Occasional Climber

Everest Base Camp, October 1992

On the road to Tingri we get our first view of Chomolungma (Mount Everest)
Preparing to ascend Pang La, with the help of a sturdy Dzo, on the way to Everest Base Camp
Slowly climbing towards 5,000 metres and the Pang La
Our guide, a young farmer from the small village below Pang La, pauses on our ascent to the pass
Upon reaching Pang La (5,200m), the big boys suddenly came into view. From left, Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse and Cho Oyu
Some where down the hill is the route to Rongbuk. The land is vast, with no reference points to gage scale by. A destination can appear just minutes away but take hours to reach
A Tibetan village beyond Pang La encountered en route to Rongbuk
Our neighbour’s house – typical of the buildings in Tibet
Where we stayed, the interior is also typical – a central open space concealing a level below for the animals and leading to cooking and sleeping rooms. Above, the flat roof serves as a space for storage, to work and to relax
Inside the dining room with our hosts
Next morning the next village en route to Rongbuk lies across the river
That way to Chomolungma!
As we cross a broad flat cultivated plain, Chomolungma – Goddess mother of the earth – Mount Everest, peaks from behind a huge, rocky ridge
Sturdy domesticated yaks calmly chew straw at another village beside the trail to Rongbuk
The host family is very poor. The opportunity to glimpse their world, so different from my own, is an insight and a privilege for me
A fine example of the fearsome guard dogs that live with their Tibetan masters on the plateau
Ploughed and then baked earth stretches out before us as we plod towards Rongbuk
Eventually our foot trail rejoins the gravel road leading to Rongbuk and beyond to the north face base camp of Everest
Around a bend in the trail and suddenly Rongbuk Gompa (5,000m) appears. Further up the valley something gigantic lies shrouded in churning cloud
Rongbuk Gompa (5,000m). Everest’s summit is hidden in cloud at the end of the valley
When she finally emerged, Chomolungma still seemed somehow distant from Rongbuk
A closer look reveals the immense proportions of Chomolungma's northern facing slopes. The long ridge climbing from the left to the summit is the North East ridge, the original route attempted by George Mallory. The one from the right is the West ridge
With a stiff wind at my back, I commence the descent of the broad Lamna La (approximately 5,200m) linking Rongbuk with Tingri
The land around Everest is blasted by icy winds and baked by relentless sun. The results are plain to see
Following an ice encrusted river beyond another 5,200m pass, between Rongbuk and Tingri West
Big country stretches out in every direction. Somewhere to the left lies a trail to the Solu Khumbu in Nepal, via the Nangpa La
Looking back across the Tingri plains towards the trail leading to Khumbu La and the Solu Khumbu in Nepal
A formidable specimen of a yak on the outskirts of Tingri
From Tingri West (4,100m), looking back from where we had come, Cho Oyu looms up far across the plains

Read about it – Across Tibet to Chomolungma

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