Luckily back home, but far from finished

I’ve now been back in the UK for a little over a week, but it could have been very different. The last post was about our ‘interesting’ flight back from Lukla, and after the (actually quite minor) psychological trauma it inflicted I have not updated the blog, but after a certain piece of information was pointed out I thought I ought to mention it.

This was Lukla on the day we flew out.

OK, so not too bad, but what you have to remember is the entire area is surrounded with quite large mountains that are not very visible when covered by clouds, and the planes that fly in and out of here don’t have any fancy radar or instrument landing systems. Simply put, if you can’t see it, you don’t fly there, and if you can’t see through it, you don’t fly through it.

We got out. We knew we were luckily, just not quite how lucky.

We were on one of only two flights that got out that day (31st October 2011, for reference). Lukla then was shut for a little while. Actually a week, and they were still working through the backlog yesterday (9th November 2011), so if we hadn’t got out, we might still be in Nepal today.

The biggest thanks needs to go to our porter, D.B. Tamang, who despite technically being off the clock found us moping into our drinks in the early afternoon with the rallying cry of ‘first flight! you on first flight! coming now! airport now!’.

This was despite the fact that the previous afternoon when re-confirming our flights I was sure we had been put on the third flight, which for clarity did not actually make it that day.

We’ve contacted the trekking agency to get an extra bonus tip to him. Only fair, and he was great throughout.

So in the end we got back to Kathmandu on the day, if not the time expected. And as expected the Kathmandu Guest House had made a hash of our booking, so we stayed at the Excelsior around the corner. Although it doesn’t have the gardens and bar area, it does have a nice roof terrace in a traditional 6 stories up not sure if it’s safe nepali style.

What this doesn’t give an impression of is the noise of the streets below.

Of course it will, once I’ve pulled together all the various threads of the Stop Frame Everest film. But i do think it may be some time away, just down to pure logistics


I have around 25,000 photos and a few hundred video and sound clips to pull together, So far, in a week, all I’ve managed to do is put archive pictures into fairly generic folders based on where taken. I’ve started to work out the best way to go to video from stills with stabilisation, but it aint easy.

So lots of beta, like this;

The film will take a good few months, but I’m hoping will be ready for a premier at one of the Leamington Underground Cinema events in February – i.e. debut on the big screen at the Apollo.

And I’ll keep you all updated with teasers.

BTW – donations are still open now I’ve actually done the bleeding trek

Near death experience (sort of)

Well, despite Lukla being stuck in a cloud, said cloud opened for the briefest of periods – still raining mind you – and the lovely Tara Air and their top-gun pilots squeezed a couple of flights between the gaps to rescue us. We got the first of only 3 flights to run today.

There were cheers a plenty when we landed in Kathmandu.

There were also a great deal of rather manic chucklings, slappings on backs and relieved grins. I think I now know how my friend Jim feels about flying. I’m off to indulge in some libations, and will only be able to discuss the matter after it has been thoroughly dulled in my memory through the action of copious amounts of alcohol.

The plus side is that we now can catch our flights home tomorrow, and any delay with them has to be dealt with by them – as opposed to me trying to work out when to change them to by second guessing the mountain weather.

Oh yes, and true to form, the Kathmandu Guest House didn’t have a room. Our booking was on the wrong day in their system. Computer says no.

Stuck in a cloud

For the first time in the couple of weeks we have been in the mountains, the weather is not glorious. It is, in fact, far from glorious. It is, in fact, tipping down with rain, and Lukla is inside a big cloud.

This is not good for several reasons. Firstly, I don’t have a chance to top up my tan. Secondly, it means no flights to Kathmandu. This is a problem, as if there are no flights to Kathmandu, we can’t be in Kathmandu to catch our flights home tomorrow.

Consequently we are

  1. Praying to whatever gods we can think of to get rid of the clouds
  2. Checking out how much replacement flights will be
  3. Crying into our lattes at the fake Starbucks

Last year there was a period of a week where there were no flights out of Lukla. Please not again..

A few photos

OK, so now we’re back in Lukla at the trail’s end, awaiting our flight tomorrow morning back to Kathmandu. All in all, not feeling to bad – don’t feel like I have any leftover symptoms of HAPE, and my legs are surprisingly lively. Soon put that to rest with a few beers.

We’ve splashed out ($15) on a posh room at the North Face resort, with our own shower and everything. Actually ended up in exactly the same room as I shared with Colin two years ago. Worth every cent to get the smell of two weeks trekking off.

Anyway, in advance of my return, I thought I’d post a picture or two to show you what its all been about.

And here’s a picture of me where the last one was taken. Looking rather happy for a man about to develop altitude sickness. And below is a picture of what I’m going to be doing later this evening.

Thanks to everyone who has donated, and if you haven’t, why not?
Weather and flight logistics permitting we should be back in the UK on Tuesday evening, so see you soon.