Everest Team Is On It’s Way!

Fred and Kurt greeted upon arrival in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Kurt Wedberg and good friend of SMI Fred Simmons have embarked on their much anticipated expedition to Mt. Everest! After all the planning and preparation they had one last meal with Fred’s family in Los Angeles then boarded a Thai Airlines flight bound for Kathmandu, Nepal on March 24. We will attempt to share highlights of the journey through this blog. This is the first entry as written by Kurt Wedberg:

Our last meal with Fred's family before flying to Kathmandu.

Fred boarding our Thai Airlines flight to Kathmandu, Nepal.

Greetings from the town of Phakding at 2620m/8596′ in the Khumbu region of Nepal.  All the altitudes are in meters here.  To convert we multiply by 3.2808.

After 24+ hours of travel from LA to Kathmandu landing on March 26 we spent two nights and one day in Nepal’s capitol city making final preparations before starting our trek into Everest Base Camp. We organized our equipment into gear that will be shipped by yak directly to Base Camp and other necessities that will be used during our 11-day trek. Fred and I have tacked ourselved onto a large tea run by my good friend Eric who has been organizing Everest expeditions for many years. We will be using all their logistics and support and be able to climb on our own schedule.

On March 28 we left our hotel at 4:45am and soon were at the airport where local flights originate from (versus where the international flights go in and out of).  A bit of organized chaos ensued as we got 23 people plus 23 duffle bags through security.  Shortly after 6am we were called to our flight and boarded a Twin Otter that holds about 15 people.  We divided into two groups on separate planes and took off on the 45 minute flight that ended at the village of Lukla at 2840m/9300′ in the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal.  This airport is a trip.  The runway is angled at 11 degrees.  This helps the airplane stop on this short runway.  Upon exiting the plane there are several Nepali police officers who love blowing their whistles incessantly as we walk off the tarmac.

The first order of business was to get 23 porters matched with our 23 duffle bags.  While that was going on we took some time to have a little breakfast.  There are little bakery’s in Luka that have espresso and cinnamon rolls.  This mountaineering business is tough work!!  At 7:45am we took off on our trek.  Today was a very easy trek.  We had very little uphill mixed in with mostly downhill hence how we ended up 220 meters lower than where we started.  We took a leisurely pace and got to Phakding 3 hours after leaving Lukla.

We’re staying in tea houses.  These are little lodges that exist all up and down the Khumbu region.  They have simple bedrooms and a dining room.  The menus are pretty similar at all of them.  There are American dishes like spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, and chips (french fries to you and me).  They also have traditional Nepali food including dahl baht (rice with lentils) and momo’s, which are steamed dumplings with vegetables or meat.

For the next day of our trek we plan to hike approximately 6 hours to Namche Bazar at 3440m/11,286′. We plan to spend 3 nights here acclimatizing before trekking farther up the valley towards Everest Base Camp.

We will try to share a few photos from our journey on this blog. This may not always be possible though so we will also have them posted on the SMI Photo Gallery site here: http://www.kurtwedbergphotography.com/International-Expeditions/Everest-2012/22141785_sRN2QC

Upon arrival in Lukla we had espresso and fresh baked goodies at a local bakery before starting our trek.

Kurt at a Buddhist monument along the trekking route.

A young Sherpa watches from a distance as we trek by his home.

Fred crossing a suspension bridge over the Dudh Koshi River.

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