Stikkordarkiv: flellklatring

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

Makalu Expedition 2014 – Vibs rapporterer fra Base Camp

Lørdag formiddag dumpet det in en epost fra Vibs!
De har nå kommet seg til Base Camp Makalu og her følger en oppdatering fra turen så langt:

Makalu Base Camp - photo Garrett Madison

Her kommer en hilsen fra Base Camp Makulu 4865 m. Vi kom oss endelig over skydekket som vi har vanket rundt i en uke. Det var fantastisk å komme over skylaget og endelig få se de fantastisk vakre fjellene!

Vi har hatt en helt utrolig uke gjennom helt øde områder. Kan ikke tro at det bare er en uke siden vi fløy fra Kathmandu. Deretter kjørte vi i o dager på nesten ufrekomelige veier. Til slutt var de bare krøterstier igjen og vi startet fra 500 m og har steget jevnt opp hit til Base Camp på 4865 m.

Vi har vandret gjennom tykk regnskog og blitt spist av blodigler. Vi er de eneste ikke-lokale her og det har vært en opplevelse å bli invitert inn i steinhyttene deres og bli servert fersk yak-melk, yak-ost og nypoteter. Og langs hele ruten får vi stadig velsignelser og lykkeønsker. Vi har hatt regn det meste av vandreturen inn hit, så da vi endelig kom over skydekket og så fjellene var det helt magisk!

Igår hadde vi en deilig middag her i BC og vi fikk takket våre portere som nå drar hjem, og så rigget vi opp og hadde filmkveld i spiseteltet. Våre nepaesiske venner valgte film og det ble et herlig gjennsyn med Top Gun. Etter filmen kunne vi pusse tenner under en helt fabelaktig stjernehimmel med mange stjerneskudd.

Idag har vi hatt en hviledag her i BC. Vi har installert oss, vasket klær og kommet oss i orden. I morgen tar vi en liten akklimatiseringstur i nærområdet og mandag har vi Pudja-seremoni. Dette er en fin tradisjon for å be fjellets guder om tillatelse til å klatre det. Seremonien holdes av en lama.
Tirsdag satser vi på å klatre til Camp1 på ca 6000 m og muligens ha en natt der før vi kommer ned hit til BC igjen.

Vi er i god form og gleder oss!

Take care peeps!
/ Heia fra Vibs

Makalu Expedition 2014 – Vibs rapporterer

Det har nå gått noen dager og Vibs sammen med Garrett fra Madison Mountaineering har kommet et stykke på vei.

Her kommer en kort rapport:

«After flying from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar and then travelling 32 miles overland by jeep to the village of Num, the team finally hit the trail. Today’s first segment of the trek to base camp started with a 2,400 ft. downhill hike to bottom of a river valley, cross the river and then a swift 2 mile climb back up 2,900 ft. to the village of Seduwa (1646m / 5,400 ft.). Over the course of the next three days, the team will trek to a high pass of 4237m / 13,900 ft. before descending into Barun River valley to spend a few more days trekking up to base camp at 4630m / 15,190 ft.»

Uten navn

Makalu Expedition 2014, South East Ridge; Khandbari

map study

I dag er vi endelig igang :) Det føles godt å være ute av Kathmandu og komme oss et godt stykke inn i det ekte elementet!
Vi fløy fra Kathmandu til Tumlingtar hvor vi møtte våres sherpa Lhakpa. Fra Tumlingtar kjørte vi opp til Khandbari hvor vi tilbrakte resten av dagen på å studere kart og forbrede turen videre.
Vi har hatt fint flyvær i dag, men på ettermiddagen bygde skyene seg opp og vi hadde et voldsomt tordenvær her i kveld.
Vi bor her på et veldig fint Te-hus, og spiser fantastsik god nepalesisk mat!! Nå er det godt at den harde jobbingen snart starter for nå har det vært mye god mat :)
Nå regner det masse utenfor og vi er ganske fornøyde med å bo på te-hus og ikke i telt. Den kjøreturen som normalt sett tar 4 timer kan nok fort bli dobbelt så lang i morgen.

I morgen kjører vi til Num og starter vandringen fra Num inn til Base Camp. Vi regner med å bruke en uke på å komme oss til Base camp på ca 4800m.

Vi gleder oss masse til å komme oss innover i dalen og vinne litt høyde nå.

Vibs

Makalu Expedition 2014, South East Ridge; waving goodbye

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We are waiving goodbye!
Best way to follow the expedition progress is to «like» Madison Mountaineering på Facebook.

We will be posting regular dispatches to www.madisonmountaineering.com:Makalu 2014 expedition dispatch page with text, audio, real-time RainOn expedition tracking, and photos during our journey. Stay Tuned!

Vibs

Makalu Expedition 2014, South East Ridge; The mountain and our plan

Makalu Title

MAKALU 8463m
Makalu, the world’s fifth highest peak rising to 27,765 feet (8,463 meters) situated just 14 miles east of Everest in the Khumbu region. Its size alone is impressive, but its perfect pyramid structure with four sharp ridges makes this mountain all the more spectacular. It is interesting to note that the summit ridge is the demarcation point indicating the border between Nepal on the Southern side and Tibet to the North.

The name of the mountain was probably taken from the Sanskrit word Maha-Kala, which means Big Black and is a by-name of Shiva – one of the most important gods of Hinduism. Shiva is sometimes an evil, cruel destroyer but at other times he tends to be gentle and kind-hearted. The mountain has another name in the local dialect – Kumba karna, which means The Giant.

Makalu has proved to be a challenging climb, as only five of its first sixteen attempts were successful.There are no easy routes on the mountain with the South East Ridge being one of the most dramatic and challenging. At over ten kilometres long and with much of the ridge knife-edge, it presents a challenge to rival any on the 8,000m summits.
In 1970 a Japanese team were the first reaching the summit via the South East Ridge. In 1976 a Spanish/ Czech team climbed via the  South-West buttress and continued along the South East Ridge to the summit.

Madison Mountaineering with Garrett, myself and our sherpa will climb parallel to a british team at the mountain. This is a bigger team which we are dependent on especially in terms of logistic. We will follow their rhythm at the mountain. 
The approach to Base Camp will involve an internal flight from Kathmandu to the airstrip at Tumlingar (510m) followed by a 7-10 days trek through the rugged and remote foothills of the Makalu-Barun region. So begins the all important acclimatisation process, gaining height steadily until Base Camp is established at 4,800m.

Once at base camp, several days will be spent acclimatising before an Advanced Base Camp (ABC) is established on the ridge at 5800m. From here we will get our first views of the route ahead as well as the peaks of neighbouring Tibet.  Three further fixed camps will be established as we move up the mountain, the highest of these being at the col at 6700m. Beyond this point we will climb alpine style, carrying sufficient provisions and equipment to support an extended period above 7000m as we push for the summit.

Guarding the route to the summit at 7500m is the Black Gendarme; a steep and formidable rock buttress that straddles the ridge. It is the key to the ridge and summit slopes beyond. Here the climbers will be exposed to freezing temperatures and the full force of the unrelenting winds, resting only at two high altitude bivouacs before climbing the final ridge that rises steeply to the summit at 8463m.

We will be posting regular dispatches to http://madisonmountaineering.com/makalu-2014-launched/ : Makalu 2014 expedition dispatch page with text, audio, real-time RainOn expedition tracking, and photos during our journey.  Stay Tuned!