: Sue in Maine on May 30, 2006 11:32 AM AEST
Jim et.al. Congratulations...simply amazing...looking forward to hearing all the details. Sue
Posted by: Steve Jacques on May 30, 2006 11:33 AM AEST
What a Great Photo!
Nice to see Jim with such a huge smile on his face. Well Done!
You are all truly a huge inspiration to me. It has been a blast monitoring your journey.
Thanks so much!
Posted by: Cheryl Threadgold on May 30, 2006 11:58 AM AEST
Wow - what a thrill to receive your Birthday greeting Mary! Thanks so much. Fantastic of you to be thinking of Birthdays whilst on your exciting journey. Super to see the three of you looking so well. Love Cheryl
Posted by: Jo, WI, USA on May 30, 2006 02:13 PM AEST
Hello Fiona, Paul, and Mary - I've been away for our holiday weekend here in the States so I've missed your updates; here's hoping you are headed to Kathmandu now, if not already there. Thanks for these continued updates and once again, congrats on such a successful endeavor. I do have a few more questions, if you are willing to oblige me:
1) Do you lose significant weight and/or body mass on an expedition like this? My husband and I were musing tonight over how hard two months away, in altitude, living on a very different diet, and burning 1000's of calories (even on your day hikes down - wow), must be on your bodies.
2) I hate to ask a cryptic question, but many of the reports I've been reading on this season's Everest trips make it sound as though the routes are now littered with stuff (old, torn ropes and tents) and deceased bodies - this has to be a very hard and difficult part of the journey - perhaps more so emotionally, as a constant reminder of the risks involved. Did you find it so?
3) Is the summer not a good time to climb Everest (or any Himalayan mountains) due to the (obvious) melting of the glacier? Can you explain some about the climbing seasons there? People do climb in the fall yes? I would imagine the snow threat would be greater though??
4) Are you even dicussing your future in climbing right now? Any goals or interests to look towards in the coming year?
Again, I am in utter awe of your experience and so interested in what it takes to be a mountaineer today. You two have made a good name for yourselves in this sport. I look forward to learning more about where you go in the future...
Posted by: Jo on May 30, 2006 02:15 PM AEST
OH! And one more question: it appears you are trekking with no more than one wee back pack on your backs. Honestly, how much personal stuff DID you bring with you on the expedition? You were gone quite some time...if you covered the whole 'gear' thing on your site, just lead me to it...I am very curious about how you do this when on such a big trip; it sounds like you gave much of your stuff to your wonderful sherpas. Is that customary? Do explain, if you have a moment...
Posted by: jillijohnsonandchristian peterson on May 30, 2006 02:25 PM AEST
we have been off line for a few days hence no messages of congratulatons for your amazing achievements.Especially Fiona and paul we are in awe of everthing you have done:And mary you are amazing I still can't believe your effort given I struggle too get out of bed on a "cold"morning you are an inspiration.
Looking forward to hearing thtat you have left the mountain and are on your way home...life will never be he same for you all again!! lots of love jill xxxx
Posted by: Eva on May 30, 2006 09:11 PM AEST
Hi Mary, Fiona and Paul-it's great to see you all down from the enormous heights, relaxing in the teahouse. Hopefully the weather will clear up soon and enable you to fly safely to Kathmandu and then home.Your detailed reporting is thoroughly enjoyable. One almost tries to imagine being there.Congratulations again on your fantastic achievement.Mary, you deserve a MEDAL!!!
Posted by: Matt Hammal - Portsmouth, UK on May 30, 2006 09:13 PM AEST
Well done to both of you on the climb. I've been watching all the way and it's been fantastic.
I did the base camp trek in March and thats really why i'm posting. Are you staying in the Hotel Tibet again as you did previously when in Kathmandu?
If you are, as we did. Then check out the Hotel Radisson opposite. It has a really nice swimming pool on the roof with a good pool bar and grill, very yummy Steak sandwiches with real Beef!!! No Buff or Yak.
We spent a couple of afternoons up there watching the cricket Engalnd Vs India (just a warm up for us retaining the Ashes this winter!)while waiting around for our flight back to the UK. Just go through recption and jump into a lift.
Could be just what you need to relax after everything you have been through?
Posted by: Jennie Downing Brighton on May 30, 2006 10:02 PM AEST
Hi you three adventurers...you may have tackled Everest but can you make a lemon tart? Johnny came for dinner with an amazing lemon tart for dessert..your lemons Paul and Fiona...We almost feel life is getting back to normal after sharing your wonderful expedition..Wishing you a good trip home, with love Jen
Posted by: Jan Laing on May 30, 2006 11:59 PM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul,
Just home from a wonderful week with Rachel in Fiji. I sent an SMS to Marg and Neil while we were away asking about your progress on Everest. They told us about Fiona summitting and about you having to turn back Paul. Firstly, congratulations to you Fiona on a wonderful achievement. It's unbelievable really to think that you stood on top of Everest... just absolutely amazing! To you Paul, I just couldn't get you out of my mind thinking how disappointed you must have felt.... but now that I'm back home and able to read your story, I realise that you knew you were making the right decision and were sensible enough to know that your life is far more important than climbing the mountain at this time. Celebrate yours and Fiona's wonderful achievement and be happy that you can share many more achievements together. Congratulations and best wishes to both of you