Hello from Tingri, our last stop prior to Cho Oyu Basecamp! It is really exciting to be here, as it finally feels like we are close to the mountain. In fact, if it wasn’t for the monsoonal clouds we would have views of both Everest and Cho Oyu. Hopefully the skies will clear over the next 2 days as we acclimatize here at 14,500 feet.
Travel in Tibet has been beautiful, exotic, and occasionally trying. In fact it started with 2 members of our team being held at the airport due to a mixup with visas – despite having a perfectly good visa, the officials in Lhasa had not received a matching copy from their office. Without this, no entry! Luckily, after 6 hours in a room with 5 smoking officials, Himex’s logistics master Chhuldim, along with some sweet-talking from Shaun, persuaded the officials to accept the original permit and let our teammates leave the airport.
After that, we enjoyed a great 2 days exploring Lhasa (and the stunning Potola Palace) before getting on the road. The road to Everest and Cho Oyu has been paved over the past two years, so driving is now quite pleasant, and leaves enough time each day to visit local monasteries, shop for basecamp necessities (like cheap Chinese pillows, Tibetan rugs for the floors of our tents, and, most interestingly the fresh meat we need for the team. This consisted of a trip to the Shigatse slaughterhouse, where we bargained hard for 4 hind legs of yak and countless chickens – almost 300 pounds of fresh meat in total, and quite an odiferous addition to our bus!).
The other interesting shift is in the food we eat along the road. While in Lhasa we enjoyed western breakfasts, good coffee, and steaks and fries for dinner, now we are on a diet of Chinese food…even breakfast is eaten with chopsticks, and certainly doesn’t resemble bacon, eggs, or pancakes!
So needless to say we are excited to reach basecamp and Lapchu’s cooking! More to come from BC.
-Adrian from Tingri