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Everest with Mountain Madness

Dispatches from the Himalayas!

Day 3

Today the Mera Peak team arrived in the vil­lage of Kote. Wet, but hap­py to find refuge in the new tea­hous­es here. On Day 1 we had great views of the peaks tow­er­ing above the vil­lage of Luk­la. Since then, we’ve been get­ting a good North­west-like soak­ing, with no views, mud­dy trails and tem­per­a­tures in the 40s. 

Yes­ter­day, the 15th, Nepali time, we trekked over 15,000+ foot paths and descend­ed to some tea­hous­es where we gath­ered our wits after six hours of hik­ing in the rain. Lap­kha Sher­pa, the come­di­an of the group, pro­vid­ed jokes for 17 drenched porters as they hud­dled around the fire, try­ing to for­get the day. The porters are as amaz­ing as ever, tak­ing the heavy loads, mud, and hard work all in stride. Today as the rocky trail plunged down to the riv­er at the bot­tom of Hinku Val­ley, through stands of bam­boo, pine and thir­ty-foot rhodo­den­drons, these porters would glide by us on the slip­pery rocks like it was just anoth­er day at work. But they, like us, were anx­ious to get to Kote and get out of the rain.

For din­ner tonight, we had veg­etable rolls with a cau­li­flower white sauce. We had ham­burg­er pat­ties with a bit of shred­ded radish and cab­bage as well as fresh greens. Our cook is awesome!

Tomor­row we move up high­er into the val­ley. We’re hop­ing the weath­er gets bet­ter. Every­body says hi to fam­i­ly and friends!

Day 4

On the approach, we start­ed late today — it seems Jeff, Mark and Doug stayed up late play­ing cards with some porters and lost their shorts. But, the day has great promise as we walk up the Hinku Val­ley. The swirling mist slow­ly pulling back to reveal some blue sky, an incred­i­ble relief here from val­ley floor to the peaks. Walk­ing up the riv­er bed, its boul­ders cov­ered with a lux­u­ri­ant lay­er of moss, we even­tu­al­ly left the tem­per­ate for­est and entered the alpine zone where, dur­ing the sum­mer months, the yaks are brought up to graze on the grass­es found here in the Makalu-Barun Nation­al Park.

A blue sky even­tu­al­ly gave way to the usu­al mist and rain. The only hint that we were sur­round­ed by tow­er­ing peaks was the occa­sion­al avalanche that broke loose from the new snow. On our way to set­tle­ment of Tang­nag, we vis­it­ed a small monastery built beneath a mas­sive over­hang­ing boul­der. After a bless­ing from the Lama, it wasn’t long before he and Lap­kha were crack­ing up. It seems even the revered holy man isn’t immune to Lapkha’s infec­tious humor. With the ensu­ing down­pour, we dove into the warmth of a tea­house for the night at Tang­nag. Today we wake to clear skies and a wel­come rest day for Michael and I, to fight a cold, while the rest go for an acclima­ti­za­tion hike. 

In two days, we arrive in base camp, and will set up a high camp at over 19,000 feet before hope­ful­ly sum­mit­ing Mera on Octo­ber 22, Nepali time. 

A mes­sage to our families: 

Doug says, I’m think­ing about you, and don’t piss off mom.” 

Jeff says, Lit­tle guy says hi from the Himalayas.” 

Mark S. says, Miss you, Ali­son and Andrew, fin­ish your homework.”

~ MM Pres­i­dent Mark Gunlogson