Dr Sean Egan
Update: Monday 2nd May, 7pm.
(EST is 9 hours 45mins behind Nepal)
Diary by Harold Mah
I left Base Camp yesterday,
Sunday May 1st when our final packing was hampered by a three inch snow storm
in the morning. With Sean's children, Anna and Seamas, arriving in Kathmandu
on Wednesday my goal is to make it from Base Camp to Kathmandu in three days
by foot and airplane.
There were more tears as I
said goodbye to old and new friends at Base Camp. I hugged everyone and they
all had kind words. My newest climbing friend, Gabrielle, is taking a picture
of Sean to the summit of Everest. He is deeply saddened by Sean's departure
and now climbs in his honour.
We hiked for eight long hours
to reach Pheriche and our elevation dropped by almost 4,000 feet. We
travelled through rain, fog and snow as we descended. The route on the valley
floor is very interesting as it is made up of ruts, a foot deep, caused by
erosion from years of trekkers and heavy monsoon rains. You would think that
cars had driven up this route, from the depth of weathering.
We sped past Duhgla where
Sean collapsed and died waiting for the helicopter. I thought it was a
miserable place when we passed through it on our way to Base Camp and now it
is my version of the worst place on the planet.
On a more positive note, I
met hikers who had helped Sean when he was ill. They all had positive things
to say and they all mentioned the funny conversation that Sean and I had on
the radio that day.
I stayed in the teahouse at
Pheriche on Sunday night. Everyone hangs out in the dining room around the yak
dung-fuelled oven and the sherpas taught me some of their language. I slept in
a small, unheated bedroom off the dining room, but it was still warmer than my
tent at Base Camp. We were around 14,000 feet in altitude so there was more
oxygen and I had more energy in my lungs and legs.
Today, Monday May 2nd, we
hiked on to Namche Bazaar which was an elevation drop of another 2,500 feet.
(The barometric pressure is 672hPa compared to 440hPa at the Lhotse face).
It’s been another long hike
of eight hours. The team of four sherpas that is with me knows that I need to
get to Lukla. They are determined to get me there so we keep up a fast pace
all day long. Between the five of us, we are carrying 5 backpacks, 4 duffle
bags and 7 various size pelican plastic boxes containing satellite and
photographic equipment. The sherpas are amazing; they are so light on their
feet and they never complain about their loads.
We are now below 13,000 feet
which means that I see trees, blooming flowers, unfrozen dirt and many more
trekkers. I bumped into a large group of Japanese trekkers who thought I was
Nepali until I told them I was Canadian! They had brought their pet dog along
for the trek. Incredible!
Two notes of advice for all
blog readers about travelling in third world countries. Rent a satellite
phone, no matter what the cost and register your journey at your embassy.
This will make life so much easier if anything goes wrong.
I hope to be in Lukla by
Tuesday afternoon and plan to catch a flight from there to Kathmandu to meet
Anna and Seamas on Wednesday. That will be a tough emotional time.
Everyone is still talking
about Sean. The sherpas bring up the fun they had with him. I think about
him during the parts of the trek that we walked together on the way up to Base
Camp. He has certainly made an impression on everyone who was blessed to meet
Take care and thank you for
your thoughts and emails.
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