We are in Nepal at 2800 metres in the beautiful and green hill village of Puiyan, on the trail to 6500 metre high Mount Mera, with a group of 6 members from Australia. Our trek is dedicated to the Australian Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. He will be missed, and we send our condolences to his family. This group of Australians I am with are from New South Wales.
We are in Pangoma village in Nepal, at 2850 metres. I am with a group of 6 members from New South Wales in Australia. Our trek is dedicated to the dearly departed Australian Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. He will be missed, and we send our condolences to his family.
Its the third day of our trek to 6500 metre Mera Peak, and today was a stunning day of walking through huge forests of rhododendron, evergreen oak trees and tiny villages on steep slopes. This afternoon we were "blessed" by a storm of hail mixed with rain. Hopefully tomorrow will bring fair weather.
Here are the photo of our trip.
PA190454: Local kids goofing for the camera in Puiyan, just beofre going to school.
PA190456: Kristen Murray, Stuart Murray's daughter, enjoying the view at a break along the trail.
PA190457: Ferro watches while Stuart takes a photo of our staff Bir Kaji Shrestha and leader Rajan Thapa crossing a bridge over a waterfall in the background of the photo.
PA190459: A farmer in Pangoma plowing his fields with oxen.
PA190460: Today is Tihar, a multi-day Hindu festival. The Pangoma kids turned out in force for dancing and singing.
Any news on the possibility of our team members families being able to watch the team's progress on the internet?
Thanks again for all of your help! -Dan
Our trekking team has arrived at Chanbu Kharka in Nepal at 4200 metres. Its cool with a light breeze. There is plenty of snow about. We are camped in a large valley with 5 crystalline lakes surrounded by high and jagged snowy-rocky peaks. We had to cross a series of 4500 metre high passes in a snow blizzard to arrive in this idyllic valley. It has been raining and snowing (up high) off and on for four days. I would say its unusually wintery this year. Hopefully the weather will break and we will have some more sunshine as we approach our destination: 6500 metre Mera peak. Our team of 6 Australians and 18 staff and little old me seem to be in good spirits so far. Wish us luck!
Here are the photos:
At 2850 metre high Pangom, we had a lovely Budddhist blessing
ceremony. Herre is the view from the temple.
Ferro receives a blessing from the Buddhist Monks in Pangom.
Apprentice monks studying their prayer books in Pangom.
Giant Incense burner in Pangom.
Crossing a bridge over the Hingku Khola River.
Snowy camp at 3600 metre Chulim Kharka.
Walking down to 4200 metre Chanbu Kharka.
Today our trekking team is at Tangnag, elevation 4400 metres, or 14,432 feet. Since I last wrote on the 23rd, the snow lifted a bit and we were able to cross some more 4500 metre high passes completely pasted in snow, to descend into the beautiful Hinku Valley.
This was an exciting pass crossing to be sure, with rocky peaks encrusted in snow surrounding us as if we were in the jaws of adragon. The trail dropped us unto the valley floor at 3300 metres, so we lost over a kilometre of elevation in a very short stretch. The snow packed trail was quite slick and the porters were scared. Our climbing Sherpas Tashi and Bir Kaji were extremely attentive to everyone's safety, cutting steps in the slippery trail. Rajan Thapa, our trek leader supervised our descent perfectly. That night we stayed along the Hinku Khola River at Kote village and warmed ourselves in a comfortable teahouse.
The following morning we were required to pay a "travel permission fee" to the local political group that control this region: "The Kirat Autonomous Republican Government". It kind of reminds me of the medieval city-states of Europe around here with different valleys having their own seperate governments. Nevertheless, the charge was not that high, and the gentleman who took our money was very polite and even let us take his photo. Afterwards, we began our walk and enjoyed perhaps the loveliest day of our trek yet, strolling along gentle trails in the sunshine through Juniper, Rhododendron, Heather and Ephedra clad meadows along the Hinku River, beneath the towering summits of Choure, Gonghla, and the Mera Himal.
At one point a massive raptor which is a sort of eagle, know as a "Lammergeier" soared just over our heads, and we took it as a sign to stop in a grassy pasture to eat lunch and bathe in the Autumn sun's rays.
Later in the day,we visited a remote monastery shrine in a cave and received the blessings of the local Llama, who lived next to granite like a hermit, and put on an impressive performance for us, chanting, banging a drum, blowing a conchshell, and lighting butter lamps. Open our departure, he gave us each a finescarf, and we felt blessed indeed.
Today we are taking a rest day in the village of Tangnag, elevation 4400 metres, or 14,432 feet. We are on the valley wall to the side of a massive great flood plain littered with housesized granite boulders, which was created six years ago when the ice dam on a large glacial lake "Sabai Tso" burst and scattered the contents of the valley about like popcorn. Hope it doesn't happen again anytime soon!
Well, its time to sign off now, as its snowing again and our solar batteries are waning.
Best wishes to all of our loved ones, family,friends and colleagues, from Dan Mazur and all of us at SummitClimb.com
Ian Toop, a friend of the group, who unfortunately could not join us, has made a special request that today's update and our Australian team's climb to the summit be dedicated to Sue Fear, the famous Australian climber, who passed away in a terrible climbing tragedy this summer.
Well, I am writing from 5000 metre, 16,400 foot high Kare (pronouncedKahr-ahy). Its currently 3:30 pm, cloudy and snowing. Our team returned here late yesterday after reaching the 6400 metre, 21,000 foot high summit of Mera Peak at 10:15 am on 30 October.
On 29 October, we walked from Kare to Mera Peak high camp at 5700 metres, 18,700 feet. It was a tough walk. Sadly, one of our members, Pete Dunn, felt very short of breath and determined to descend to Kare in the company of Phurba Bahadur Bikka, rather than continue on. The remainder of our group spent a rough night with little sleep in the cold and windy high camp, arising at 1:00 am on the 30th, to be presented with hot drinks and fresh bread by our trusty cook Dawa, and then began to try for the summit.
It was very cold and difficult going as our little group ascended the peak, and the sun's bright morning rays were very welcome at 6:30 am, as we continued plodding up the trail. By 9:30 am, we reached the final summit snow dome and Tashi, our trusty climbing Sherpa, fixed 100 metres of rope for us to ascend the final snow pitch. Mera Summit, which can be icy at times, was exceptionally snowy this year after this season's late monsoon had deposited a fresh metre of snow.
Once atop 6400 metre, 21,000 foot high Mera Peak, we all hugged and took photos, tying our prayer scarves to the summit flags as a way of saying thanks to the powers that be for our lucky ascent. Indeed, teams the day before and after us suffered frostbite and storms that stopped their progress, so we were certainly blessed. We stood in silence in the light breeze, under cloudless blue skies and bright sun and stared at the incredible views of Everest and all of hersister mountains, and out across the vast reaches of Nepal, Tibet, and India.
As we stood there, we thought of our families and loved ones at home, of our friends and colleagues and sponsors.
We send our regards, love, thanks, and best wishes to all! Thank you very much, from Dan Mazur and all of us at SummitClimb.
Today I am writing you from 3500 meter, 11,500 foot high Namche Bazaar in Nepal, close to Mount Everest. The weather is sunny today up here in Sherpa land.
Our team is just finishing a challenging climb of Mera Peak and atricky crossing of the famous Amphu Labtsa pass, just 6 kilometers, 4 miles from Mount Everest. Our climb is dedicated to Steve Irwin, Australian Crocodile Hunter and Sue Fear, the first Australian woman on Everest, who passed away in a tragic climbing accident this year.
Apparently a porter from another team a few days before our team crossed this year fell and suffered a head injury and was evacuated by helicopter. May God help him.
We took extra care with our porters to ensure their safety, so they can return to the comfort of their families.More news coming soon. We have a 20 kilometer, 12 mile walk ahead of us this afternoon, going down to Lukla, where we plan to fly from, back to Kathmandu tomorrow.
PEACE IN OUR TIME
Today is a sunny, lucky, and peaceful day in warm, dry, and quiet Kathmandu, as the 7 Nepalese political parties have agreed to let the formerly dreaded "Maoists" join the election process. The elections are to be held in April.
In return, the"Maoists" have agreed to keep their weapons locked up in a secure facility guarded by UN troops. The Nepalese army has agreed to lock up the same number of their own weapons, also guarded by UN troops.
Today you could see the smiles of hope on local people's faces as everyone came out on the street and walked around with their families and children. They huddled in small groups to read the newspaper, which carried the oversized headline:"PEACE IN OUR TIME".
It might be a big step for democracy in Nepal. Lets see if it sticks.
Well, in the next few days, we are going to set off on our annual mission to evaluate the health clinic being built by www.MountEverestFoundation.org . It should be interesting to check in with how things are doing at the clinic, which is 4 days travel by bus and foot from Kathmandu.
We are going to dedicate our report to the 4000 poverty-stricken farm families who live in the valley where the clinic islocated. 1 out of 5 of their children used to die before age 5. We have seen their chances improved by measures being taken by the clinic. We shall strive to continue to do our best by providing health care and education for these struggling farmers, so they can stay and work their lands, rather thanmigrating to the teaming unemployed slums of Kathmandu. Nepal ithe 12th poorest country in the world and the poorest country in Asia.