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Pumori Climbing Expedition Dispatch

October 25, 2009 – Trekking Team and File Crew Are Back In Kathmandu As Climbing Team Pushes Higher on Pumori

Sara commented that this is a wistful time of our expedition. This is because the team of trekkers, climbers and filmmakers are going their separate ways as Jamie Clarke and his team work their way higher on the slopes of Pumori.

Views of Pumori and Jamie’s route from the air

Views of Pumori and Jamie’s route from the air

By 4:00 PM on Friday, Leila, Ang Temba and our main trekking group had reached their lodge next to the air strip at Lukla. Incredibly they had walked all the way to Lukla from Pumori Base Camp in only three days; that is some serious trail time. Lovinder, David, and Paul arrived tired but satisfied after a great trip.

On Friday, as Jamie’s team was pushing past Camp I on Pumori, Wally, Mike, Charlie and Aenea descended to Pheriche, where they joined Sara and Todd who had been recuperating at the relatively low elevation of 14,000ft.

Saturday was scheduled to be a big day and it turned out to be just that. Early in the morning a Dynasty Air helicopter flown by one of the best pilots in Nepal, Pemba Sherpa, flew into Pheriche. Just before the helicopter arrived, Ang Nuru, the owner of our lodge arrived at the landing zone with tea and biscuits to offer refreshments for the pilot. Ang Temba was on board the helicopter with Pemba. He had been picked up in Lukla where Pemba had to refuel after the flight from Kathmandu.

Waiting at the lodge, Mike, Aenea and Charlie had their duffel bags packed ready for their flight back to Kathmandu. But first Ken got on board with his cameras. We all scrambled quickly to get Ken loaded and ready to go to the dusty airstrip with the high gleaming peaks of the Himalaya towering above us. It was an exciting time.

Sara looked great as she prepared to continue her adventure and rejoin the Pumori climbers

Sara looked great as she prepared to

continue her adventure and rejoin

the Pumori climbers.

Forty minutes later the helicopter returned with Ken and Temba smiling on board. The clear morning had given them an exceptional opportunity to film Jamie’s mountain world from far above. While they were filming we spoke by satellite phone to Leila in Kathmandu. She informed us that her team had successfully flown from Lukla to Kathmandu and that they were headed for showers at the Yak and Yeti. Our next goal was to get Mike, Charlie, Ken and Aenea to Kathmandu as well. It took Pemba two trips back to Lukla because of the limited lift he could get in the thin air at Pheriche. He was successful and by late morning all of the trekking team had returned to Kathmandu safely.

After we got the trekkers off, Sara and I returned to the Himalayan Rescue Association clinic to speak once more with the two physicians, Jan and Rachel. It turns out that the female doctors at HRA had become great friends of Sara’s. They enjoyed having “girls’ nights” at the clinic and have very much enjoyed one another’s company. We all agreed that Sara’s situation with acclimatization had improved significantly and that it would be OK if she continued back up to Pumori base camp slowly and cautiously. Todd Craig left for Pumori base camp early in the morning and we learned by radio that he had arrived by 1:30.

Sara’s ascent will be one day slower. She spent Saturday night at a comfortable lodge in Lobuche. We all shared stories with the friends we had made from around the world: Colorado, New Zealand, England and elsewhere. The evening radio call confirmed that all is well on Pumori. Jamie, Scott and Todd will all take a rest day tomorrow. Meanwhile back in Kathmandu, all indications are that there will be no rest for the trekkers who are with Leila. Shopping with Leila in Kathmandu is a rich and rewarding experience, but no one has ever called it restful!