We shall be leaving for Nepal in a week’s time and I expect everyone is rushing around doing those last-minute things! We hope to send reports from Nepal on:
12 November – from Kathmandu after the fun run.
16 November – from Namche after the Thamo loop run
21 November – from Namche after the Gokyo trek
27 November – from Namche after the trek to Lobuche
29 November – from Namche after the race (with race results)
3 December – from Kathmandu after the prize-giving
Looking forward to seeing everyone in Nepal!
12th November, Kathmandu
Everyone has arrived safely in Kathmandu from all over the world for the 2013 Everest Marathon – from UK. USA, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil, Malta, Israel, Austrailia, New Zealand, Japan, India, and of course Nepal. Bags have been packed, and most importantly, weighed ready for the flight to Lukla early(!) tomorrow morning, and we are all ready to go!
Despite the General Strike in Kathmandu, there has still been time to enjoy ourselves with a “mini-Olympics” held in the gardens of Hotel Shanker – in fancy dress, naturally, which replaced the fun run, and an excursion the Swayambhunath Temples (Monkey Temples) and Durbar Square.
… Meanwhile, the medical team were experimenting with the Hyperbaric Chamber…
16th November – Namche Bazaar
On Wednesday brilliant weather meant that we could fly to Lukla early and get on our way to our first stop at lodges in Phakding. Next day we followed the Dudh Koshi river, through the Sagarmatha National Park gate at Jorsale to a new bridge which brought us to the steep climb to Namche Bazar. On the way, we got our first view of Everest. The 3 groups were lodged in Khumbu Lodge, Hotel Sherpa Land and Thamserku View Lodge.
On Friday, nearly everyone went to the famous Everest View Hotel where we had fantastic views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Amadablam. The afternoon was spent browsing through the fascinating shops of Namche Bazar.
This morning we jogged 3 miles out to Thamo and back, which will be the last 6 miles of the race…
Now we are going up to our first camp at Khumjung.
23rd November – Namche Bazaar
Last Saturday, after running the Thamo loop, we moved up to Khumjung (3750m) for our first of 12 nights under canvas. Next day was the long haul round the sacred mountain of Khumbiyula to Mong La (3962m) followed by a precipitous descent to lunch at Phortse Tenga. But we had to climb steeply up through the ‘frozen forest’ to Dole (4084m).
Our next stop was Machermo (4465m), three hours away, where we spent four nights for acclimatisation. Most of the group were capable of trekking to Gokyo (4791m) and climbing a snow-clad Gokyo Ri (5483m) for stupendous views of Ngozumpa glacier and the Everest panorama. A big day involving more than 1000m ascent! Sunny but cold weather allowed people to relax, wash clothes and chill out. Unfortunately there were two emergency helicopter evacuations: one for altitude sickness and one for a heart condition. This meant that we lost our expedition scribe and photographer; hence this delayed blog.
Last Friday we descended 765m via Dole and Mong La to Kangjuma, with its high-altitude bakery and colourful impeyan pheasants (the national bird of Nepal). Now we are back on the race course, with less than a week to go before the race. Tomorrow will be a hard day up the hill to Tengboche monastery.
29th November 2013
It was fabulous weather for the race yesterday and everybody is very happy. The race record was broken again by Ram Kumar Raj Bhandari and now stands at 3.40.43. Second was Bhim Bahadur Gurung (Nepalese army) who also beat the 2011 record in 3.45.20. Malcolm Attard from Malta was the first non-Nepali runner home in 13th place (5.47.22) and Caroline Watt (GB) was the first lady veteran in 24th place (7.05.19). There were 59 finishers and 7 people who were not able to complete the course.
Today is a rest day in Namche Bazaar to rest weary muscles, stoke up on yak steak and chocolate cake and do essential shopping! Tomorrow is the long walk back to Lukla and on Sunday the hairy flight to Kathmandu!
3rd December 2013
Everybody managed to fly back from Lukla to Kathmandu on Sunday. We were so early that our hotel rooms were not ready but the sunny hotel garden (next to the pool and with helpful bar staff) was a good place to wait!
On Monday there was an excursion to the Hindu temple at Pashupatinath and the huge Buddhist stupa at Bodhnath. In the evening we had our prize-giving dinner and were able to thank all those who had helped make this such a successful event.