Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ama Dablam 2009 all set to begin. The boulderers are coming.

From Ian and Chris in Kathmandu
October 13, 2009

Chris and I have met up in Kathmandu after our various adventures leading up to the start of the Ama Dablam Climb and Everest Base Camp Trek. The last few days have been spent meeting up with the Godfather of Nepal Nima Sherpa, who seems to be able to rectify all the problems that Chris and I create with a smile and a nod of his head. Due to equipment loss on Satopanth Chris had to replace a number of ice screws, so after buying all the remaining Black Diamond ice screws in Kathmandu during a bought of retail therapy he presented Nima with a substantial bill. Without batting an eyelid Nima said he could pay that now. Chris asked if his bag was full of money to which the reply was "yes please" and a brick of 1000Rp notes was produced!! Bill settled!

FTA guide Ian Blessley leading a nice slimey pitch in the Nangajon Forest"
FTA guide Ian Blessley leading a nice slimey pitch in the Nangajon Forest

Thamel has changed significantly since I was here 10 years ago. They have recently tarmacked the roads in Thamel, power cuts only last for about 4 hours an evening, and everyone now has a motorbike. The rickshaws, tigerbalm and hasish sellers are still the same and may even be the same people! The constant barrage of people trying to sell you things rapidly becomes a game of avoidance, coupled with the wry smiles as they catch you, recognise you and know that they are not going to get a sale! Pollution is still a major problem and a sore throat and sore eyes encouraged Chris and I plus a few others to head out to Nargajon, just below the Kings Palace for a few days of climbing. After the inevitable haggling and readjustment of prices with the taxi driver we made it to a very pleasant looking limestone crag tucked away in a shady glade in the Kings National Park.

On the first visit we concentrated on a few simple climbs at a slabby wall that was a little dirty but provided some good fun, until the mosquitos turned up and a hasty retreat was required. Armed with mosquito coils we returned a few days later to attempt some of the harder routes. These were slightly more technical and a little wetter and dirtier but with much sweating and cursing the anchors were reached. During the afternoon a number of gun shots could be heard leading us to the conclusion that the King was in residence taking pot shots at the locals, or perhaps the odd tiger or two that we were assured were in the park. A little later automatic gunfire and large explosions were heard, perhaps the King is a poor shot!!
Ian in the chimney run out and gnarly!
Ian in the chimney run out and gnarly!

Yesterday we met up with Oscar and Eric and helped them organise early flights to Lukla (well Nima did) for some acclimatisation. We are expecting more people to arrive every day and look forward to leaving the smog bound capital for the fresh air and beautiful views that we know await us in the Solu Khumbu.

Ian in Kathmandu

Bouldering in the Everest Region?

Last year, Josh Kass and i were able to spend some time in and around Namche Bazzar putting up the odd bouldering problem. A vast field of large boulders skirts the town and i remember being awe struck by the quantity and quality of the bouldering up there. There is virtually unlimited development potential and at the time, we thought a bouldering trek to the area would be a really great thing.

Well, its happened. This morning, Rachell (Canada), Brian (USA) and Kyle(USA) all blasted off for Lukla with plans of spending a month up in Namche putting up problems, making maps and generally developing a new bouldering area in the Khumbu.

If all goes well, next season we will be offering something very unique indeed. Climbing small rocks beside the biggest rock of them all! Everest. Some might think it folly, but ask any boulder and its a dream. Lets wish them all luck and stay tuned for some photos, maps and beta in the weeks to come.

Chris in Kathmandu

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