Introduction Preparations Itinerary Finance Links Report  
 

This section is a day-to-day account of our expedition. The return by Otto and Marja is not covered.

All elevations were measured with our own Magellan GPS receiver, except for the altitudes preceded by an ~. That means we have taken the value from other resources, such as the Internet or guide books

For more pictures please have a look in our webalbum. Unfortunately the captions are in Dutch, but you will get the drift.

0. Preparations in Kathmandu

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1. Flight to Tumlingtar and continue to Khandbari

Date 30 September 2009
Overnight Khandbari (or Khadbari)
Elevation 1040 m
Hiking hours 4 hours
Accomodation tents

The flight to Tumlingtar was short but beautiful. We could see the clouds in the mountains, far away.... In Tumlingtar we met our porters and we had a good lunch. It was quite hot when we started walking towards Khandbari. At the beginning of our walk there was not much shade and we used every shade for a short rest and a bit of cooling down. After a while the sun became weaker and we felt more comfortable. We arrived in Khandbari at almost 5.30 pm and the campsite was on a big field in the village. Shortly after we arrived our campsite was full of curious children. Making pictures of them was impossible, because they kept moving too close to the camera. That night we had dinner outside under the starry sky.

2. Across Mane Bhanjyang to Chichila

Date 1 October 2009
Overnight Chichila or Chichira
Elevation 1890 m
Hiking hours 6 hours
Accomodation tents

In the morning Ngima went back to Tumlingtar to meet the French group. We started walking at 8 and Khandbari was quite a big village with nice stairs and even a little cinema. Fortunately it was somewhat cloudy the first hour …. We kept ascending all day, so we walked slowly and made lots of pictures. Along the route there were water pumps where we could refresh ourselves. At one point Antonio even took a shower under a waterfall. After lunch and Antonio having his first leech, we had to climb up steep towards a pass on stone steps. From the pass towards Chichila we walked along a broad dirt road; there were also jeeps on this road. After a bad gambling attempt in a small village we arrived in Chichila at 4 pm. We had a nice campsite behind a lodge and the village was smaller and quieter than Khandbari.

3. Num

Date 2 October 2009
Overnight Num
Elevation 1530 m
Hiking hours 6 hours
Accomodation tents

This morning we could see Makalu: a majestic mountain! At first we walked along the road and through a couple of villages including a very smoky one. No steep parts this morning, just a ‘normal’ walk. Leaving the villages we walked through the woods. We had an early lunch near a river and it was also a good spot for refreshing. After lunch we continued walking in the forest and through a couple of small villages. From here the walk was more Nepali-flat like. We could see Num in the distance and had nice views of the surrounding hills and mountains. Arriving time in Num was 3 pm and Num was a nice village. We camped on grassland at the end of the village and at the end of the ridge. We spent the rest of the time in the village, had fun with the children and bought some coca cola for a change of flavor.

4. Down to Arun River and up to Seduwa

Date 3 October 2009
Overnight Num
Elevation 1530 m
Hiking hours 4 hours
Accomodation tents

We could see Seduwa on the hill at the other side of the river. To reach this village we first had to descend 800 meters to the river. The first part of the descent was through the rice fields which were very beautiful and very green. It went down, down, down …. After crossing the rice field we walked in the forest with nice big trees and lots of shade. Quite steep at some times and we were glad that we finally reached the bridge across the river. The clouds were gone and the sun was shining brightly, just at the moment we had to climb up ….First we had a good rest and then we went up for 800 meters. Lunch time was near some houses and we entertained the people with music on the mp3-player and Ice Age on the computer. Three resting hours and up again, through the forest. The last part there were some children from Seduwa walking with us. The camp site in Seduwa was in the upper part of the village on a nice and grassy field. That night there was a small porter party with raksi and dancing.

5. Tashigaon

Date 4 October 2009
Overnight Tashigaon
Elevation 2180 m
Hiking hours 5 hours
Accomodation tents

The route towards Tashigaon went gradually up through the woods. It was a light walk, so we took our time. We made some pictures and gave the children on the route a couple of pens. Despite the clouds the air was quite oppressive and we had some difficulties removing leeches from our legs. More clouds were coming and they were quite low, just above Tashigaon we thought. After lunch we walked Nepali-flat to Tashigaon and our campsite was of course at the upper part of Tashigaon, which was reached after a steep climb. Less than 15 minutes after arriving at the campsite it started raining cats and dogs, so we were just in time! The campsite was the home of the leeches, what was quite annoying. After dinner the rain started again and the noise of the rain tapping on the tent caused a somewhat sleepless night.

6. The big climb to Kongma

Date 5 October 2009
Overnight Kongma
Elevation 3615 m
Hiking hours 6 hours
Accomodation tea house

The ‘Chinese’ North Face tents were not quite waterproof, but overall it wasn’t so bad. The sun was shining brightly this morning and we start walking at 8. We had to gain 1400 meters today and immediately after the start the path went up and up and up. It was all stairs this day, with sometimes big steps. The walk was quite hard today and the weather didn’t help. Clouds and rain were coming and we could test our umbrellas. We arrived on a kind of ridge and there we could buy some cola and had a rest. It started to rain harder and harder, but we stayed dry under our umbrellas. The path kept ascending and we walked through beautiful woods. A herd of cows and yaks was coming down on the same path which led to some awkward passages, because the animals were quite unpredictable. The route flattened near Kongma and we arrived at 2.45 pm. Because the grass was very wet of the rain we decided to sleep inside the tea house.

7. Acclimatization in Kongma

Date 6 October 2009
Overnight Kongma
Elevation 3615 m
Hiking hours 0
Accomodation tea house

A rest day in Kongma, so we got up late and we took it easy. A short walk through the rhododendrons in the morning and in the afternoon Ngima and the French group arrived in Kongma. After a while there were also 6 Czech people coming, so it was quite busy at the dormitory. Dinner was very good like always and afterwards we discussed the route and camping places. The two maps we used were a little bit different regarding distances and places.

8. Across the Shipton-La to Dobate

Date 7 October 2009
Overnight Dobate, 30 mins before and above Mumbuk
Elevation 3850 m
Hiking hours 5½ hours
Accomodation tea house / tent

Immediately after we started walking the path went up and quite steep actually. It started raining again, so the umbrellas could be used again. We walked along some lakes and came across a couple of passes. The highest pass (about 4200 meters) was called Shipton La, but we had no view at all on the pass. It started to rain harder and harder and it was difficult to find a dry place for lunch. Finally we had lunch in a big tent near the big lake after the Shipton La. The descent from the pass was a bit unpleasant and slippery. In some places the path had become a stream. Dobate consisted of 2 small teahouses and lots of wet grass. We would actually sleep inside, but it was very smoky in the teahouse. Marja was not feeling well and the smoke made it worse, so finally we ended up sleeping in the tent. The rain didn’t stop that night …

9. Down to the Barun Valley

Date 8 October 2009
Overnight Yangle Kharka
Elevation 3650 m
Hiking hours 5½ hours
Accomodation tea house

In the morning it was still raining, but not so hard anymore … for a while at least. First we had to descend for a couple of hundred meters. We walked past Mumbuk, nothing more than a cow shed, and the descent was quite steep and slippery. Like yesterday the path had changed in a small river in some places. We descended into the Barun valley and from there we followed the river and had to cross a couple of side streams. At first these streams were small and shallow, but further on they became bigger and quite deep. You had to jump to keep your feet dry. One of the female porters slipped and fell into the water, but help was nearby and she wasn’t injured. At the biggest river crossing we took off our shoes and walked through the water on our slippers. In Yangle Kharka we first had lunch and afterwards we sat down by the fire to dry our shoes and clothes. Suddenly Ngima arrived; he had heard that it there was a chance of landslides on the way and wanted to check if we were safe. That evening Ngima played for doctor and measured the blood pressure of us and of some of the porters. Afterwards we went sleeping, warm and dry in the teahouse shop. And it had stopped raining!

10. Rest day in Yangle Kharka

Date 9 October 2009
Overnight Yangle Kharka
Elevation 3650 m
Hiking hours 0
Accomodation tea house

Today was an unscheduled rest day to dry our stuff. We got up at 7.30 and could see some snowy peaks in the distance. There was a bit of sunshine but the clouds were already coming in. Ngima told us that the people at home in Holland were a bit worried, because there were a few deaths in Nepal by avalanches and landslides. We wrote a blog to let everybody know that we were fine. After that we arranged our beds in the other building and had to put some plastic shields above the beds to avoid leaking. Before lunch we made a short walk and at that moment the French group arrived in Yangle Kharka. In the afternoon we all could wash ourselves with nice warm water in the shower tent. We did some writing and reading in the big tent and in the night we saw stars in the sky when we went to the toilet tent.

11. Langmale Kharka

Date 10 October 2009
Overnight Langmale Kharka, 10 mins above Yak Kharka
Elevation 4450 m
Hiking hours 4 hours
Accomodation tea house

We started with breakfast outside between the cows, together with the French group. There was a little bit sunshine and nice white mountains. The first part of the route was quite flat and full of beautifully colored plants and flowers. After a while we went in the forest and immediately had to climb up steeply on a very muddy path. The climb wasn’t very long and after this climb the path flattened again. The walk was quite easy today and we also took it easy. After a while it started snowing a little and this continued the rest of the walk. Fog and clouds were coming in and we couldn’t see very much anymore. But we could see a house somewhere above us and we also could see that this was the endpoint of our walk today. After arriving we warmed ourselves in the house, but later on we sat outside for a long time. We slept in the house together with the French people; there were 7 beds, just enough for both groups. It was quite cold inside (6.5 degrees Celsius), because it kept on snowing and the weather stayed bad. Otto had a bad night; after sleeping until midnight he was wide awake and had problems with his breathing.

12. Practice rope techniques in Langmale Kharka

Date 11 October 2009
Overnight Langmale Kharka
Elevation 4450 m
Hiking hours 0
Accomodation tea house

Everything was white outside and it was still cloudy and grey, but quite dry and not so cold anymore. The porters did some practicing in abseiling and jumaring and the yaks did some fighting, which was quite impressive. The three of us did also some practicing to be prepared for the passes. First we practiced jumaring, also at some steeper sections. This was not as easy as we thought it would be, because the rope was too dynamic. After this we also practiced crevasse rescue to refresh our memory on this point. Then it was lunchtime and it started raining and snowing again. We spent most of our time under the roof with talking and staring and trying to call the people in back home in Holland. We also discussed the bad weather conditions with Ngima and decided to go to Makalu BC next day.

13. Via Shersong to Makalu Base Camp

Date 12 October 2009
Overnight Makalu BC
Elevation 4840 m
Hiking hours 4½ hours
Accomodation tents

And again it was cloudy and grey: when will this be over … For Otto the walk to Makalu BC was a struggle, because he again had difficulties with his breath. Fortunately the trail rose gradually, with some short steeper parts. At first it was a white world and we made many pictures, because it was very nice, walking near the river on the rocks. Later on the route, near Sherson, there was no snow anymore. Suddenly we saw Makalu BC, but still no sign of Makalu… The French group was already in base camp, but we took it easy and made some more pictures. We had lunch in base camp and in the afternoon we went for a short walk uphill. We found ourselves a nice viewpoint and saw the first glimpses of Makalu, which towered almost 4 kilometers above us. It seemed as if the mountain was floating in the air. Back in base camp we met Rinsing, our climbing Sherpa, who had come all the way from Baruntse BC on his own and had installed the ropes. Otto had a tough night again.

14. Acclimatization in Makalu BC

Date 13 October 2009
Overnight Makalu BC
Elevation 4840 m
Hiking hours 0
Accomodation tents

In the morning our faces were swollen, which was a very strange feeling and very funny for the other people. But finally we could see Makalu in the blue (!!) sky. In the morning it was relaxing time and we dried our clothes and other stuff. After lunch we went for a walk uphill to a height of 5100 meters. The slope was quite steep and there was a big rock halfway. Otto and Antonio necessarily wanted to climb the rock. After the photo session we went further up to a ridge and another ridge and another one … The clouds were coming in again, so we walked to the last ridge and had a very nice view of the valley towards French Camp. Back in base camp we had some more time to relax. Antonio placed his therm-a-rest chair in his tent and Ngima treated a wound on Marja’s leg. After dinner we had a fierce debate with Ngima about the starting time when crossing the cols.

15. French Camp

Date 14 October 2009
Overnight French Camp, aka Moraine Camp
Elevation ~5200 m
Hiking hours 4 hours
Accomodation tents

And again the sky was totally blue: yes! The plan was to stick together with Rinsing but that was not what we wanted to do, so we slowed down and walked with just the three of us. We didn’t follow the path, but went on a small ridge to have a better view and made some nice pictures. Otto and Marja felt the height in their legs and it was quite warm ….It was difficult terrain to walk: big rocks so you had to take big steps and some of the rocks flipped over which was quite tiring. Suddenly we saw Rinsing waiting for us above us on the slope. At 1 pm we stumbled into French camp. Marja and Otto were quite tired and we all had a headache. Especially Otto felt miserable and he disappeared into his tent when it was set up, which took a while. We called our families in Holland and told them that everything was all right, despite the headaches, and that we would cross the cols the next days. Otto felt worse and worse and Ngima brought him some garlic soup, his panacea against altitude sickness. We decided that we would see how Otto was feeling next morning and that we would then make a decision whether to stay for another day or to leave for East Col camp. Otto had dinner in the tent and we all went to sleep quite early, but Otto did not sleep at all that night.

16. Towards East Col / Sherpani Col

Date 15 October 2009
Overnight East Col Camp
Elevation ~5720 m
Hiking hours 5 hours
Accomodation tents

It’s over! This morning Otto made the decision to quit. The disappointment and sadness is enormous. The work, the preparations and the training for almost one year… and to conclude that your body does not agree with this adventure….. With tears in his eyes we shared this decision with Ngima. That morning we had a short moment to decide what to do further. Marja was going back with Otto to Kathmandu. From there they would take a plane to Lukla and then do a trekking in the direction of the Ama Dablam. The plan was that Antonio would join them after the summit. There’s was little time for more considerations since this day the plan was to go to the East Col Camp. The show must go on! Suddenly Otto and Marja were not longer around and Antonio felt a bit lonely. The team agreed to have regular communication by satellite telephone between 5 and 5.30 pm.

Antonio’s condition was not optimal, he had a really nasty cold for a couple of days now and the route was quite steep. Reaching East Col Camp was not so hard. It took about 4/5 hours easy-going after a steep climb. The camp was very nice at the foot of the glacier. We pitched the tents and did some eating, basically the same drill as ever. Early sleeping because tomorrow at 4.00 hours we were going to cross the glacier.

17. Across Sherpani Col & West Col to Baruntse Base Camp

Date 16 October 2009
Overnight Baruntse BC
Elevation ~5450 m
Hiking hours 13 hours
Accomodation tents

At 4 in the morning we crossed the East Col over rocks. Serious hard working in the dark and cold. Antonio’s cold was terrible and slime was running from his nose and his throat was hurting a lot. It was a long route on the glacier and he went very slowly. His feet were freezing. The next col was the Sherpani Col and it was coming near very very very slowly.  Finally we reached the Sherpani Col and it took all the energy to cross. It was not so difficult but on this height it was fighting to get over it. With crampons it was not easy to climb on the rocks. Going down we had fixed ropes; that’s made life a little easier. After this there was the second part of the route to the West Col. Slowly reaching about 6,000 meters. Finally we could see the Baruntse in all its glory. Antonio was glad that the mountain was willing to wait. After reaching the West Col he needed a cigarette. Sitting and resting at 6,000 meters in the sun getting warm and smoking and enjoying the views.

The last part was a bit difficult; getting down from the West Col. A little frustrating was that after this crossing it was almost 3 hours to Baruntse Base Camp. It seemed endless. Ad 4.30 we arrived at the camp. This was a very long and hard day, but we managed to do it in 1 day and the weather was very nice, no accidents. Now it was time to setup base camp, rest and cook and look at the surroundings in the last hours of daylight.

18. Rest day in Baruntse BC

Date 17 October 2009
Overnight Baruntse BC
Elevation ~5450 m
Hiking hours 0
Accomodation tents

Relaxing!! It was a beautiful day. We completed the build of base camp and the of the Puja tower for the ceremony. Antonio spent some time with the expedition flag Otto has made. He missed Otto and Marja and the only person he could talk English to was Ngima and he was busy building the camp and giving instructions. Thinking about going back to the west Col to build High Camp one was not very appealing.
Then it was time for the Puja ceremony. We were offering food en asking the gods for good luck. Very colorful with all the praying flags hanging in the base camp.

Before we knew it the day was over. The discussion how to reach the summit had one central theme for Antonio: go as fast as possible so that we can continue and meet Otto & Marja.

19. Attempt to reach Camp 1

Date 18 October 2009
Overnight Baruntse BC
Elevation ~5450 m
Hiking hours unknown
Accomodation tents

Easy day! We were going to setup Camp I on the West Col. With our equipment on the back on a sunny day. Antonio’s physical condition was not so good. The cold made it difficult for him to breathe and his goal to go to the summit rapidly seemed impossible since he could hardly breathe. His throat was very painful and he could not swallow. But it turned out different; we didn’t make it to Camp I at all. We left our equipment under the West Col and decided to go back and have another rest day.

20. Rest day in Baruntse BC

Date 19 October 2009
Overnight Baruntse BC
Elevation ~5450 m
Hiking hours 0
Accomodation tents

The sky was again cloudless and it was hot. Nice day for resting. Antonio needed to learn that there was no hurry! No stress and just relax. He was thinking of Otto & Marja and hoped they had a nice time trekking. Tomorrow he would go to Camp I all the way and sleep there. With the satellite telephone we called for the weather predictions and the weather should be very nice.

21. Move to Camp 1 on West Col

Date 20 October 2009
Overnight Camp 1
Elevation ~6143 m
Hiking hours 4½ hours
Accomodation tents

Now it was time to kick some ass! We had to make it to Camp 1. Physical condition was not getting any better so it would be hard. We were faster than the day before yesterday and managed to go smoothly till the West Col. It took about 4/ 5 hours. We spent the night with three persons in a small tent. The wind was extreme. We really thought that the tent would not survive the night. We had to put extra security lines put over the tent. In short, we didn’t sleep much on 6,100 meter.

22. Move to Camp 2

Date 21 October 2009
Overnight Camp 2
Elevation ~6400 m
Hiking hours unknown
Accomodation tents

After an almost sleepless night we were moving to Camp II. It was just about 400 meters higher. It was expedition climbing so we knew the drill. Eating, lots of drinking and sleeping. Except sleeping was very difficult with the extreme wind. During the day it was alright but in the night the wind almost blew you from the mountain.

23. Summit and down to Camp 1

Date 22 October 2009
Overnight Camp 1
Elevation ~6143 m
Hiking hours 13 hours
Accomodation tents

After two sleepless nights at 6,100 and 6,500 meters we were going for the summit! At 2 am we woke up and got busy. It was really cold and at around 3 in the morning we were on our way. Slowly, very slowly. We were not alone. There was one Frenchman with a Sherpa climbing for the summit also. We were ahead but they were faster and we let them pass. The weather was excellent and when the sun broke trough it was really enjoyable (besides the lack of oxygen). Around 12.30 we were on the summit and we had a look at Mount Everest and Lhotse. We congratulated each other and made some pictures. The climb was not technical and with my two friends Ngima and Rensing it was very easy to overcome the obstacles. And there was already a fixed rope from the expedition before us we could use. Easy going!

After the summit the plan was to go back to camp I and sleep there. Terribly tired we fell asleep after some eating and drinking. As expected also this night was not for good sleeping. Tomorrow we would have luxury in our base camp!!!

24. Down to Base Camp

Date 23 October 2009
Overnight Baruntse BC
Elevation ~5450 m
Hiking hours unknown
Accomodation tents

Today for the last time the West Col. Going down with all equipment on your back was though. The walk over the glacier to Base Camp seemed endless but Antonio was a little summit high (and three sleepless nights had some influence on his time judgment) so he really went on automatic pilot. He was proud to have summited in such a short time and pleased that this part of the adventure was done and there were no accidents.

25. Clean-up Base Camp

Date 24 October 2009
Overnight Baruntse BC
Elevation ~5450 m
Hiking hours 0
Accomodation tents

Today was (of course) a rest day. Cleaning and drying all the equipment. A very special summit cake was made. We had communication with Kathmandu and Otto & Marja were in Lukla and already trekking in our direction. Also time for some physical cleaning. We boiled some water for an outdoor shower and a good shave. Antonio was excited since tomorrow we would leave Baruntse Base Camp and go for de the Amphu Lapcha Pass.

26. Towards Amphu Lapcha Pass

Date 25 October 2009
Overnight Camp below Amphu Lapcha Pass
Elevation unknown
Hiking hours 5 hours
Accomodation tents

To reach the Amphu Lapcha Pass Camp we had to work hard. We had to cross the valley. Long way down and even longer up. It took about 5 hours and the surrounding was very beautiful.
Because Antonio was a little impatient and feeling very good (except for the persistent cold) we agreed to cross this pass tomorrow and continue straight on to Chhukung. This would be a two day hike but we were going to do it in one (we also needed cigarettes so we were very motivated).

27. Across Amphu Lapcha Pass to Chukung

Date 26 October 2009
Overnight Chukung
Elevation ~4750 m
Hiking hours 11 hours
Accomodation lodge

Crossing the Amphu Lapcha Pass was magical. It took only about 3 hours to get on the top and it was a very photogenic hike. After a long walk (total 8 hours) in the valley besides the Lhotse we reached civilization: Chukung.
This village is the starting point for the Island Peak. For Antonio it was the trail to his friends and comfort. Tonight we would sleep in a room in one of the tea houses.

28. Reunion and via Pangboche to Dewoche

Date 27 October 2009
Overnight Dewoche or Deboche
Elevation ~3770 m
Hiking hours 6 hours
Accomodation lodge

Early in the morning with beautiful weather we went for  the village of Dingboche. With magnificent views at the Ama Dablam. This part of the Himalayas was also very beautiful but more crowded. After two weeks with almost no people around us, this really put us back on earth. This route is very popular. Nevertheless it was also a very beautiful route. And with the sun shining we arrived in Dingboche and started looking for Otto and Marja. It was a good reunion! Now we all could go back on this trail to Lukla and enjoy two more weeks of cultural adventures! There is a lot to see and to do besides the mountains.

29. Via Tengboche to Namche

Date 28 October 2009
Overnight Namche
Elevation ~3450 m
Hiking hours 6 hours
Accomodation lodge

30. Lukla

Date 29 October 2009
Overnight Lukla
Elevation ~2850 m
Hiking hours 8 hours
Accomodation lodge
 
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