Archive for December, 2010
Exactly 1 year ago today I was sitting in a land-cruiser, driving north-east from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. My destination was Lhasa in Tibet, but there had been a series of Maoist uprisings across Nepal, and we had been delayed for a week waiting for the uprisings to settle down… at least to a point where are vehicle wouldn’t be set ablaze on one of the roads leading out of the city. After we caught a little luck with the rather “tense” political situation, we made a dash for the border and into Tibet, we spent seven days driving through “The Roof of The World” and directly past Everest’s northern base camp. The northern camp sits on the Tibetan side of the mountain where the Chinese government has built a paved road most of the way to the camp (though you must still earn your way in by spending at least 8 days trekking in by foot on the Nepali side). Even at base-camp, the elevation can play wicked games with your body, and I still remember the malaise, headaches, shortness of breath and spectacular diarrhea brought on at a mere 5 1/2 km above sea level. All this and I wasn’t even hiking in. Being there and experiencing what it feels like to suffer from the altitude gives me that much more respect for the men and women who make the trek up into the sky.
Yesterday I started and finished reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, start to finish completely uninterrupted. It’s Krakauers recounting of the devastating 1996 expedition to the summit of “The Saint Mother” where 8 people lost their lives. An absolutely riveting story that is all the more riveting knowing that it is not a work of fiction. Krakauer recounts the failed expedition to the best of his abilities, though he admits that some details are fuzzy at best, due to the effects of the altitude, and the blizzard of chaos that ensued.
I”m not one for writing book reviews so I’ll stop now. But if your a climber, mountaineer, or a simple armchair adventurer, I highly recommend this read.