Dear friends, I'm sending greetings from Kathmandu as we approach the one year anniversary of their catastrophic earthquake. Thankfully, the clean-up is well progressed and even some reconstruction is underway. Sadly, there is much dispute about who gets what and when, with even a few refugees left in a tent village in the middle of the city. I will share some pictures when back home the first week of June.
Tomorrow we fly to Lhasa, our group of eight cheerful mountaineers (including 3 physicians so, should I stub my toe, I can afford to be particular), one experienced and fun-loving guide, and six ever-capable Sherpas. In a couple of weeks we will be in Advance Base Camp on Cho Oyu, the world's sixth tallest mountain or, to expropriate a phrase from V&C's history once again, my "peak of dreams". This is a return journey, having attempted the same route back in 2010. The mountain and weather demonstrated who was in charge and unfortunately no one attained the summit that year. Regardless, the journey is what matters, along with the friends one meets along the way. There are significantly less climbers registered this year, which may explain why the famous Elizabeth Hawley, keeper of The Himalayan Database, sent a runner over to our hotel to collect names. As they say, if Miss Hawley doesn't say you made the summit, then you didn't!
For those interested in this sort of thing , I'm wearing a Sinn EZM 3 right now but a special-to-me VC watch is tucked away in my kit bag for summit day.
Cheers for now, Dean