hover animation preload

Lukla - Gateway to the Himalaya
by Denis Oakley in

It's always a shock when a friend dies. I read this afternoon that Ngae died on Saturday. I don't think I ever spoke much to him but I always smiled and waved when I passed him when running. Always barefoot. Always smiling. Hail and Farewell.

I'm now in Lukla in the Himalaya. We were due to get up early this morning and we did. The slight hitch was my Polish roommate. Teddy had come in from China and arrive about 2300 after I'd gone to bed. We shared a muttered few words and I said that we were looking at a 0400 start. He set his alarm and we went to sleep.

We wake up, get showered, packed, have a cup of tea and take our stuff downstairs. Noone about. Why. The receptionist points at the clock. 0245. Teddy was still on China time and Malaysia is the sdame time zone so it didn't feel too different. Whoops.

Back upstairs and to bed. for another 2 hours sleep

We got to the bus and headed to the airport with a horrible packed breakfast. Then onto a very small plane. 1 seat on either side of the aisle. 6 seats on either side. taking off was bumpy and noisy but fortunately I was by an emergency exit and spent my time figuring out how to open it in a hurry.

It was a short flight. We headed up at about 35 degrees and watched as the plane came closer and closer to the ground as we approached the mountains. They're big. The landing at Lukla was exciting. The landing strip is 240m long! That's because it's on a 30 degrees gradient because there isn't enough flat land to build a proper runway. There's a video to how here but at the moment we're bandwidth light.

Lukla's about 9300 feet and hot in the sun and cold out of it. It's a small village perched above a deep gorge and the slopes of the mountains go up at about 60 degrees for as far as the eye can see. Occasionaly we see glimpses of snow capped spears through the clouds.

I went for a run. This was very much experiemental and to understand a bit about my body and what it can do here. I put my new salomons on, shorts and a compression top and walked out to the end of the village. Then started trotting down the trail. I was going about 7-8km/h downhill with HR in the 130 range. On the flat it was up 10 beats. Uphill - well I struggled to maintain it in the low 160's.

Really enjoable and it was obvious that oxygen was the limiting factor. By doing small easy runs I'm hoping that I can stimulate faster adapatation to the altitude. I'm aware that it's very dry her and am focusing on drinking lots - especially as the diamox which I am taking to hasten acclimatisation also tends to cause side effects without proper hydration.

As the barbers don't have electric shavers I had the choice of keeping my hair or having a shave. The Dalai Lama now has more hair than me:)

After lunch we headed out for a walk whivh was nice - it covered much of the same ground but we saw a nice monastery and a school. I was feeling pretty sleepy though. By the time we got back to Lukla my feet were quite sore. I'm already feeling more comfortable with the altitude but am very aware that we have more than 8000 feet to climb to Everest base camp.

The race though is seeming increasingly less frightening. If I get bad altitude sickness I won't be able to race - but that is something that I can't control. Once I start the race I'm pretty confident that I will be able to walk it in 10-12 hours. If I can acclimatise well I should be able to knock 4-6 hours off that figure depending on the state of the trail and my fitness at the time. That's all a big guess though. The key factor is that I have a great deal of confidence that I can finish the race relatively comfortably without a huge effort. Cool.

I've got a bunch of web problems here. If you read this can you tell Senay that I love her and I can't check my emails. My phone is also dead so this is all she and Maya will get today. Sorry beasutiful. I love you and Maya both and have been Proudly showing everyone your photos :) XXX d


Post a Comment