Thursday, April 12, 2007


EverestSA2007 Update 2

The 2007 SA Everest expedition, of which my uncle John is a member, met their Sherpas last Friday (070406) at a monastery known as Pal Gyi Dingri Langkor Jangsem Kunga Ling (try pronouncing that!) where their Kathmandu Puja ceremony was held. As individuals and as a team they were blessed by His Holiness Tsering Wangdu Norbu Rinpoche. “It was a very special ceremony indeed and extremely important for our Sherpas.”

The group left Kathmandu on Saturday (070407) morning for Base Camp, the trip taking up to 5 days the group to get there. They said that the drive up the Sun Khosi River to Kodari was magnificent, before they crossed Friendship Bridge into Tibet.

As I mentioned before about my family being pretty technologically backward, Ronnie (team leader) had to teach John how to send an sms, but he ended up phoning my mother anyway!

After heavy rainfall that night, they left Zangmu early so as to avoid the resulting landslides which were expected later in the day. “We arrived at Nyalam in time for brunch and then did a climb up to 4 100m to acclimatise. We rested this afternoon in the cold Snow Land Hotel where the four of us are sharing a room.”

On Monday, they did another acclimatisation climb up to 4 300m and got back to the village just before it started to snow.

My cousin Mike and Andy inadvertently swapped thermal long johns, and they say the guys will never be the same again.

On Tuesday they drove to the little village of Tingri which is 4 200m above sea level. We’ll spend two nights there and do some further acclimatisation, but we are very pleased to hear that all is going well.

I'll keep the updates coming!

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To learn more about the Sherpa tribe that makes climbing Everest possible, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter's point of view.

Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to

Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
Richard Blake for Readers Views.

A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest.

A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review

LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

LeBlanc's vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week

A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there.

This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended."
-- John (college professor)

Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialogue. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA

This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels

The book is available from,, Barnes & Noble and Borders Stores, and the web site for an autographed copy.
Thanks so much for that - without the Sherpa's Everest would probably be 200m higher!
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