Dear Family & Friends,
“Tashi Delek” from Cho Oyu Advance Base Camp @ 5700m!
Apologies to everyone following the blog but due to technical dramas we’ve been unable to update the blog until now…..
We arrived here on the 11th and have spent most of the last 1.5 days establishing ABC – digging out platforms for our personal tents, the kitchen and dining tents, toilet and shower tents, putting up solar panels etc…. We’re all well and excited to finally be at ABC – everyone’s healthy and acclimatising really well. ABC sits high on the glacial moraine with spectacular views of the Nangpa La (the border with Nepal) directly to the south and Cho Oyu looming large to the east. Our first foray to Camp 1 @ 6400m will be on the 14th, but before we set foot on the mountain we’re all looking forward to the expedition Puja on the 12th. At this ceremony various bits of our climbing equipment will be blessed and we might all share a beer or two.
Below is a summary of our time in Tingri and CBC.
We arrived at Chinese BC @ 4900m after a short drive from Tingri on September 7th and was welcomed by our 3 sherpas – Lakpa T, Lakpa S & Ang Kaji – and our Nepali kitchen crew of Rabin (cook) and Anil (kitchen boy) who’d gone ahead a day earlier to unload all our equipment and set up camp.
The bulk of our time at CBC was spent resting and hanging around the kitchen tent waiting for some of Rabin’s excellent meals, but to avoid any of us getting too fat and lazy I threw in a few acclimatisation walks for good measure…
The biggest walk was to a 5450m point above camp and the view towards Cho Oyu and the Nangpa La on the border with Nepal was particularly impressive. We spotted 12 Blue Sheep, a couple of Pikas (tail-less rodents) and 2 huge eagles on our way to the top.
25 yaks and 1 truck – yes the Chinese are determined to build a road all the way to ABC – were booked for the 10th when we ditched our vehicle and departed on foot to Intermediate Camp and as expected we arrived at Cho Oyu ABC on the 11th. (The majority of our loads were weighed and loaded onto the truck on the 9th and left early for Intermediate Camp and ABC.)
The town of Tingri has a distinct ‘Wild West’ feel to it and is built along a 500m stretch of the recently upgraded Kathmandu to Lhasa highway – low weather beaten houses, shops, restaurants etc sit side by side on this dusty high altitude road. The Chinese have done an amazing job of sealing this road and it is a far cry for the dirt track that used to lead to Lhasa.
Having been to Tingri before I was expecting the accommodation to be pretty basic and had warned everyone accordingly. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at what is basically a brand new – although not quite finished – hotel with very comfortable beds and attached bathrooms… Not what you’d expect to find at 4300m on the Tibetan Plateau! However the hotel dining room and courtyard are still caught in a time warp and haven’t changed one bit since I first visited in 1993. Apparently they’re next on the upgrade list.
That only leaves the menu……!