Valerio Massimo Everest Expedition 2009

Me on the summit of Cho Oyu with Everest in the background

Namche Bazaar (Sherpa) capital of the world

April 1st, 2009 by Valerio

We had a beautifully sunny and oddly ‘free of screw-ups’ flight to Lukla yesterday morning, with Everest clearly visible in the distance.  As soon as we landed we began the laborious process of accounting for all the kit bags that accompany us on the trek to Base Camp.  Being Nepal, they don’t necessarily travel on the flight you do.  Eventually they all arrived (the last one three hours later, by itself), and we set off for Phakding.

As soon as you turn a sharp corner out of Lukla (pictured in yesterday’s post) which is a reasonably bustling little hamlet given it is the only airport for 200 miles, you are suddenly in the middle of nowhere, and it suddenly hits you that you are high up and remote, with soaring snowy peaks high above the river alongside which we trekked.  It was a very easy start and within a few hours and after a long lazy lunch we arrrived at our lodge for the night and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and getting to know each other – after all we are all stuck together until June…

Today we rose at 6am for the climb to Namche Bazaar, known as one of the more strenuous days given the constant up and down followed by a sheer rise of 800 vertical meters to 3,500m.  It is a beautiful climb, with dramatic suspension bridges and incredible views (see photos below).

Namche itself has changed a lot since the last time I was here in 1997, with even the luxury of indoor loos in our lodge (a major improvement I can assure you…).  The sun is shining brightly and everyone is busy covering themselves with suncream as it is very harsh up here.  Since arriving, we have spent time playing with all the communications equipment and using the solar panels that will power everything.

Satellite phone is still not working – not sure why – I am starting to worry that despite its shiny new exterior it may be faulty, but the higher we go the clearer the signal and the more direct the angle the the satellite themselves (you need perfect line of sight to the South East or South West, and they need to be in the right stage of orbit etc.) – we’ll get there in the end, I hope.

Tomorrow we spend the morning in Namche and the head up to Khumjung, where most of the Sherpas on our team are from, staying in our Sirdar (Head Sherpa) Phurba Tashi’s lodge.  He is a legend in the Himalaya and in Nepal the equivalent of David Beckham over here, only difference being he is actually talented.  We will spend two days there acclimatising due to the increased altitude – rushing up is a bad idea.  Anyway, so far so good, I feel in perfect nick, for now. 

It could have been very different – yesterday on the trail, while passing a line of yaks coming down, one of the cheeky buggers decided to try and gore me in the groin with his 40cm sharp horn – he lurched left and butted me at VERY close range, which left a long scratch on my trekking trousers, but I managed to just about avoid getting skewered.  What a way to end an expedition – the Nepali version of getting run over by a milk-float.

Dramatic suspension bridge during the trek to Namche Bazar

Dramatic suspension bridge during the trek to Namche Bazar

Me in front of the Alpine Lodge with Namche Bazar in the background

Me in front of the Alpine Lodge with Namche Bazar in the background

Namche Bazar looking down valley towards Phakding and Lukla

Namche Bazar looking down valley towards Phakding and Lukla

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4 responses so far ↓

  • I am so proud of you! Really SO well done, your blog is great – I’m reading it avidly so don’t feel it is falling on deaf ears. You are such a driven and focussed person you are not only going to achieve your dreams but also enjoy the journey.

    Let me know if there is anything you need, including giving Bliss a cuddle!

    Masses of love xxxxxx

  • I am checking every day too. Why are you such a Beckham hater? You really are a bitter old queen. I bet you’re particularly annoyed he’s in Milan. That’s probably why you left for Nepal…I don’t think the timing is a coincidence.

    That photo of you in front of Namche Bazaar, with one foot in front of the other, slightly bent…not a good look. Not for someone spending the next three months with strapping kiwi men for company.

    Can I call you on your satellite phone?

  • Paul, what, no comments about the yak’s 40cm horn still failing to cause damage even at close range?!

  • as for the pose, is the altitude turning you into a thunderbirds puppet?