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Everest Photo Gallery - Drive From Kathmandu to Kharta and Trek To Everest East Kangshung Face with views of Makalu and Chomolonzo.

Everest Photo Gallery from early October 1998

1 0 Google Earth Image Of Everest Kangshung East Face Trek Here is a Google Earth image of the trek from Kharta over the Shao La, up the Kama Valley to the Everest Kangshung East base Camp, and then back to Kharta over the Langma La.

1 0 Google Earth Image Of Everest Kangshung East Face Trek

1 1 Everest And Makalu From Flight, Boudhanath From Airport, Everest Hotel And Pool As the plane from Bangkok got nearer to Kathmandu, I strained my eyes, and there was Everest, Lhotse and Makalu poking up above the clouds. As the plane taxied to the Kathmandu airport terminal, I had a view of Boudhanath in the distance. When we arrived at the Everest Hotel, I was surprised to find it was one of the best in the city and even had a beautiful swimming pool.

1 1 Everest And Makalu From Flight, Boudhanath From Airport, Everest Hotel And Pool

1 2 Kathmandu Shop Near Everest Hotel, Thamel, Dinner In Thamel I met some of my trek mates, and we decided to go to Thamel for dinner. Chris, Shane, Jan, Jerome Ryan and Ben are having dinner at KCs in Thamel.

1 2 Kathmandu Shop Near Everest Hotel, Thamel, Dinner In Thamel

2 1 Boudhanath From Nearby Rooftop Our only organized tour in Kathmandu was to Boudhanath, the largest stupa in Nepal and estimated to be about 1400 years old. To get a better view, I walked through the side streets to a hotel on a small ridge. I politely asked if I could go to the roof for some photos and they pleasantly obliged. I sat there for a while just soaking in this wonderful scene; the size of Boudhanath struck me even more so from this higher farther vantage point.

2 1 Boudhanath From Nearby Rooftop

2 2 Butcher And Kathmandu Street Scene, Reviewing Trekking Equipment I returned to the entrance to Boudhanath, and looked at the chaotic street scene, which even had a butcher's shop right on the street. I once again went to Thamel to savor the smells and sounds of this tourist ghetto. I ate a late lunch at the famous Everest Steak House; a meal of steak, French Fries and a cold beer – delicious. I returned to the Everest Hotel for our pre-trek briefing, where our Nepalese trekking guide Kumar showed us our duffel bags, sleeping bags, and down jackets, He demonstrated our portable altitude chamber to show us what we’d have to do if one of us suffered extreme altitude sickness.

2 2 Butcher And Kathmandu Street Scene, Reviewing Trekking Equipment

3 1 Bus From Kathmandu, Huge Rock On Road To Kodari, Bill Norton, Friendship Bridge And Zhangmu From Kodari A little after 7 o’clock we strolled through a light sprinkling of rain in Kathmandu to our 30-seat light blue and purple Tata bus. Our journey had officially begun! The road was generally in pretty good shape but an enormous rock blocked one spot. Kumar and the rest of the trekking crew tried to move it, but to no avail. A road worker helped us, his arm and leg muscles rippling as he used a crow bar to move the rock out of our way. Bill Norton had missed his British trekking group who were also going to the Kangshung Face and hitched a ride with us. We arrived at the few lodges making up the Nepalese border post at Kodari (1873m) just before noon. After completing formalities, I gazed up the road to the Friendship Bridge, the true border, and the Chinese town of Zhangmu (2300m) strung along a steep mountainside 11km away with pine trees on all sides.

3 1 Bus From Kathmandu, Huge Rock On Road To Kodari, Bill Norton, Friendship Bridge And Zhangmu From Kodari

3 2 Truck From Kodari To Zhangmu, Zhangmu, Nyalam, Snow Land Hotel In Nyalam Some of us laid down, while others held onto the sides of the Chinese truck that took us from Kodari through hairpin turns on an extremely rough track to Zhangmu. We arrived at the Chinese border post, met our Tibetan guide Tashi, and jumped in our Toyota Land cruisers to ascend the hairpin turns through Zhangmu and the 30km ride to the small village of Nyalam (3750m). Nyalam is small, consisting of mostly Chinese buildings situated in a gorge surrounded by gray hills. We checked in to the Snow Land Hotel.

3 2 Truck From Kodari To Zhangmu, Zhangmu, Nyalam, Snow Land Hotel In Nyalam

4 1 Milarepa Cave Near Nyalam, Shane And Jan With Tibetan Children After driving just 10km from Nyalam we stopped and walked down the hill to tour the Pelgyeling Gompa on a terrace overlooking the river. A young monk showed us around the monastery that was rebuilt in the mid 1980s after the Chinese destroyed it in 1966. We walked into the almost completely dark cave where the poet-lama Milarepa (1040-1123) spent many years of his life meditating in his thin cotton robes. Several young children from the local village ran to see what was going on, and were warmly received by both Shane and Jan.

4 1 Milarepa Cave Near Nyalam, Shane And Jan With Tibetan Children

4 2 Prayer Flags On Tong La, Lalung La, Jerome Ryan Resting At Everest Snow Leopard Guest House In Tingri We stopped briefly on the Tong La (5124m), a high broad wind-swept brown plateau contrasted with colorful prayer flags. The road drops briefly from the Tong La and ascends to the Lalung La (5050m). We continued our 150km journey to Tingri (4350m), and checked in to the Everest Snow Leopard Guest House, rectangular in design with a small entrance and an enormous inner courtyard. Jerome Ryan rested in our room, decorated in Tibetan colours.

4 2 Prayer Flags On Tong La, Lalung La, Jerome Ryan Resting At Everest Snow Leopard Guest House In Tingri

4 3 Jerome Ryan With Tingri Plain, Nomad Tent With Tingri Village, Hills Of Tingri And Cho Oyu Bathed In Evening Light Ben and Jerome Ryan hiked about two km across the Tingri Plain and climbed a small bare brown hill about 500m high. When we got to the summit, we looked out on the vast Tingri Plains criss-crossed with small rivers with the houses of Tingri tucked in below a small hill. Chris and I walked into Tingri and then back to our hotel as the sun dropped down in the sky. I spotted a nomad camped in the plain before Tingri. The setting sun brought out some beauty from the barren plains and hills with the light and shade of long shadows getting more and more yellow/red as sunset approached. The clouds parted briefly and Cho Oyu snuck out to reveal itself at sunset. Beautiful! After a hearty dinner, we slept soundly.

4 3 Jerome Ryan With Tingri Plain, Nomad Tent With Tingri Village, Hills Of Tingri And Cho Oyu Bathed In Evening Light

5 1 Chou Oyu Sunrise From Tingri, Young Boy At Tingri, Leaving Tingri, Stop At Chay The next day at Tingri dawned clear, so I walked to the highway to watch the sunrise, and followed the skyline from Everest to Gyachung Kang and Cho Oyu fully decked out in their splendid white coats above the brown of the Tingri Plain. A handsome young teenage boy carrying a Tibetan book under his arm said hello and waved to us as we drove off.  We stopped for a few minutes when our truck broke down; then continued for 49km to our turn off for Kharta. About 15 children surrounded us when we stopped at the check post at the small village called Chay.

5 1 Chou Oyu Sunrise From Tingri, Young Boy At Tingri, Leaving Tingri, Stop At Chay

5 2 Cloudy Pang La, Descend To Peruche From Chay the road followed a zigzag pattern to the Pang La pass (5250m). The famous view of Everest wasn’t to be, and with the wind and cold we quickly jumped back into our landcruisers. We descended the other side of the Pang La, and stopped for a half hour at the Peruche, a small village as the junction of the road to Kharta. I wandered around taking photos of the local people, still using horse and buggy to transport their provisions. I walked in to the local guesthouse and was quickly offered some Tibetan tea and a seat among the local people. I sat down and asked for a Pepsi, which I devoured quickly as I watched the local people drink their tea, talk and laugh heartily.

5 2 Cloudy Pang La, Descend To Peruche

5 3 Leaving Peruche On Way to Kharta, Lunch, Old Tibetan Man With His Yaks After driving from Tingri over the Pang La, we turned left at Peruche and headed towards Kharta. We stopped for lunch on a grassy field next to the Dzakaa Chu River with plenty of sheep grazing quietly. We watched as wrinkled old Tibetan man led his yaks past us.

5 3 Leaving Peruche On Way to Kharta, Lunch, Old Tibetan Man With His Yaks

5 4 Road To Kharta Crosses A River And Becomes Narrow, Kharta The road to Kharta was washed out and we had to cross with the half-metre high water flowing quickly by. We’re lucky, Kumar later told us, if it had been a little higher, we’d have had to wait until it lowered. We turned south rejoining the Phung Chu (Arun), traveling high above the river on a rough narrow track. We passed through the village of Kharta (3750m) and left the Phung Chu as it entered a gorge on its way to Nepal.

5 4 Road To Kharta Crosses A River And Becomes Narrow, Kharta

5 5 Kharta Camp, Sleeping Bags, Toilet We turned right (west) from Kharta Village and entered the Kharta Tsangpo valley with the Kharta Chu on our left. This fast moving river, milky white from glacial meltwater, flows from the Kharta Changri (7056m) and Khartaphu (7227m) mountains to the northeast of Everest.  We pulled in to a grassy spot next to the river, a spot already occupied by nine tents. Before long, tea was served and Chris and I undid our duffel bags and rested in our A-frame claustrophobic tent. The toilet was a small, but tall, blue tent with a simple hole dug about 1/4 metre into the ground.

5 5 Kharta Camp, Sleeping Bags, Toilet

5 6 Stephen Venables And Bill Norton At Lhasa Airport 1998 There was already a group of 10 British trekkers camped at Kharta Chu, led by Stephen Venables who climbed the Everest East Kangshung Face in 1988. In his group was Bill Norton, son of Edward Norton, the British mountaineer on the ill-fated 1924 British Everest Expedition. Norton attained a height of 8572m (28126 feet), an altitude record without oxygen not surpassed until 1978 by Reinhold Messner. Stephen’s wish at the end of his Everest climb had come true, as written in his book, “I hoped that I might return one day to this magical valley for a real holiday, with no commitment to high-altitude masochism, free to rock climb and explore and hunt for flowers.” This photo is from later in the trip at Lhasa Airport.

5 6 Stephen Venables And Bill Norton At Lhasa Airport 1998

5 7 Cleaning, Cooking, Dining Tent, Morning Tea I strolled over and peaked into the kitchen, which consisted of two tents joined together, and was pleasantly surprised at how clean they kept everything. All cooking utensils, pots and pans, and dishes and cutlery were meticulously washed. Pots were soon filled with soup, vegetables and hot water and cooked over two propane stoves. The large blue mess tent was quite spacious with small metal fold-up chairs for us to sit on and three fold-up tables joined together with a tatty flowery plastic tablecloth on top. We ate our dinner together in our mess tent followed by Kumar describing the next day’s activities. In the morning, Rajin woke everybody by delivering nice warm tea to their tents, followed by hot washing water.

5 7 Cleaning, Cooking, Dining Tent, Morning Tea

6 1 Jerome Ryan Climbing Above Kharta The next day the British group left, and Ben and I decided to climb the 1000m hill next to our camp. There was no track, so we scrambled up a slippery rock slope with small thorny bushes, some green, a few orange. There were occasional tall thin plants with a top covers with small yellow flowers that reminded me of the Giant Lobelia in East Africa. False summit after false summit made fun of me, and after two hours I gave up - how close I was to the top I’ll never know. I glissaded down the slippery slopes and got back to the mess tent in only 40 minutes.

6 1 Jerome Ryan Climbing Above Kharta

6 2 Yulok Village Across River From Kharta After lunch, Chris, Ben, Shane, Jan, and I decided to walk to the small village of Yulok we could see on a rise across the Kharta Chu. We passed through a few houses, which were built by piling rocks upon rocks, in a neat interlocking pattern, and topped with a flat roof with fading branches stacked on top. There were a few small windows and animal horns rested on top of the low wooden door that served as an entrance. On one side of the door was neatly cut stacked wood; on the other was yak dung stacked higher than the door, neatly patted into circular plates, drying in the sun waiting to be used as fuel. We walked across the recently harvested fields, passing shaggy goats and scraggly trees.

6 2 Yulok Village Across River From Kharta

6 3 Old Man With Whip Yulok Village Near Kharta As we walked through the Yulok village we heard a loud bullet-like sound. We veered towards the sound and found a man dressed in all gray from the hat on his head to his feet cracking a whip. He smiled warmly and Chris motioned for him to demonstrate his whipping technique while we took photos. He obliged and laughed heartily as he expertly snapped the whip a couple of times. I patted him on the back as we waved goodbye.

6 3 Old Man With Whip Yulok Village Near Kharta

6 4 Children At Yulok Village Near Kharta A young girl and four younger boys from the Yulok village ran down the hill to stare at us. The boys wore dirty tattered western style clothing, while the girl wore traditional Tibetan clothing, except for their cheap Chinese green sneakers.

6 4 Children At Yulok Village Near Kharta

6 5 Children From Yulok Village Crowd Around Book At Kharta Camp The children followed us all the way back to our camp, staying a couple of metres behind us. When we got back to the camp, Kumar brought out a book with photos and they eagerly crowded around turning each page with anticipation. I noticed that the older girl wore an animal hide on her back, connected with small strings to the large metal belt on the front.

6 5 Children From Yulok Village Crowd Around Book At Kharta Camp

6 6 Egg Lady And Yak Herders At Kharta Our Tibetan Yak Herders and a woman Chris would later nickname “The Egg Lady” had arrived at our Kharta Chu Camp.

6 6 Egg Lady And Yak Herders At Kharta

7 1 Yak Herders Getting Loads Ready I watched as the different loads were put together. The lead yak herder lifted each one and spoke to Tashi who told Kumar to redistribute the weight. After fifteen minutes, all was ready. Tashi assigned a small stiff piece of paper to each load, turned around and mixed up the paper, and randomly handed them out to each yak herder. It looked like a great way to ensure fair play.

7 1 Yak Herders Getting Loads Ready

7 2 Trek From Kharta In Rain, Jerome Ryan Getting Cold At Lunch Stop The weather was overcast with low-lying fog and light drizzle. I didn’t have a raincoat since I hadn’t expected any rain on the trek, so I took a green garbage bag, ripped a hole for my arms, and put it on. Ram led the way as we strolled up the jeep track and after half an hour crossed the river on a log bridge After two hours, he stopped us to have our ‘bag lunch’: a jam sandwich, two hard-boiled eggs, and a few cookies. I don’t think any of us finished this bland lunch. Ram wanted to wait for Kumar to catch up, so we lazed around, getting colder and colder in the damp weather.

7 2 Trek From Kharta In Rain, Jerome Ryan Getting Cold At Lunch Stop

7 3 Talk To Tibetan Boys, Camp At Dhampu, Yak Herders Sleeping Area Two boys from an unseen village wandered up to see us at our lunch stop. We immediately offered them our left over lunches, which they eagerly accepted and put into their small bag. Shane got out her Tibetan phrase book and spoke to them. They were surprised at this foreigner speaking their language and they laughed. The trek was only slightly more difficult as we turned left and started our ascent of the Shao La (5030m). After an hour, Ram stopped us again and we just stood around waiting for Kumar and the yak herders. When Kumar arrived, he said this was Dhampu (4300m), where we were going to camp. The seven yaks rounded the corner with their bells tinkling, being led by the six yak herders who also carried some of our things. We crossed a small stream and Ram and crew quickly set up out tents and served us tea and cookies. The Tibetans set their camp just beyond sight of our tent. They set up two wooden poles about a metre high and hung a striped tarpaulin between them. They hung a second piece of material to close the far end and put their provisions there; the other side was open to the elements.

7 3 Talk To Tibetan Boys, Camp At Dhampu, Yak Herders Sleeping Area

8 1 Outside Mess Tent At Dhampu After Theft As I drank my tea the next morning, I heard Shane cursing profusely. “Those bastards, they stole my hiking boots, my Gore-Tex jacket, and even my Tibetan phrase book.” She was fuming, and quite rightly so. “I left them in the vestibule of my tent which was zipped up. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it”. Tashi walked over and Shane went through what was stolen. Kumar and Tashi then walked to the other tents to see if anything else was stolen. Gerhardt and Valerie weren’t so lucky; he lost his Gore-Tex jacket while she had her hiking boots stolen. Kumar walked back to Shane and Valerie and told them it probably was the local villagers, and that nothing could be done. He asked them if we needed to go back to Kharta to try and find new shoes, but luckily both Shane and Valerie had running shoes.

8 1 Outside Mess Tent At Dhampu After Theft

8 2 Trek From Dhampu To Camp Before Shao La The sun came out briefly and warmed our jangly nerves, but then it started to drizzle again as we hiked towards the Shao La. A Tibetan couple coming down from the Shao La carrying large logs stopped and chatted with one of the our yak herders, sharing some rakshi. We continued climbing towards our camp on the shores of a lake just below the Shao La.

8 2 Trek From Dhampu To Camp Before Shao La

8 3 Very Strong Egg Lady Our Tibetan woman was effortlessly carrying a metre high box in a metal carrying container. When we stopped for a rest, she stopped too. We asked Kumar what was in the box she was carrying, and he told us, “Eggs.” Immediately Chris nicknamed her “The Egg Lady”. Chris used sign language to ask the Egg Lady if he could try lifting her load, and she smiled yes. He strained with all his strength but could just barely lift it off the ground, yet alone put it on his back and hike with us. “Man, that thing weighs a ton; she’s amazingly strong!” Chris said. He smiled back to the Egg Lady acknowledging her strength.

8 3 Very Strong Egg Lady

9 1 Camp Below Shao La, First Glimpse Of Chomolonzo, Jerome Ryan Near Shao La We stopped in the early afternoon and set up camp (4700m) on the shores of a lake just below the Shao La. The next morning the sun briefly broke through with a view of Chomolonzo above the Shao La. We continued our ascent as the difficulty increased with the higher altitude. Jerome Ryan nears the Shao La with the lake of our camp the previous night below.

9 1 Camp Below Shao La, First Glimpse Of Chomolonzo, Jerome Ryan Near Shao La

9 2 Jerome Ryan On Shao La With Makalu And Chomolonzo After two hours, Jerome Ryan arrived at the chorten identifying the Shao La pass (5030m). The weather was overcast, but occasionally a little bit of blue sky snuck through. Kumar told us we’d have lunch just below the pass, and from there to our camp would only take another one to one and a half hours. We stayed at the pass and eventually the Makalu North Face and Chomolonzo started to peak out from the clouds.

9 2 Jerome Ryan On Shao La With Makalu And Chomolonzo

9 3 Makalu North Face From Shao La In Tibet Makalu’s knife-edge northeast ridge looked imposing from the Shao La, but this was the final stage of the first ascent by the French in 1955. Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy (both members of the French ascent of Annapurna in 1950) climbed from the Makalu La, across and up the north face, reaching the summit on May 15th.

9 3 Makalu North Face From Shao La In Tibet

9 4 Descend In Rain From Shao La To Joksam Camp The entire party, trekkers, Nepalese and Tibetans had lunch together just below the Shao La. Jerome Ryan put his garbage bag back on and descended the steep hillside, made fairly slippery from the drizzle. At the bottom, the drizzle turned into rain and I quickened my pace, walking down a broad valley with low-lying grass and scrubs. I had to constantly jump from rock to rock to avoid the small rivulets of water that flowed haphazardly through the valley. With the Joksam campsite in view, I soon came to the last hazard of the day, a ten metre wide river with occasional boulders and pieces of wood sticking up from the water to aid our crossing.

9 4 Descend In Rain From Shao La To Joksam Camp

9 5 Idyllic Joksam Camp On Trek From Kharta To Everest Kangshung East Face We soon came to our idyllic campsite at a place called Joksam (4000m), our tents mirrored in the slow moving river beneath a hill forested with green trees.

9 5 Idyllic Joksam Camp On Trek From Kharta To Everest Kangshung East Face

9 6 Campfire At Joksam Camp Although normally trekking groups aren’t allowed to have fires, Kumar asked Ram and Rajin to start one so we could dry out our wet clothing. The raging fire spat high into the air as we put our boots, socks and jackets near the fire. Tibetans joined us near the fire and we smiled to each other in this beautiful setting, with memories of our thefts receding from our memories. The leader of the yak herders started to sing a song, and was soon joined in by the rest of the Tibetans. We all applauded wildly as they finished. Rajin sang an Indian pop song with great feeling. Now this is what traveling is all about, I thought, meeting the local people at close distance and seeing glimpses of their lives and culture. Before long we were singing too, ending with a rousing rendition of New York, New York. The fire started to die and we all filed slowly back to our sleeping bags, happy with our multicultural performances. These happy feelings weren’t to last for very long.

9 6 Campfire At Joksam Camp

10 1 Egg Lady and Yak Herders Fixing Yak Loads The next day we ascended about 400m through the forest behind our tents and reached a high plateau with small lakes and streams high in the Kama Valley.

10 1 Egg Lady and Yak Herders Fixing Yak Loads

10 2 First Glimpse Of Everest East Kangshung Face After Leaving Joksam Camp We stopped to rest when I looked to the west and saw my first glimpse of the enormous snowbound Kangshung East Face of Everest sticking up above a black mountain. I recognized it from the many photos in Stephen Venables book, and I identified the South Col, the South Summit, the Hillary Step and the summit for the rest of the group.

10 2 First Glimpse Of Everest East Kangshung Face After Leaving Joksam Camp

10 3 My Crew To Everest Kangshung East Face - Tashi, Ram, Purna, Kumar, Rajin, Phurba We continued over a couple of ridges and had lunch while we waited for the Tibetans to catch up. I took photos of our crew: Tibetan guide Tashi, Ram, Purna, Nepalese guide Kumar, Rajin, and Phurba.

10 3 My Crew To Everest Kangshung East Face - Tashi, Ram, Purna, Kumar, Rajin, Phurba

10 4 Tashi Negotiating With Yak Herders When the yak herders arrived, we just sat there for half an hour not moving at all. The Tibetans wanted to make camp right where we were, while the rest of us wanted to move farther. The warm feeling of the night before vanished as we insisted to keep trekking. Tashi implored the Tibetans to move, and after another ten minutes of haggling they agreed.

10 4 Tashi Negotiating With Yak Herders

10 5 Trekking To Camp, Clouds Cover Everest Kangshung East Face From Above Camp The Yak herders led the way for another hour before dropping our luggage and sending the yaks off to graze. We had no choice; this was camp for the night. Clouds continued to cover Everest.

10 5 Trekking To Camp, Clouds Cover Everest Kangshung East Face From Above Camp

11 1 Trekking Towards Everest Kangshung east Face, Jerome Ryan Lunch The next morning once again dawned overcast and we continued our trek high above the Kama Chu. Ram and Rajin had to help us cross a two-metre stream on a log balanced on rocks on the two sides. From high on the ridge we could see down to a plateau just above the river called Pethang Ringmo (4550m), with the Kangdoshung Glacier on the left joining the Kangshung Glacier. I sat down alone and had some lunch.

11 1 Trekking Towards Everest Kangshung east Face, Jerome Ryan Lunch