Brian Dickinson – Reader Blog 4
4/3/11 – This morning we got up at 3:30 and got ready for our 5am flight to Lukla. Lukla has the shortest airport in the world, which makes it one of the top ten most dangerous in the world. Pretty much if you don’t take off or land the plane quickly…it’s over. It was hectic at the Kathmandu domestic airport since everyone scrambles to get on the early flights. We had a ton of expedition gear, but our local team was there to assist. We got on the early flight, which helped reduce the stress. As we took off we climbed up over the mountains. In most areas of the world, that’s the end of the view. In Nepal it just gets started from there. We climbed over the local range and then the Himalayan range came into view. But I had to look straight up to see them, in fact they actually blended into the sky above. We were so busy looking outside that we didn’t notice the pilot was reading the newspaper with the plane stuck on our heading. I guess he does this often. Then as soon as it started we were landing on the side of a mountain. It was exciting to say the least.
We met our Sherpa crew and we’re very lucky to have a rockstar climbing Sherpa (Temba), whom has 3 Everest summits. One last year with Leif Whittaker and another with Eric Larson in the fall (first fall summit in 10 years). He’s young and very friendly..has a contagious laugh. The Sherpa people are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They are so humble and always smiling. The truly have good values. The world could learn a lot from spending a few days with them.
We trekked 5 miles into Phakding. We actually landed at 9000’ and the trek dropped us to about 8200’. The trek was a series of hills that we shared with Sherpa porters and zoks. Zoks (unsure of the spelling) are like a yak and buffalo mixed. There were a couple suspension bridges over 100+ foot cliffs and rivers. And all along the way they have prayer flags and prayer wheels for good luck. One of our trekking Sherpa’s wives made us a big lunch. They then gave Dennis and me a white silk scarf around our neck, which is meant for good luck. We will carry the flag on our packs the entire trip. We can use all the luck we can get.
We are now in Pakding and staying in a tea house lodge. In the morning we’ll be moving up the big hill to Namche. It’s great to be making progress!