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"It was such a fantastic feeling we had done it!!"
- Pamela Bode

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Nepal

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

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The first section was very rocky and the trail very hard to follow and we lost it on quite a few occasions. With the difficulty of scaling up the rock faces with big snow boots, the adrenaline was rushing, seeing another group (that had camped below us) with their head lamps on also making their way slowly up the mountain. It was an amazing sight that together with the beautiful soft colours of the sunrise over the mountains on what was such a perfect day just as we hit the snow line, is something I will never forget. We strapped on our crampons and roped ourselves to each other, then walking over a narrow ridge and through the snow weaving around the crevasses. At 7.30am we had a 15 minute rest and then attacked a 100 metre ice wall. Using a fixed rope, iceaxes and gimers we climbed up, ending very exhausted at the top. The summit was in sight so I ignored my body which was saying it was too tired.

We made it to the Summit at 9.30am sitting on a small snow bobble at 6189m, there was only enough room for four of us to sit there with shear drops on all sides. It was such a fantastic feeling we had done it!! Being such a perfect day we could see for miles, surrounded by mountains with Lhotse being right in front of us. We had something to eat on a flatter surface then made our way back down. Assailing down the ice wall which was becoming softer I put my feet straight through the ice into a crevasse a number of times. We stopped at the snow ridge where we were greeted by one of our porters with a hot lemon drink and our hiking boots, talk about a five star service!!

We continued to High Camp and the hot soup was waiting for our arrival was drunk with great relish. We packed up and headed down to Base Camp, where Raju baked a celebration summit chocolate cake that night for dinner.

Now on a high we headed to Kongma La 5485m preparing to climb Pokalde 5745m. Unfortunately it snowed all night and in the morning it was announced it was too dangerous to climb with fresh snow on the mountain. So we headed onwards to Kala Pattar going over Kongma La pass 5535m, which was the highest most of our porters had ever been and they were extremely happy. We camped the night at Gorak Shep 5230m and summitted Kala Pattar 5545m early the next morning. Mt. Everest was right in front of us in all its glory, also Pumo Ri 7145m was towering above us. It was a magical sight being surrounded by these powerful mountains.

On our way back we were fortunate enough to arrive in Namche Bazaar on Saturday morning for the markets, and to see some Tibetian men who four times a year make the gruelling journey over the border to Nepal with their Yaks, loaded up with goods to trade. It was an amazing sight to see these wild looking men who live in such a harsh environment, their smiles lighting up their faces and all were very friendly.

The next morning instead of heading towards Lukla we had heard from other trekkers that the Thame Og Monastery 4000m was a 3 hour walk and very worth the visit, so that's where we headed (this is the major advantage of having a small group as we had changed our trekking plans quite a few times). Built into the cliffs high above the village was the enchanting Monastery. As we entered we found the Monks were in the middle of their morning prayers and chanting, playing horns, bells and a drum. We were able to sit in the small room with the Monks and take it all in.

Then it was back to Namache and the next day we were back in Lukla. Our 33 days in the mountains had ended and none of us wanted to part from our Nepalese crew, who were extremely good and caring to us. We were presented with Temple Scarves and had to say our good byes which was really hard.

I would like to thank everyone from the Sea to Summit company for the experience of a lifetime.

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