Susan Hunt booked 2 training treks with Responsible Adventures before going on to climb Everest successfully in May 2011.
High mountain guide Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa and kayaker Sano Babu Sunuwar have been named the People’s Choice Adventurers of the Year 2012 for their Everest summit, paragliding descent and long-distance kayak from Nepal to the Bay of Bengal. The duo was selected from a group of 12 individuals whose extraordinary achievements in exploration, conservation and adventure sports distinguished them in the past year, National Geographic Adventure has said. National Geographic Adventure has been naming Adventurers of the Year for the past seven years. Sherpa and Sunuwar were selected through online voting on National Geographic Adventure’s website. The winning duo was chosen for its three-month adventure called ‘The Ultimate Descent’ that which included climb to the Everest summit, para-glide descent from the summit and an 850-kmkayak trip from Nepal to the Bay of Bengal. “We believe that Lakpa and Babu exemplify the spirit of the award in their commitment to adventure in the truest sense of the word,” said Mary Anne Potts, editor of National Geographic Adventure. “Our fans — more than 72,000 across the adventure community — voted overwhelmingly for these two incredible athletes, and we’re thrilled to call them the People’s Choice Adventurers of the Year.”
US teenager Jordan Romero has become the youngest person in the world to successfully climb to the summit of the seven tallest mountains in seven continents. Romero, 15, called his mother, Leigh Ann Drake, on Dec 24 to confirm that he had achieved his goal of reaching the top of Mt Vinson Massif in Antarctica. The California native beat the record previously held by British climber George Atkinson, who completed the ascents at age 16 in May. Romero completed the climbs with his father and stepmother. He reached the summit of Mt Everest on May 22, 2010.
A last minute booking was made by 3 travelers who wanted to fly to Everest Base Camp by helicopter and trek down for 2 days before being picked up by a helicopter to be flown back to Kathmandu again. Our flight schedule was 8.30 am which was slightly delayed by an hour due to busy air traffic.
We were flown from Kathmandu by an American pilot to Lukla where we were to change helicopters for the high altitude flight. The air was very hazy to begin with but got clearer as we flew higher and further away from Kathmandu. The flight to Lukla took about 40 minutes where we got off to change choppers, got introduced to our new Pilot- an Italian who was flying in Nepal for the past 3 weeks.
We took off from Lukla with fantastic views of the mountains, the trekking trail and villages. It was definitely different looking at the villages and trekking trail where i have been hiking for the past 25 years from the air. We flew past Namche Bazaar and the pilot turned the aircraft towards Gokyo Valley. The pilot flew very close to the mountains which was scary at first but i soon realised that he was using the thermals coming off the hills to help lift the helicopter higher in the thin air.
We were greeted by the surrounding mountains including Mount Tawache, Cholatse, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Nuptse and Everest itself. We flew over the 2nd, Gokyo and 4th Lakes which surprisingly were mostly frozen despite being late April. The pilot took us really close to the mountains and we were really close to the hanging glaciers. It was a fantastic flight with the pilot going close to the mountains to get more thermals, circling to get more height. We were flying close to 6000 meters at one point.
The helicopter was flown over a high mountain pass into the Khumbu valley where we landed in Pheriche and 2 of us got off the chopper as the aircraft can carry maximum 3 persons + the pilot to Everest Base Camp due to the thin air.The pilot took the helicopter real close to the mountain took it up vertically before taking a really sharp bank to land the aircraft.
The helicopter came back for us after dropping off the other 2 passengers at EBC. We were greeted by panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the ‘sea’ of tents of mountaineering expeditions. All of us felt light headed at Everest Base Camp. We headed towards Gorakshep which is about 200 meters lower than the base camp. The 3 of them had been warned that doing something like this is not advisable at all but they had taken part in some extreme sports etc in the past, one of them had spend a few nights above 5000 meters with no problems etc. The hike which takes acclimatised trekkers 2 hours to get to Gorakshep but as 2 of our team members were suffering from bad to extreme altitude sickness it took us 4.30 hours, one of them had to be taken out on a pony.
We called for our helicopter to get us out of Gorakshep 5180 meters down lower to Lukla but it was delayed because of really bad weather in Lukla. I had planned an alternative action of hiring 2 ponies for the sick trekkers with a cylinder of oxygen each and take them down to Pheriche at 4300 meters where there is a clinic run by Himalayan Rescue Association.
We were so pleased when my phone rang and the caller said that the chopper had left. 10 minutes after the call all 4 of us boarded the chopper but it couldn’t take off, so Andrew and i got off the aircraft so it could come get us after dropping of Phil and Jin. We were in the chopper a short 10 minutes later. The pilot took off, hovered for a minute before diving into the Khumbu glacier. We were flown so close to the glacier that there were times when i felt we might hit a rock but the thermal always kept us from hitting the ground and of course the expertise of the pilot as well. We picked up Phil and Jin at Pheriche, we flew towards Lukla following the Dudh Kosi river as the clouds had closed up the regular flight part.
We landed at Phakding as the weather in Lukla was really bad. We treated ourselves to the “Luxurious” accommodation of Yeti Mountain homes. We had a few cocktails and nice dinner before settling into the comfortable beds which had electric blankets.
We got up early yesterday morning, left Phakding for Lukla at 7.40am after breakfast. We stopped in Lukla long enough for our Italian pilot to get his bag as it was his last day in Nepal and he was flying back to Italy that evening. We enjoyed the last 40 minutes of the flight back to Kathmandu, admiring the stunning views.
It was an amazing experience flying real close to the mountains i adore and it was made more memorable by our pilot who all 4 of us called the Italian Aerial Cowboy or Sky Cowboy.
In my 25 years of leading adventure tours, this trip has been the most unique and i say it was an epic adventure. The 3 intrepid travelers got business class tickets for Bangkok and managed to get a flight to Vientiane – Laos and will be looking to do another crazy adventurous stuff there before heading home tomorrow night to Hong Kong and the U.S.
Raj Tamang has been leading treks / tours and adventure holidays since 1988.He specializes in treks through out Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India.He has been involved in local charities for many years and has a great love and passion for his country and his job.In 2003 he became the liaison officer for the Royal Marines expedition of Everest in Tibet and even coordinated a wedding for an officer at base camp.He has lead many high altitude training camps for expedition groups wanting to go that extra mile and loves leading small trekking groups on holiday.He has great respect for the world around him and loves sharing his knowledge and amusing experiences with others.
Raj Tamang was born in Singapore to Nepalese parents. He spent his childhood and was educated there till 1988. His father was with the Singapore Police Gurkhas and upon his retirement in 1988, the family returned to their native land: Nepal. With learning from his family background and the education he received, the return home was an opportunity to put into place his aspirations: to be with his people.