Posts Tagged 'Nepal'

Just Talked to Wendy…

Hello everyone,

This is Trish, Wendy’s publicist.  I just got off the phone with Wendy and wanted to give you a quick update.

First and foremost, all is well.  The team has arrived at Base Camp and they’re getting settled in.  Wendy should have internet access again later today and will post a blog entry herself.  For those of you who follow Wendy’s climbs often, you probably remember that she has gotten sick every time she has gone to Nepal… Yep – you guessed it – she’s been sick again!  No worries, a course of antibiotics and she seems to be on the mend.

Dave Hahn has a pretty tight schedule laid out for the team and Wendy will really be busy for the next few weeks while they are acclimatizing and getting ready for a summit attempt.  We’ll stay in communication every few days and I’ll try to post an update for you when she is unable to.

Thanks to all of you for your support of Wendy’s mission.  Climb on!

Trish

An Update from Wendy at Base Camp… April 8th

We arrived!  And with a sigh of relief my computer is operational here at 17,500 feet.  I have written blogs along the way but posting them is another story.  The one message we as a team are getting loud and clear is that our focus should be Everest NOT technology.

With that I have been reluctant to go to the few internet cafes we have passed.   It’s a fine line and I am careful not to use poor judgement.  In additon I feel like a totally out of place person here… age, gender and my MS make me feel like a marked animal.  So my philosophy has now been to keep my head down, draw as little attention to myself as possiple and get the job done.  For those of you who know me you know just how very out of character this is and how very difficult.  Guess this too is another part of climbing Everest.

Okay here we are at the most luxurious base camp set up I have ever seen.  Our dining/common tent actually has… are you ready for this?
wall to wall carpeting, flowers on the table, napkins of various colors arranged ina big centerpiece, tablecloths and a chef to rival a five star restaurant!  I am blown away!  The work and preparation that has gone into our creature comforts commenced weeks ago in this very forsaken place yet to see it today I can only give a great deal of credit to the Sherpa and all the days of hard work that have gone into it.

Our camp is so plush that other climbers are coming to take photos of the set up!

Because sanitiation is such an issue, there are handwashing stations strategically placed along with hand sanitizer just like a public rest room.  We each have our own brand new tent.  There is a large shower facitility, showers will be assigned to days of the week with racks for clothes and personal items.  Tents for communications, storage and all our extra gear.

And food constantly!  The cook staff even wear aprons, the head chef is always in snow white.  Along one wall in the dining tent are shelves with plastic buckets containing an endless supply of games and movies, books, footballs, whiffle balls, bats everything for the long period of base camp down time.  And everything is brand spaking new.  Again, with sanitiation in mind, we have hanging baskets to put our personal items, water bottles, etc. in so that they do not get placed on the dining table.  Every last detail has been carefully planned, plotted, calculated AND carried up here on someone’s back.

We had a team meeting this morning led by Dave Hahn with an overview of the months ahead.  Base camp is cushy intentionally because the work ahead will be hard, very hard.  Not a day passes that he doesn’t remind us that this is the ‘advanced’ class.  Our focus as of today has shifted from the trek in to climbing Mt. Everest.

True to nature I once again got sick on the trek.  I never seem to be able to come to Nepal without some stomach issue.  I spent two terrible nights in Perche grateful for the attached bathroom where I spent most of the night.  But there is an American staffed medical facility there and on the third day I went to the doctor and got on antibiotics.

Although I am still feeling slightly out of sorts I am  most definately on the mend.  I was cursing the entire three days to base camp as my stomach continued to rumble.  Now with our “Wolfgang Puck”  of Sherpa chefs I am anxious to be totally improved so I can enjoy what he creates in the little stone kitchen down the hill.

More to come…

Wendy

Arrive in Deboche

April 1, 2010
12,533 ft.

Today we awoke to a blue bird sky and prepared for another day of trekking. After three nights at Namche Bazar (11,300 ft.), the team was feeling good and it was time to continue on towards Basecamp. As we hiked above Namche and wrapped around the hill side, the major peaks came into view. With the clear skies, we had magnificent views of Ama Dablam, Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse. The hiking was great and I was amazed at how well maintained the trails were. We passed many locals working on breaking rocks and stacking them into place, creating the feeling of cobblestone streets in many places. As we continued on the trail we eventually dropped down into the valley floor where we stopped and had lunch in Phungi Thanga (10,662 ft.) which Dave Hahn jovially refers to as “Funky Town”! After yet another gluttonous meal in the sunshine watching yaks, porters and trekkers go by, we decided it was time for us to continue on as well. After a river crossing on a swinging wooded style bridge, we slowly made our way uphill to Tengboche where the Tengboche Monastery is located. After resting and drinking Fanta’s, Coke and water (with some making a quick dash to the local bakery for chocolate cake!), we hiked a short distance downhill thru a Rhododendron forest to arrive in Deboche (12,533 ft.). Now in Deboche, we are staying at the Ama Dablam Garden Lodge where we will spend two nights. Once again, things have gone smoothly and everyone is having a good time and staying in good health.

Chad Peele

Last Day in Namche

RMI Update from Casey Grom…

March 31, 2010
11,500 ft.

Namaste everyone,

Today was our third and final day in wonderful Namche Bazaar. We had an early breakfast and headed out the door for a hike that was part exploring and part acclimatization. The weather was calm and clear and allowed us some of our first views of Everest and other Himalayan giants. It was breathtaking to say the least. Even though Mt. Everest is still miles away it looks really BIG! We climbed up to somewhere around 12,000′ so that’s only 17,035′ more to go.

Our adventure took us to two villages called Khunde and Khumjung. Khumjung is famous from Sir Edmond Hillary having built one of the first schools in the Khumbu Valley and their delicious bakery. Along the way we stopped off at the Everest View Hotel and had a quick drink and enjoyed the view the hotel is famous for.

Everyone is doing great and we are looking forward to moving further up the Khumbu Valley.

Casey and crew

Namaste from Namche

The little village of Namche is perched high on the steep side of a mountain. It is in layers or rings from top to bottom. The base of the village is the town entrance or gate where the steep trail is the only way in or out of the town from the bottom, another trail on the top ring leads out and higher up into the valley. We will take that trail tomorrow. Small paths of dirt and stone ring around the village leading to various homes and businesses. Both animals and people traverse these paths all day. The village really has only three sides the fourth is open to the huge mountains above and cliffs below, almost like the letter ‘U’. My tea house sits about half way up the sides of this large bowl almost in the middle of the U. From my cot next to the window I can see the mutli colored tin roofs in blue, green and rusty red. All the buildings are made of granite bricks hand cut and hand placed, the windows are trimmed in wood often intricately carved and painted either green or blue. There is a window plate of thin glass. The ground is dirt and mostly barren but despite this the view is stunningly gorgeous as these enormous snow covered mountains crown the view. The colors, sights and sounds make Namche a very special place.

I awaken to the first light although it is still very quiet outside. There is no heat in this small modest room. Two wooden beds with a thin mattress, a chair and a primitive table. It is very cold and I can see my breath. The prospect of crawling out of my warm sleeping bag is most unappealing. This I must get used to and force myself to do as this is how it will be every morning for the next two months. Because Namche is considered a metropolis by valley standards we actually have an attached bathroom and running water although it is frigid. I am assured it will get hot if I let it run awhile but the idea of getting wet has no appeal this early morning.

We assemble in the common room where we take our meals together as a team and socialize or play cards in the evening. This room has only one heat source a small cylindrical metal stove which is only lit in the late afternoon. Dried Yak dung is the fuel source. Judging by what I have seen on the trail there is an endless supply.
I am up early because we all seem to sleep a lot. Because it is so cold in the evenings everyone goes to bed early, a down sleeping bag rated to zero or less is our only heat source. So getting ten hours of sleep has becoome the norm. At dawn I quickly dress and those who want an early workout meet for a quick cup of milk tea or cofee in the common room. From there we hike up several hundred feetinto a military compund and at sunrise gain the most spectacular view of Everest, Llohste and Nupste. A really great way to start the day.

After breakfast we went on an acclimatization hike to a village about a thousand feet above Namche. It was difficult to get into the breathing pattern but once I was warmed up I had a great day high in the Himalayas. So now I am back in this funky little internet cafe, clean from a shower although I have so few clothes I am saving clean ones for later when I am really nasty. I can hear great tunes jazz, blues and yak bells and a million distractions of sights and smells. Namche Bazar, although so very primitive by what we are accustom to, has come so far even in the time I have been away. High speed internet has arrived and even here everyone is connected! I’m enjoying it while I can but tomorrow we leave Namache and head even higher.
Signing off for now.

Climb On!
Wendy

Keep on Trekking!

Can you believe it? Less than a week ago I was gutting it out at B+S Sports in Salem and today I arrived in Namche Bazar en route to Everest base camp. This quick and efficient arrival is quite contradictory as how things usually proceed once in Nepal. This time our quick progress into the Khumbu Valley has been remarkable.
I arrived in Kathmandu short one duffel. I was assured that should the errant bag not arrive most of it’s contents could be replaced in Nepal – I don’t think so! That duffel contained the mother load of American cuisine. All those little yummies that I was counting on to make my stay a little more pleasant. All I could think about was my large jar of Jiff, my swedish fish and….the gummy bears! But the bag was located- arrived 24 hours later and I was happily reacquainting myself with the contents the night before we left for Lukla.

Without so much as a hiccup we flew to Lukla and began trekking to Phakding (yes pronounce it as you may well imagine) it has taken me four trips to the Khumbu to finally write the name of this village. Now we are at 11,500 feet in the heart of the Sherpa valley in Namche Bazar one of my favorite villages along the 36 mile trek to base camp. We will be here for three nights to gain strength for this new altitude and to get stronger for the ever thinning air above. This is a bustling village full of life and commerce. The deliveries of food and necessities all arrive on the back of a human or yak and loads are constantly moving up and down the valley. I had an encounter along the trail yesterday with a wayward mule, something rarely seen around here but gaining in popularity. He came right at me so it was a duck and cover. Not something I expected to be writing about…” hey I got struck by a mule!” We both are no worse the wear but I am now the brunt of some good jokes over it. Guess it was all caught on film. All I recall was a very large red furry thing coming straight at me at what looked like tremendous speed.

I write this blog on my very own computer which is both a thrill and as most of you know, technology causes me a great deal of stress. As well it should since I am sitting in a tea house which at the moment has no electrical power (electricity is via generator, solar or hydro electric and very sketchy) not because of region’s primitive power source but because I plugged something in and single-handedly caused a black out. Need I say more?

We will be in Namche for three nights using this time to go out for hikes at higher altitudes and to rest. Our team leader Dave Hahn has reminded us and asked that we pass along in our communications that we can’t always get internet and to use our time wisely instead of stressing about communications. My focus will have to be on staying healthy and climbing and when I can write I will but from now to base camp my blogs will be infrequent. Rainier Mountaineering also has updates via their website (www.rmiguides.com) which you can also use to track our progress. They are better equipped getting information out and since my little electrical episode I had better be careful
Feeling great, loving being here and getting to know the gang I am going to be with for the next two months. I am looking forward to your emails so keep them coming! Sheryl I am waiting for the Red Sox scores once the season opens! Jeremee and Bob hold down the fort at B+S, Joyce and Terry take care of Mom, and Chris, Jeff and Alex Booker I’ll try not to do too many embarrassing things but I’m already way ahead on that so accept my apologies now.

Namaste
Wendy

Ciao Ecuador!

I think I could actually pick up Spanish, that is if I lived here long enough. I suddenly find myself actually speaking it. Or that is a form of baby Spanish? Okay. I admit… I use a great deal of charades complete with hand gestures and “sounds like”.

My stay here has gone by all too fast as I head home tomorrow. I definitely plan to return, and have a romantic itinerary planned complete with a romantic hacienda built upon Inca ruins and llamas that eat carrots out of ones mouth (how’s that for romantic? Nothing says romance more than a slobbery animal sharing a carrot or two.) Also a little horse back riding and mountain climbing, beautiful vistas and hot springs. The only piece missing is the man, but I’ll worry about that later.

After spending 11 days with 12 of them I know how a lady should be treated and my “poncho boys” treated me like a queen. You guys were great company, laughter and 8 bottles of red wine later. I thought the motto was one or none?

To RMI, I want to thank you for listening to me since I know that you put a good deal of thought into just the right personality to accompany and guide me in the mountains. Seth is wonderful and I have to commend his parents for raising such a thoughtful and honest son. To me he showed great patience, kindness and guidance. I hope I didn’t test him too much and he still is looking forward to guiding me on Everest this spring.

Time to return to home base and get ready for the holidays. I look forward to enjoying my friends and family and taking time to rest and regroup before heading back to Nepal in March.

This trip was not only to climb with RMI and get acquainted with Seth, but to experience all that is Ecuador and we certainly accomplished that. Again, it really is all about that famous, overused cliche (but I can not help but use it!). It is all about the journey, and mine started nearly 12 years ago with my diagnosis of MS. And it is ever enhanced today as I leave Ecuador taking with me a million memories.

Happy holidays to all and God bless us everyone!

Climb On!

Wendy


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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.