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  Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: Dispatch 3

copyrightęThom Pollard

Dispatch 3 4/10/2004: We are in Nylam and all is well. Dan and Murari did a great job getting us here safely...and with all our gear!

4/11/2004: Today we woke to a beautiful blue sky dotted with a few fluffy clouds and a 1/2 moon, not a bad way to start a day. We gathered for breakfast and tried to decide who wanted to head to Tingri. Opinions were shared and decisions were made. 3 or 4 Land Cruisers were loaded and off they went on a 4-5 hour drive. Many of us wanted to stay in Nylam (3750m) as planned and hike the local hills. 13 members and 2 Sherpas met at 11:00am and started our trek. As one might expect, the group quickly spread out with each climber moving at his own comfort level; this was not a competition and the idea was to relax, acclimate, have fun, climb with friends, and that we did! The sun was strong, the winds were soft and everybody was filming, photographing and all around enjoying our first day of real exercise in two weeks. The surrounding mountains were snow filled and just wonderful to look at. In the distance we could see Shishapangma, the the 14th tallest mountain in the world. It was hard for the newcomers in the group (namely me) to do anything but stare in awe and try to keep our chins from dropping to the ground. The two Sherpas paid close attention to anyone who might need a little help or encouragement. As I was taking a few photos NgaWaung Gimba shouldered my daypack and said "you take pictures, I carry." I offered very little protest and even that was half-hearted. My hike ended at the summit 4270m, a new personal altitude record for me. Others continued to the next summit, a short hike away and about 50m higher. We moved quickly down the hill and shared a delicious lunch. It seems as if in Tibet there are no menus, you simply sit and they serve you what they have prepared; we had a huge bowl of rice and 4 or 5 dishes of nicely prepared vegetables and noodles. After a day of altitude and fresh air there were not many plates that were not wiped clean. We have a appointment in a little bit with our Sherpas to try some Tibetan tea, it is served with yak butter and salt and sounds absolutely dreadful. Tomorrow we head to Tingri and then to Chinese Base Camp. I'll be in touch as conditions allow. Right now I feel like a tired pup...and that is a good thing. TjW


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