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"Sitting down for lunch with Mt Everest straight in front of us, two Yaks came puffing up the hill ladened with equipment from another group, they were unloaded and released coming straight over to us.."
- Pamela Bode

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Sea to summit
by Pamela Bode, Sydney, Australia
Aug 14, 1999

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I made it to Tagnag 4356 m but I wasn't feeling well at all and was unable to attempt Mera Peak. However Onchhue, Ian, Kris and Dawa were the first to summit for the season while other teams were turning back before the summit. I stayed behind with Prakash who cooked my meals and stayed with a Nepalese family - Lhakpa Geljen Sherpa, his wife and 2 children. They stayed at Tagnag during the trekking seasons to provide trekkers and their sherpa's with beer, cigarettes, meat, potatoes and chang (a very alcoholic wheat beer). They also brought their Yaks there to graze in the grassy valley which no longer exists as the Sabai Tsho (Lake) collapsed two months prior to us arriving, wiping out the valley, towns below and the main trekking route, no one was injured. Every day Prakash would take me to different sites around Tagnag and Kirae to help me acclimatise for my climb to Island Peak. I stayed there for 4 days by this time I was feeling healthier and the weather was perfect.

We all headed back to Lukla via the Zatra Teng 5080m. Which was very steep going up and down the tracks, squeezing through rocky tunnels and passing our backpacks through. Then we headed up towards Island Peak staying at Namche Bazaar. The following morning after a few hours walking we turned the corner and there was Mt Everest in all its glory, and it was breathtaking. We visited the Tengboche Monastery, and were able to speak to the Monks, then Onchhue took us to the head Lama and we received his blessings prior to climbing Island Peak which we all found it to be a very spiritual moment.

Sitting down for lunch with Mt Everest straight in front of us, two Yaks came puffing up the hill ladened with equipment from another group, they were unloaded and released coming straight over to us. As we had two bowls of water and a bowl containing our soap we thought they were coming to drink our water, but no, one came and ate our brand new cake of soap. This Yak turned very strange and took off into the forest followed by its owner.

Arriving at Dingpoche we had our first look at Island Peak 6190m, an impressive mountain with a certain presence that I found quite scary at the same time. Having only done a few abseiling courses in the Sydney area and one day of mountaineering safety and rescue it certainly was going to be the most challenging event of my life.

We arrived at Chhukung at 4730m and the following morning we climbed Chhukung Ree 5546m, my first summit. The next day we arrived at Island Peak Base Camp 5180m there were a few groups waiting for their time to summit. We moved onto High camp 5565m, and spent that afternoon preparing ourselves for the early morning climb. We met up with two fit looking guys coming down, who had been unable to reach the summit saying it was too hard. Another team that was camped at High Camp had taken 9 hours to arrive at the Summit. It was becoming very daunting, were we going to make it? One of the problems of being up at high altitude is that at night having to go and have a wee every few hours and as there is very little space at high camp the three of us were all in one tent, which meant we needed to synchronise so that we all could get some sleep. At 2am the bed coffee arrived and by 3am we were ready to head off into the darkness with our head lamps aluminating the way up.

The highest point of my life..

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