The Himalayas or Himalaya form a mountain range in Asia separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The Himalayan range has many of the Earth’s highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest. The Himalayas include over fifty mountains exceeding 7,200 metres (23,600 ft) in elevation, including ten of the fourteen 8,000-metre peaks. By contrast, the highest peak outside Asia (Aconcagua, in the Andes) is 6,961 metres (22,838 ft) tall.
Nepalese people, I come across during my visit. It is not in any way the representative group. These are the photos I took among many others, not focusing on specific persons.
The airport is popular because Lukla is the place where most people start the climb to Mount Everest Base Camp. There are daily flights between Lukla and Kathmandu during daylight hours in good weather. Although the flying distance is short, rain commonly occurs in Lukla while the sun is shining brightly in Kathmandu. High winds, cloud cover, and changing visibility often mean flights can be delayed or the airport closed. The airport is contained within a chain link fence and patrolled by the Nepali armed police or civil police around the clock.
Namche Bazaar is popular with trekkers in the Khumbu region, especially for altitude acclimatization, and is the gateway to the high Himalaya. The town has a number of lodgings and stores catering to the needs of visitors as well as a number of internet cafés.
Most Sherpa who are in the tourism business is from the Namche area. Namche is the main trading center and hub for the Khumbu region with many Nepalese officials, a police check, post, and a bank.
Entrance to the town. If you start your hike up to the town of Namche Bazaar, you are most likely enter this gate.
SAGARMATHA NATIONAL PARK
Sagarmatha is an exceptional area with dramatic mountains, glaciers and deep valleys, dominated by Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world (8,848 m). Several rare species, such as the snow leopard and the lesser panda, are found in the park. The presence of the Sherpas, with their unique culture, adds further interest to this site.
Including the highest point on the Earth’s Surface, Mount Sagarmatha (Everest; 8,848 m) and an elevation range of 6,000 m Sagarmatha National Park (SNP) covers an area of 124,400 hectares in the Solu-Khumbu district of Nepal. An exceptional area with dramatic mountains, glaciers, deep valleys and seven peaks other than Mount Sagarmatha over 7,000 m the park is home to several rare species such as the snow leopard and the red panda. A well-known destination for mountain tourism SNP was gazetted in 1976 and with over 2,500 Sherpa people living within the park has combined nature and culture since its inception.
Sagarmatha National Parks’ superlative and exceptional natural beauty is embedded in the dramatic mountains, glaciers, deep valleys and majestic peaks including the Worlds’ highest, Mount Sagarmatha (Everest) (8,848 m.). The area is home to several rare species such as the snow leopard and the red panda. The area represents a major stage of the Earth’s evolutionary history and is one of the most geologically interesting regions in the world with high, geologically young mountains and glaciers creating awe inspiring landscapes and scenery dominated by the high peaks and corresponding deeply-incised valleys.
Let’s get back to the Himalaya trek and see the natural beauty of the magnificent mountains.
Climbers’ stone memorials
Hiking up we reached a hill where a number of memorials have been erected to those who lost their lives trying to climb the Everest and other surrounding mountain peaks.
Vast areas and enormous space. Trekking further up to 4000m above sea level. Did I mention vast areas?
Now on my way back to Namche Bazaar, I stayed overnight in the shelter near this temple. What is more important here the actual reason I was there. I was not there by choice but necessity or rather a life-threatening emergency, to be honest. More you will find at the bottom.
‘The airstrip is the closest airstrip to Mount Everest and Everest Base Camp. Typical users of this airstrip are tourists who plan on visiting a nearby hotel and going no higher and trekkers who plan on going to Namche Bazaar. The airstrip is not licensed for commercial operations and has few facilities. There are no scheduled services and most aircraft landing and departing at Syangboche are helicopters and STOL aircraft making chartered flights from Kathmandu or Lukla. The flight from Lukla to Syangboche takes between 7 and 11 minutes by helicopter. Lukla is the farthest point served by scheduled flights on the way to Mount Everest. Helicopters do fly further, and higher, up to Everest Base Camp, but only for picking up exhausted or injured mountaineers or dropping critical supplies. Without altitude acclimatisation, Syangboche is the highest point it is advisable to reach by aircraft. It is not uncommon for people visiting Syangboche to be out of breath, due to the high altitude.’
Here you have it a small description.
Khumjung (Nepali: खुम्जुंग) is a village in Khumbu Pasanglhamu rural municipality of Solukhumbu District in Province No. 1 of north-eastern Nepal. It is located in the Khumbu subregion inside Sagarmatha National Park, a world heritage site. The village is at an elevation of 3,790 metres above sea level, and is situated near Mount Khumbila. A monastery in Khumjung has a purported Yeti scalp.
This village has modern communications such as the internet and mobile and landline phones.
As of 2011, it had a population of 1912 people living in 551 individual households. Khumjung school was built by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust in 1961. The school began as two classrooms but now caters for pre-school, primary and secondary sections with over 350 students.
The village is about an hour walk from Namche – an arduous climb out of Namche, a stroll across a flat area near Shyangboche airstrip, another short climb, and then a gentle walk downhill into the village. There are no lodges on the way, so consider taking water.
Let’s cover the altitude sickness now. As an AS survivor, I try to give some real experienced advice to those who might be at risk. Remember that AS does not favor the fittest and strongest. It does not discriminate against the weakest, fattest, slowest. During my journey, I have seen young people being sick at the beginning of the trek, vomiting, shivering, but ultimately making it to the Everest Base Camp and back, in a good shape, I have seen middle-aged chubby ladies huffing and puffing halfway, sweating their socks off only to be one of the first ones to reach the Everest Base Camp. Also, I witnessed the rescue mission where two overzealous hikers underestimated the seriousness of consequences when you ignore the first symptoms. It is truly a tough decision when you almost there, after all the effort to put in organising the trip to the Himalayas. I have 500m left to ascent but your body says NO. There are no medications, no remedies to eliminate the negative, life-threatening effects of Altitude Sickness. These two trekkers made to the Everest Base Camp eventually, yes, but they were so deprived of oxygen that they passed out and had to be airlifted down to the nearest safest point. The oxygen deprivation to your body can prove fatal after days, weeks. You could finish your trip to Nepal happy jolly, return to your safe home, and collapse on the sofa. It has happened and it will happen again. Such is human nature. The decision to descent immediately after you experience the first serious symptoms is not an easy one, but it pales in comparison to the decision mountain climbers have to make 500m before reaching the summit of let’s say Lotse, Annapurna, K2, Everest. Well, I made my decision and that save my life and enabled me to climb a few more mountains somewhere else.
What actually is Altitude Sickness? Here is some info:
Altitude sickness, also called acute mountain sickness (AMS), can become a medical emergency if ignored. Age, sex or physical fitness have no bearing on your likelihood of getting altitude sickness. Symptoms of altitude sickness usually develop between 6 and 24 hours after reaching altitudes more than 3,000m (9,842 feet) above sea level. Symptoms are similar to those of a bad hangover. They include a headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, shortness of breath. The symptoms are usually worse at night. The best way to prevent altitude sickness is to travel to altitudes above 3,000m slowly. It usually takes a few days for the body to get used to a change in altitude.
You can continue going up with care once you feel fully recovered. If you don’t feel any better after 24 hours, you should go down by at least 500m (about 1,600 feet). Don’t attempt to climb again until your symptoms have completely disappeared. After 2-3 days, your body should have adjusted to the altitude and your symptoms should disappear.
What if I ignored it?
If the symptoms of altitude sickness are ignored, they can lead to life-threatening conditions affecting the brain or lungs. High altitude cerebral edema (HACE) is the swelling of the brain caused by a lack of oxygen. A person with HACE often doesn’t realise they’re ill and may insist they’re all right and want to be left alone. HACE can develop quickly over a few hours. It can be fatal if it’s not treated immediately. Dexamethasone is a steroid medication that reduces swelling of the brain. If you can’t go down immediately, dexamethasone can help relieve symptoms until it’s safe to do so. You should go to hospital as soon as possible for follow-up treatment. High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is a build-up of fluid in the lungs. The symptoms of HAPE can start to appear a few days after arrival at high altitude. It can be fatal if it’s not treated immediately.
Below is the video clip of my retreat to the climbing center shortly after I began another day of hiking up. Lack of oxygen in your blood and lungs cause you to desperately grasp for air as if you are running up the mountain, not walking a gentle path. Basically, with every step, your body requires much much more air to breathe in. The pain in your lungs becomes unbearable.
What I was saying here: “It looks like an unsuccessful attempt. Altitude Sickness eventually got me. Now it is time to descent”
That night I had suffered from diarrhea, headache, dizziness, vomiting, and a massive pain to my chest with every grasp of air a desperately tried to take. It was a scary night as I knew that the only remedy in this situation was to descent. It was dead of night and the guide next door reassured me it was always worse during night hours. Let’s wait till early morning, he advised. He got me some pills. I don’t remember the name, of brown color they were.
The next morning, I felt slightly better only to be able to think straight and decide on descending to the nearest climbing center, at least 600m below. By this time, the pain in my lungs was excruciating, every breathe I took was so precious, it counted and fully appreciated. By the way, my insurance covered helicopter rescue but I opted to climb down on my own.
On a positive note, here are photos of the highest point of my trek. 5000m. I am glad I managed to retrieve these photos, as at the time of taking it I had already suffered the most serious symptoms of AS. I don’t actually remember much from what I saw and heard up there.
The highest point of my trek – 5000m above sea level.