Stikkordarkiv: Everest

Turning the expedition into relief work, Part 2

Turning the Everest – Lhotse Expedition into Earthquake relief work, Part 2

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I have been involved in projects in Helambu, Gorkha and Sindhulphalchok with Hillary Relief Collective, Karmaflights and my own private initiative.
The shelter project for Kutumsang (and surrounding areas) which is one of my own projects, is still ongoing. Supplies have been purchased with the money you my friends have been so generous to donate.
I am humbled and impressed with the generosity of those who have supported our efforts.
Thank you! Tusen takk! Danke! Grazie! Gracias!

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Her are some of the stories and how it all started.

After helping my team’s sherpas and porters cleaning up in Base Camp, I started my walk down the Khumbu Valley to Lukla. On my way I saw minor destructions. Luckily there were not many buildings totally destroyed. Some just needed a lot of repair. I stopped in Pengboche and visited our beloved sherpa Kami and his family. Luckily his house had only minor damage at second floor. I also visited a family who my dear climbing friends Andrea and Karl are supporting their son with education and work. I decided to support his sister: so now I am proudly paying for her next 5 years of school.

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After a couple of days in Namche Bazar Andrea, Karl and I literally ran down to Lukla to catch a plain to Kathmandu. We heard a lot about how it might be in Kathmandu, but to my surprise it was not so different from before. I only saw some buildings totally collapsed. But many stores were closed and the city was very quiet. And people had moved out, living under tarps in their gardens or at all open spaces in town.

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The people in the streets had changed from climbers, trekkers and other tourists to aid workers. We gathered at some hostels and some coffee shops and discussed how to help in the most efficient way.

I very quickly understood that I had to go out in the field. I volunteered for Hillary Relief Collective and Karmaflights and went out to the Helambu province where we established our FOB (forward operation base) in Timbu.
The first days were focused on delivering out needed food and materials such as rice, oil, blankets and tarps.

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Then we went on 3 days patrols to spread the word where everyone could come to collect what they urgently needed. And people were coming form a far. Some walked for days, and carried sacks of rice with them home, – with a big smile and a warm «thank you»

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At one of the 3 days patrols I went on, I came to Kutumsang. What I saw there, and on my way up to Kutumsang, was massive destructions. All buildings were totally collapsed. Brave families had tried to save as much as they could and had started sorting out the rubble. They are amazing in their ability to continue their lives and look forward!

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The 7th of May I celebrated my birthday under a tarp with a kitten on my lap and a warm cup of nepali tea in my hand, surrounded by wonderful people. I will never forget this birthday.

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The 12th of May was another strange day:
We had just closed our distribution-room to take a lunch break and were heading back to our little tent camp. We had only walked 20 meters when the ground started shaking. And this was not tremors or aftershocks. A new earthquake had hit Nepal hard.
I had to grab some kids trying to run into their houses to seek for their parents. I hold them tight while they were screaming. We were surrounded by collapsing buildings. Around us and high up in the hillside we could just watch the dust clouds rising from collapsing houses and huge landslides.

We gathered in our tent camp and set our strategy; we couldn’t get hold of a group of our own volunteer who had left for Kathmandu only 30 minutes before the earthquake, so we sent out a patrol to check the road. Later we got news they had safely arrived Kathmandu.
Then our little Aid Post got busy: a 67 year old man was carried down to us. He had broken off humerus (upper arm bone) and torn off his brachial artery. We had to act fast. I was working together with a nepali doctor and a nurse from US. We managed to control his bleeding until we finally got him helicoptered out after 2 hours. Later we got news that he had survived and were in good conditions at the hospital.

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We continued our work out in Timbu, and delivered out both food, hygiene articles, mattresses and clothes, but now it shifted to also deliver out materials to rebuild, such as hammer, nails and corrugated steel.
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Then I headed back to Kathmndu, but only for a couple of days to get a proper shower and do some laundry. Then I headed out on my next project: out to the epicentre in Gorkha. And what awaited me there can not be described in words. Everything was rubble, nothing was left standing….not a single thing, not even a stable or an outhouse.
We were welcomed with open arms, big smiles and several cups of tea. I stayed for some days making sure supply arrived and starting building temporary shelters together with the villagers before heading out for the next village, and the next village, and then the next school and the next health post….
This were really busy times, trying to get the maximum out of my time and the materials we managed to provide.

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At one of the villages I managed to get a bad stomach infection and had to get back to Kathmandu for a couple of days rest (and easy access to toilet). Then I headed out again for more rebuilding projects. This time back to Helambu and Kutumsang. Here I started my own projects with invaluable help from Laki. He and his family who lives in Kutumsang has become my family over here. The only thing missing is my nepali language skills…..working on it :)

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In Helambu we started building temporary shelters for the health post in cooperation with my dear friend Lizzy. Then we continued with facilitating building temporary shelters for 5 different schools, one more health post and 5 villages. I got fantastic help from Sudip, Kashmir and Mewack; 3 engineer students from Kathmandu. And how did we manage; well we got the materials and tools out there, the villagers came walking, some 3 to 4 hours walk, to learn how to build and to carry home the materials. Laki has been following up on these projects all the time, running from village to village providing me with reports and photos. And the results are so rewarding to see. If it wasn’t for this effort, approximately 800 children would have been without any school, 7000 villagers would have been without any health post and 250 villagers would have been without proper shelter.

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My last project before leaving Nepal after more then 3 months work, was with Remote Access Operation (RAO) for World Food Program (WFP). They needed mountaineers to help getting supplies into remote areas that were cut off by landslides due to the earthquake.
I worked together with the local mule drivers to open the Larke Pass at 5100m to get rice and oil over the pass and into the remote areas in upper Gorkha. These villages have normally supply carried in by 1000 mules – daily! Now they were totally cut off. We had to work on the pass for 3 weeks before it was possible to start the mule trains going over the Larke Pass supplying 20000 households with 65 tons of rice.

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At the last little village I visited at the other side of Larke Pass, I found Pemba; a low-cast man who was paralysed and just waiting to die. He was a father of 7 and his wife was pregnant with their 8th child. I could see right away that this man needed to be evacuated and with the great help from Isabella Messanger and her organisation KarmaFlights, we managed to helicopter him out the same afternoon. And I am so happy to tell you that his wife gave born to a perfect little baby girl 5 days after Pemba got evacuated. And now 2 months later, Pemba is ready to go home to his family and see his daughter for the first time.

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As of mid August 2015, over 390 aftershocks have occurred.

I returned back to Norway but not for long. And now I am back in Nepal to continue the work with all this different projects that we started before the monsoon.

My last expedition to Khan Tengri was dedicated to support our earthquake affected brothers and sisters in Nepal.
Stay tuned here to see my updates from my work in Nepal and from my Khan Tengri Expedition.

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Take care of your self – and others!
Vibs / Team Jentesport

Everest-Lhotse Expedition 2015: BC daily life and the plan

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Everest Base Camp: Our daily life and preparations for the climb

It is just so wonderful to be here in Base Camp. Now we have changed mode totally: from our hike up the valley to our upcoming climb of the mountains. All «summer-clothes» and hiking-equipment are packed away, and our climbing gear are the closest to us now.

I have moved in to my home for the next 6 – 7 weeks. My little tent is nicely organized and decorated with prayer flags with my best wishes for my friends and family written on them; waving and sending good wishes with the wind.

We have set up a plan looking like this:

APRIL
15th: Pudja Ceremony
16th: Training
17th: Training
18th: Remembrance day for the big accident last year
19th: Training
20th: Climb to the first ladder in the Khumbu Icefall
21st: Rest in EBC
22nd: Move to Camp 1 (C1)
23rd: Rest in C1
24th: Climb to Camp 2 (C2)
25th: Rest in C2
26th: Descend to Everest Base Camp (EBC)
27th – 30th: Rest in EBC

MAY
1st: Climb to C2
2nd: Rest in C2
3rd: Climb to Camp 3, touch and descend to C2
4th: Descend to EBC
5th – 9th: Rest below EBC
10th: Arrive EBC again
11th: Rest in EBC
12th: Climb to C2
13th: Rest in C2
14th: Climb to Camp 3
15th: Climb to Camp 4
16th: Rest in Camp 4
17th: Summit :) :)

So this is the plan, but as you all know; all plans are made to fail at first try….No we do not hope so, but we have had a lot of snow the last days, and we have heard that there will be another weather system coming in. So we will be waiting out the weather if it is too bad. I will keep you posted on our progression.

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But first let me tell you about our life in Base Camp. We start our day every morning with breakfast at 8am, after breakfast we get some time to check internet (if it is up running) and «dress up» for the ice; that means getting our climbing gear on, such as big boots,harness, crampons, helmet, ice axe. Then we head out to the ice 5 minutes walk from our tents.

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As you all probably know Everest Base Camp is built on the Khumbu Glacier. That means, the glacier moving all the time and the camps have to be built up from the bottom every year. And we are actually living on the glacier. So our training area is right on our «doorstep». In the ice our sherpa team have set up different obstacles; ladders in different angles and ropes on steep ice walls. We practice here so that our transitions and different problem solving will go automatically when we are up in the Khumbu Icefall and on the mountain.

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After some good hours training we go back to camp and our delicious lunch at 1pm. After lunch we normally have the time off until dinner at 6:30pm. In this spare time there is always some equipment to do improvement on, some emails to send, some pictures to transfer, a shower (bucket shower) to take or last but not least a lot of very good friends to visit. It is like a happy good family living here in EBC at the Khumbu glacier.

But the EBC is big, it will take me approximately 45 minutes to walk from one end to another. It is like a little city of tents this year housing 375 climbers and an equal amount of sherpas, and not to forget the staff (such as kitchen staff) supporting all the teams here. So it is pretty amazing to walk around Base Camp and meet all the people here and see all the impressive work been done constructing this Base Camp.

Life goes on here in Base Camp and in some camps the day ends with a movie night or with a good game of yatzi.

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We now plan for our first move up the mountain. Tomorrow Monday the 20th we will make our first move towards the Khumbu Icefall. We will do a climb of approximately 3 hours and return to our home here in EBC before we Thursday the 23rd will move up to Camp 1 above the icefall at 5800m. And if all goes well we will try to have two nights in C1 and 2 nights in C2 at 6300m before we return to EBC (5300m) the 27th.

/ Vibs
Team Jentesport

 

Everest-Lhotse Expedition 2015: Journey to Everest BC

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My journey from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp

Snowy morning in BC. I can’t believe we have been in Base Camp already 3 days…well, in a way it also seems like we have been here forever.
So, what has happen since I left Kathmandu (and left kind of reliable internet and connection to the world?..)?
We have had a fantastic hike up the Khumbu Valley. First we flew into Lukla, a very short flight 40 minutes from Kathmandu with a lot of turbulence and a scary landing which I all missed cause I slept through it. We had breakfast next to the airfield before we headed out into our adventure towards Everest Base Camp.

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The first day we only walked for about 4 hours including a tea break. And arrived Phakding and moved into our lodge there after a wonderful hike through small villages and along the river, enjoying flowering cherry trees and rhododendron, children playing with thin cans, the long suspension bridges and loaded yaks.
This is our scenery through the Khumbu valley, increased with more stupas (small temples) along the way. The next day we hiking to Namch Bazar (3440m), the capital of the Himalayas. Here we stay for 3 nights and go for acclimatization hikes and of course visiting the bakery serving good cakes, coffee and wifi.
After our 3 days in Namche Bazar we head off to Deboche (3820m), but of course with a stop in Tengboche (3860) with the beautiful monastery and the famous bakery. We attended the ceremony in the monastery which was wonderful meditative, and then we headed down to our lodge for the night. The day after we hike to Dengboche (4400m), but not before visiting the great Lama go this region. We were welcomed at the Lamas house and got his blessings before we headed up to our lodge in Dengboche were we stayed 2 nights.

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Here we enjoyed one acclimatization hike (to 5200m) and a couple of visits to the bakery (our last bakery before Base Camp). Now the surroundings are changing; no more trees and rhododendron, it is now harsh and cold with rocky terrain and a magnificent wiev to more and more snow covered mountains.

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The next two days we hike first to Lobuche (4910m) and then to Gorak Shep (5140m). This is the last little settlement before Base Camp, and the next day we woke up to snow covered surroundings. Everything is so white, clean and shiny!!! What a nice way to enter Base Camp!! Everest Base Camp welcomes us snow covered: the nicest possible way!

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