Dispatch - Several
into Base Camp - May 21
This morning we woke up, at Base Camp Wyeth, full of expectation. The group
that had left Ireland a while back were due to arrive today. We all busied
ourselves packing away supplies and getting the place ready for our visitors.
By mid morning we knew that they were close, perhaps an hour away. It was time
for tea as most of the packing was finished. Pat was standing in the door of
the mess tent, when he announced ‘they’re here’. We looked out and there they
were. There was no mistaking them. High above the wa terproof clad people was
the Green White and Orange, carried by Brian Mellerick. A very simple word can
describe the feelings in the camp, as we watched the Tricolour work towards us
- Pride. A second tricolour was carried by Thomas Gormally, while the Red and
White Cork flag was held aloft by Sean O’Flynn. Going out to meet them and
shaking their hands was a pleasure. They had come all this way to meet us.
Walking into Base Camp Wyeth was their Everest. Some looked tired, but all had
arrived safely. Dropping their bags, they made their way into the mess tent.
Hot lemon, tea and coffee were served. Dawe produced a lunch that consisted of
soup, fried eggs with and fried potatoes. Lots of chat and then it was time to
go. The weather was not good, cloud was gathering and snow was likely. They
were to return to Gorak Shep and climb to the top of Kalar Pata the following
morning. There was time for photographs before their departure - including one
of Gerry Reidy and Adrian with the Banner Colours held aloft, the Saffron and
Blue had been hanging over the base set radio for weeks.
We watched as they made their way over the Khumbu glacier. It was great that
they had made to the base camp, particular as the weather had been bad all
Names of Trekking Group
Jerry Walsh, Cait O’Riordan, Thomas Gormally, Grainne O’Callaghan, Mary
O’Callaghan, Sean O’Flynn, Thomas John Beausang, Philip Cullen, Brian
Mellerick, Gerry Reidy, Timothy Beary, Francis Monaghan, Joseph Monaghan, Roy
Foley, Mary Thornbury, Eamon Muldowney.They were accompanied by Tim Orr, who
along with Eamon and Sheila was going to climb Island Peak.
When they were gone we busied ourselves with the rest of the packing. We had
decided that we would leave tomorrow and descend with the trekkers. It would
be nice to have their company.
Base Camp Wyeth to Lobouche - May 22
Clare, Pat, Sheila and Adrian left Base Camp Wyeth for Gorak Shep. When we
arrived, we met up with all the May Trekking Group. It was great to be heading
out with such a great bunch of lively people. For those of us who had been on
or below Everest for a couple of months, it was important to share the success
of the expedition with those who had travelled from Ireland to Nepal. It was
good to be with all the people that had travelled out to be part of history.
In Gorak Shep we had a nice lunch. Clare left the group at this stage as she
wanted to meet her brother Kevin and Grainne Long, who were on their way to
Namche Bazaar. Laughter, banter, smiles and chatting and afterwards we headed
off to Lobouche. On arrival we settled into our accommodation. After dinner,
the sing song began. Long into the night songs and poetry we heard. ‘If ‘ by
Rudyard Kipling, was read out by Sean. This was somewhat fitting as everyone
present had achieved so much in their own way.
Lobouche to Debouche - May 23
The following morning we awoke to somewhat better weather. The group headed to
Debouche. We stopped briefly at the Everest Memorials to say prayers or just
think about those who died on the mountain. A poignant moment and time for
reflection. We dropped down to Dughla and continued on Pheriche for lunch.
After lunch we bade farewell to Sheila, Tim, Eamon and Nima who were going to
Island Peak. The remainder of the group descended quickly to Debouche. We
stayed in the Ama Dablam Lodge that night.Debouche to
Namche Bazaar - May 24
Pat and Adrian headed of early to get to Namche to try to get the IT and
communications working. All the others went later and stopped for a while at
Tengboche to see once more the beautiful monastery. It was good to be heading
down. Both Pat and Adrian noticed that the scenery had changed dramatically in
the last couple of months. Flowers were blooming and grass was growing. The
post monsoon growth was in full swing. Butterflies and other insects flew
about, while bird song from the trees was a delight.
When Pat and Adrian arrived in Namche Bazaar, they met Clare, Kevin and
Grainne. Adrian went to the Internet Café, to enlist Pemba to help sort the IT
and Communication problems. At long last success, we managed to get some
information out. A great night was had in Namche Bazaar.
Namche Bazaar to Lukla - May 25
The trekking group was up early. They had to leave at 07.30hrs. It was a long
trek to Namche Bazaar and it was important to leave before the heat of the
day. Lunch was in Phakding. Pat, Clare, Pemba, Rinji, Grainne, Kevin and
Adrian stayed as a helicopter had been ordered. The weather was not suitable
for flying. After waiting for many hours, it transpired that no helicopters
would fly that day - due to weather.
Pat, Clare, Kevin, Grainne, Adrian, Pemba, Rinji left Namche Bazaar just at
lunch time and sped down the hillside. Adrian was unwell and went at a slower
pace accompanied by Pemba. On the way Adrian and Pemba learned of another
reason why there were no helicopters flying to Namche. Those that could fly in
cloud were involved in a search.
A Yeti Airlines cargo aircraft had left Kathmandu and had not arrived in
Lukla. An air search revealed that the aeroplane had crashed into the steep
hills to the south of Lukla. Three people had died, there were no survivors.
Adrian and Pemba met several climbers, who until several days ago were on the
slopes of Everest and were now rushing to get their climbing gear to help in
the recovery mission.
Jerry and Ang Rita welcome the last of us into Lukla. They were in jovial
mood. It was an act on their part. They also knew about the crash. At the end
of the dinner all were informed about the tragedy. It was important that
everyone was aware why those living in Lukla were not in buoyant mood.
Later in the evening a large M17 helicopter arrived to carry the mountaineers
to above the crash site. Lhakpa, a friend and member of the Irish Team was one
of the first to be ready. They had over 500 feet to abseil to recover the
bodies of their kinsmen. A sad day for the people of Lukla The mountain
community relies on the airlines and many would be related to aircrew -
including those who had been killed.
The crash and resulting deaths brings home how harsh the mountain environment
can be and how easy things can go wrong. As the night began, Monks started
prayers and rituals for the dead and for the safe return of the rescuers.
Lukla to Kathmandu - May 26
06.00hrs. Yeti Airlines cancelled all flights today. All aircraft were
grounded due to checks. This was known from the previous evening and Ang Rita
and his friends had worked through the night to get all of us out. This was
particular hard for him as he knew those in the crash.
Nevertheless at 06.30am the news arrived, here were 5 seats on the next flight
with Sita Air. Pat, Clare, Kevin, Grainne and Adrian covered the mile to the
airstrip and were met by Ang Rita. All his people had the boarding passes
ready. At 07.00hrs the aircraft took off.
On arrival we were met by Mingma, who immediately whisked us away to the
Thamel Hotel. He told us that all the others would be on the next few flights.
At the hotel he looked for details those who wanted to try to get earlier
The rest of the day was spent strolling around Kathmandu. Shopping and
sightseeing took up time. Some of the lads shaved and had haircuts. Kevin and
Grainne got the news that they were on a flight at 20.00hrs and headed for the
airport at 17.30hrs. Others also had managed to get tickets changed. Mingma
was doing great work and was busy trying to get additional flights changed.
It was time to eat and a table was booked at the Rum Doodle. For those of you
who know the graphic account of this truly wonderful climbing adventure by W.E.
Bowman, you would understand the importance of dining here. For those who are
not aware of the epic involving Tom Burley, Christopher Wish, Donald Shute,
Humphrey Jungle, Lancelot Constant and Ridley Prone - I will borrow the words
of O.Totter: "Read this book twice, so should everybody who honours courage
We were joined by Alan Hinkes. Later a friend from EBC, Tim, joined us for
dinner. He was putting the final touches to the Friendship Beyond Borders
Expedition, that had seen a Sherpa known to many for his bravery summit
Everest, his bravery was not just for climbing, but for climbing Everest with
an artificial leg.
CHECK OUT THE STORY ON THE FOLLOWING WEB ADDRESS - SEE WHAT CAN BE ACHIEVED
It was a pleasant evening spent in great company. To sit and eat in an
establishment that was inspired by high adventure above the Rankling La in the
Yogistan was a privilege.
Many photographs were taken and the Traditional Footprint was signed by
everyone at our table. Clare chose the spot on the wall and we watched proudly
as it was nailed to the wall.
All, bar one hotel bound brave, headed off into the Kathmandu darkness to
locate further entertainment - a perfect spot to practice night navigation.
After finding somewhere to re-hydrate, some were good navigators and were
tucked up just after 01.00hrs. Others perhaps need more practice as the last
to cross the post was nearer 05.00hrs. - much too much of the Humphrey Jungle
- The Wanderer - approach.
All in all a splendid time, great fun, company, food, fantastic location in a
night that all too soon became the morning. Alan Hinkley
Success on Island Peak
At 7:44am on the 25th May, Tim Orr and Sheila Kavanagh (pictured) stood on the
summit of Imja Tse (Island Peak) 20,305ft.
veteran expedition leader, Everest climber, author and motivational
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