Monday, May 23, 2016

Climbing up 18,500 goddamn feet! And Mt. Everest Base Camp

So, last Friday I climbed up to the top of Kala Patthar! Nobody else wanted to wake up at 3:30.

 It was super beautiful! Mount everest is the one in the middle! Mt Everest's name in Nepali is "Sagarmatha". The trick to pronouncing the name correctly is to say it like "Saggy Martha", and someone will correct you pretty quickly. "Sagarmatha" in Nepali means "large mountain".
 The summit of Kala Patthar! Silhouetted by Pumo Ri in the distance
 Suuuper beautiful
 I hung some river flags from the top! These ones were made by Ping's Mind and Matter class at Macalester

 Here I am at the top!
This show off here was smoking a cigarette on the summit
 It was unbelievably beautiful. I got an unbelievably bad altitude headache climbing around on the summit

Anyway, the whole reason I had enough energy to climb up the goddamn mountain was I had too bad of an altitude headache to make it to base camp. From the pictures Max took it looked pretty awesome, though!
 The whole thing is built on this beautiful glacier
 Our porters helped us hang up some flags there, too.
 Max was pretty smug about bein at base camp
 I think that's Bibek there with the flags
 That's one of our porters. I said I was going to introduce them as they came up, but I really can't remember this guy's name.
 Those were pretty!
 Pretty pretty!
 Max lookin way too pleased about the whole thing

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hello from Nepal!

Hey folks!

Oliver St. John here, KOR collaborator, and your trusty correspondent on this mountain of an adventure. With me, I've got Wang Ping -- hopefully you know who she is -- and my brother Maximus St. John! He's also a poet, but a real avant-garde kinda poet. Most of his poems read like patent applications. We've also got our crack team of guides, Mel, DK, Gokol, and Bibek, all of whom are also real swell folks. On top of that we've got a bunch of other adventuring types traveling with us, who I'll introduce as they come up, and finally we've got a team of porters who more or less all sprint up the mountain with all our stuff as we huff and puff along several hours later, while they drink beers and smoke cigarettes. We aren't doin shit, it turns out.

So the way this first blog post is gonna go is I'm gonna start off showing you all the sweet stuff we did today. Then I'm gonna take you on a real fast whistle-stop tour of the highlights of the trip up until now.

Anywho, right now we're in Dingboche, two days away from the Mt. Everest base camp. We're taking an acclimatization day, which entails a lil walking around and a lot of napping, and a stab at trying to get the shaky, shaky Wi-Fi connection to work, which is what I'm doing right now!

This is what Dingboche looks like:
Included in this photo is a hat my mom made for me that doubles as a puppet, my brother's not being ready for the photo, Dingboche in the background, and a sweet sweater. Today we woke up and set up prayer flags on the mountain on the left!

 There in the foreground is Bibek. He's pretty chill.

And pretty good at tying knots
 The flags look super pretty in this crazy landscape. Dingboche is sorta the point where you really start to feel like you're on the roof of the world and everything else below you is part of something else different.

 Wang Ping, the poetess, queen of river flags.

 A lil further up the mountain
 We hung some more flags.
 That was around the time that DK said we should go down, but the views were pretty excellent
 So we got Bibek to take us a lil further
 I mean, check that out. It got more beautiful with every step.

 Bibek had an idea about where we could hang the last string of last prayer flags. We kept on going up then all of a sudden he turned way off to the right. There weren't any trails. He was too far ahead to ask where he was going. We went for about 15 minutes following him like that.
 See that rock?
 I can't take any credit. Bibek did all the work. Found the spot, climbed up on top of the rocks. The guy's a pro! Max has a lotta photos of all this, and maybe I'll post them in the next post once he wakes up from his nap. All I got is this dopey one of him under the flags.
 Isn't that incredible?
 You can barely even see 'em. That's how far we hiked just to hang those flags. Well, even further. A lot further. It took an hour just to get back DOWN.

Anyway, here's a couple lil shots from the rest of the trip up until now. Max took a lotta the pictures:

 We arrived safe in Kathmandu
Went to the monkey temple
 Took the falling-apart-est plane I've ever been on to Lukla
 Went across some scary Indiana Jones bridges
 Made it to Namche after all
 Where they had a museum full of weird mannequins

 Then hung some more prayer flags at the Tenzing Norgay momunent

In view of Mount Everest!
 Then we walked to Deboche where I made a new friend
 And we hung some more prayer flags
And hiked further than was advised to get this sweet panoramic view!

Anyway, that's it for now folks! Keep on keepin on.