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Peru with Mountain Madness

It All Started With A Helicopter

The spring trekking sea­son kicks off in Nepal with MM Guide Deana Zabal­do and Moun­tain Mad­ness trekkers: Aquiles A, Michelle C, Eric C, Kris­ten C, Tam­my D, Eric L, Krista M, Mary N, Jaime W, Beat­rice W and Brett W.

Trekker Krista Means receives a bless­ing from a Hin­du ascetic while out sight­see­ing.
Deana Zabal­do photo

Maybe it was the bless­ing we received from the Hin­du ascetics dur­ing our day of sight­see­ing in Kath­man­du, but what­ev­er the rea­son, luck was with us even when the weath­er was­n’t. After ris­ing at 4am to catch the first flight to Luk­la for our trek to Ever­est Base Camp, we sat in the air­port 7 hours wait­ing for the clouds in Luk­la to clear. By noon, we had decid­ed to go in by heli­copter – if we could get them. Med­ical res­cues always take prece­dence, so we had to wait for a heli to return from an evac­u­a­tion, but by ear­ly after­noon we had two French heli­copters (a B2 and B3, I think) ready for take­off. Heli­copters don’t need as much vis­i­bil­i­ty as planes and are safer in the cloudy weath­er around Luk­la. We were lucky to get them and lucky the weath­er held long enough for us to land and start our trek on time.

Heli­copter tak­ing off from Luk­la. Deana Zabal­do photo

Day 2 we crossed the Sir Edmund Hillary sus­pen­sion bridge (ver­tig­i­nous­ly high over a gorge) and hiked two hours straight up to Nam­che Bazaar at 11,300 ft. Day 3 we head­ed out for an acclima­ti­za­tion hike and our first views of Mount Ever­est. The weath­er was a lit­tle hazy but we had great views of Ever­est, Nuptse, and Lhotse. The adven­ture begins!”

~ MM Guide Deana Zabaldo

Cross­ing the Hillary sus­pen­sion bridge on the way to Nam­che Bazaar. Deana Zabal­do photo

Trekkers spin prayer wheels as they enter Nam­che Bazaar. Deana Zabal­do photo

Trekker Krista Means shares her expe­ri­ence in Nam­che with us and her over­all impres­sion of the trek so far:

Woke up day two in Nam­che. At two points dur­ing the trek we will stay for two nights in one vil­lage instead of only one to help with the acclima­ti­za­tion process. This how­ev­er does not mean we have a day off from trekking :)

Hik­ing in the shad­ow of Ever­est. Deana Zabal­do photo

This morn­ing we got up and had a deli­cious break­fast of warm mues­li, and omelets. The food here is very good! Trav­el­ing on this entire trek with us is a staff of 18 ‑com­prised of porters/​Sherpas and cooks. Not to men­tion 16 cross-breeds, which is an ani­mal mix of yak and moun­tain cow. To say that we want for noth­ing would be an understatement. 

The view from our room, morn­ing in Nam­che. Krista Means photo

After break­fast we head­ed out for an acclima­ti­za­tion hike. Today we climbed some­where between 1500 and 2000 feet in just about 1.6 mile to the Mt. Ever­est Hotel. As the name would sug­gest, we got our first peek of Ever­est although it was just the very top and the rest was obscured by anoth­er moun­tain ridge. How­ev­er stun­ning views of Ama Dablam, Lotse, Nup­tuse and Taboche were all vis­i­ble. After a quick cup of tea on the deck we head­ed back down and were back to our guest house by lunchtime. Anoth­er great meal fol­lowed by some shop­ping and some key down­time before dinner. 

Shop­ping in Nam­che. Krista Means photo

Despite the alti­tude, most every­one is doing well. Our guide Deana has been great about encour­ag­ing every­one to go at the pace that is com­fort­able for them. We always have 3 or 4 Sher­pas walk­ing with us so no one is walk­ing alone. 

Tomor­row we rise ear­ly and depart Nam­che for Teng­boche. It sounds like it will be anoth­er 5 – 6 hours of hik­ing and the weath­er is sup­posed to be good.”

~ MM Trekker Krista Means