I read a lot about the storm on the top of Everest back in 1996. Both, John Krakauer, the author of the Into thin air, and Anatoly Bukriev the author of the Death on Everest, described the tragedy in their own recollections. One thing was for sure in common, there was a huge storm that cost lives of many people, people with names, lives and dreams. I could understand his words. The book took me back to my own experience of fighting for my life and helping out my friend who was laying on the ground. Unlike Bukriev, I was not at the death zone and was not carrying my friend on my shoulders, but I could understand what they went through.
Afterwards I learnt about the four Slovak climbers, my countrymen. They were some of the strongest and most ambitious climbers of their era. Their project was the unscaled southwest face of the highest mountain on earth. The route has been climbed by the Bonnington crew in expedition style in 1975. The four mountaineers set out to climb it in the alpine – lightweight style in one go, without oxygen.They succeeded in a sense that they got to the top, but no one heard of them ever since. They were lost – forever, joining ranks of the brave men and women who never came back.
All the stories sparked in me the interest to take a look at this ogre, this giant. This strong desire rose in me and I decided to hike to the base camp and see the places and the mountains and the people that I read about.
This dream turned to reality, when I woke Thursday 5 December 2013 up at 4.00am in my bed, got dressed, picked up my backpack and stepped out into the unknown. I did all the research I could and took all the things I thought I might need on this trip. A year before that I could not go, as I had knee issues so I went to backpack Thailand, my first solo trip in Asia. I got on a bus and boarded the plane in Vienna, to Paris, then Paris to Delhi. I slept at the airport and flew the next day to Kathmandu.There I had one day to exchange my money, rather easier said than done, then I got my permits and the following morning at 6.00am I was on the first bus to Bhandar.
DAY 1. KATHMANDU TO BHANDAR
The ride from Kathmandu was overall pleasant, in company of friendly locals consisting of sherpa mountain guides coming home after the seasonal work, women returning after shopping. There was even a father and son who were going to a wedding. The Journey started to be challenging from Jiri onwards. The roads deteriorated and we got stuck in the mud on our way to Bhandar village. There were two options. One was to stay with the bus, hope for the best and in the worst case sleep overnight on the crowded bus in cramped position. The other option, which I chose without a pause involved joining a group of eager sherpa guides who with a quick pace made their way to the closes village through the night. After a few hours of fast pace we reached the closes village of Those where we stayed overnignt in a guesthouse.
DAY 2. BHANDAR TO DAKCHU