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Prayer flags above Dingboche. Lhotse and Island Peak in the background.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lukla Layover

Hello Friends and Family,

Well, there has been a change in plans. Robert and the Altitude Junkies team walked down to Pheriche where they were transported by helicopter to Lukla.  The heli Robert flew on was needed for some other transport so Robert and 5 of his fellow Junkies are spending the night in lovely Lukla. The airport there is backed up with the mass exodus from EBC.  Normally teams trickle out as their climbs end which is manageable. The closure of Mt. Everest for climbing is obviously the cause of the delay in Lukla.

The six remaining team members will travel via helicopter to Kathmandu tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. Nepal time from the Hilary-Tenzing Airport.  (That's the airport with the short runway that goes uphill for landing and has a steep drop off with an immediate left hand turn for take-off.)  I am very thankful that Phil (Altitude Junkies team leader/owner) arranged for helicopter flights in and out of that airport.  Thanks Phil!

Robert is in good spirits. This delay is fine with him as there was a nice curry dinner waiting to be eaten in the comfort of warmer weather, a much higher oxygen level and a roof overhead. The delay will allow him another night of mountain quietness and beauty.  Obviously, Robert didn't want the dinner to get cold so our conversation ended with the ring of the dinner bell therefore my information for you is limited.

Just to give you an idea of the elevation change as Robert travels down the mountain  I have complied a short list tracking Robert's route from EBC to Kathmandu.

EBC           17,598 feet or 5364 meters
Pheriche     13,910 feet or 4240 meters
Lukla            9,324 feet or 2842 meters
Kathmandu   4,600 feet or 1400 meters

Comparing these elevations to those of The Rocky Mountains in our neighboring State of Colorado was fun so I thought you might enjoy my interest in comparing these two.

EBC would be in the clouds and traffic lane of some of the smaller jets that fly over the Rockies.

Pheriche would be located 490 feet or 149.35 meters from the top the highest peak in Colorado, Mt. Elbert (elevation 14,400 feet or 4401meters).  Alpine village is an understatement.

Lukla and Copper Mountain Village (elevation 9,712 feet or 2960.22 meters) are close enough to the same elevation that Robert should feel right at home there. We often ski at Copper.

Kathmandu is a little bit lower than Denver, Colorado (elevation 5,280 feet or 1609.35 meters) but not as low in elevation as our hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska (1,176 feet or 358 meters). We are blessed to be in flyover country where the air is fine and oxygen loaded.

Robert will soon complete this journey up to the clouds and no doubt has much to think through.  I am sure he will share his journal as soon as he is settled in Kathmandu. There are many details we are all anxious to hear.

It will be good to have Robert back home early and at a more reasonable elevation.  When that will be has not been determined at this time. Robert already has many requests that are pulling him home and also those that would keep him in Nepal a bit longer.  I think airline schedules will be one of the determining factors as his plan for the near future unfolds.

Thanks for traveling with me.  Most likely the next post will be from Robert, unless of course, there is another change in plans.

Best to all of you,
Patty Kay
Lincoln,  NE

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