|Holy @*&!, That's *&#& Everest!!|
"Holy shit, that's f-ing Everest!" Charles replied.
There's really nothing else to be said. It didn't seem real. It was completely unlike the Nepalese experience, so much so that it was hard to believe I was looking at the same mountain I had glimpsed 5 years before. In Nepal, you first fly into the comically dangerous strip of pavement glued to a mountainside known as Lukla.
Don't try to land at Lukla in the fog
|View of Everest from atop Kala Pattar, mostly hidden behind Nupste's west face|
(For some gorgeous photos and a great blog on EBC from Nepal, click here...)
First glimpse of the Big Boys after days of driving
In Tibet, we had just driven for two days from Lhasa, past 6 or 7 military checkpoints, through endless barren mud-colored mountains. The last part takes you on a brutal gravel washboard track for 3 more exhausting hours, bumping out your fillings in an old rattling Toyota landcruiser. We had gotten a nice glimpse of the Himalaya earlier from Pang La pass, hooting and high-fiving at the first look of the Big Boys. The view from the pass is actually quite dramatic, the peaks from left to right, on a lucky day, are Makalu (8462m) and Chomo Lonzo (7780m), Lhotse (8516m) and Everest (8848m), and off to the right Gyachung Kang (7952m) and Cho Oyu (8201m). (Click here for some insane photos of this pass, this lucky guy got it on a clear day and had a great camera).
|On top o the world (Everest just barely peaking out above my head (a little on the left) if you look hard....)|
Then it was another long descent, more rattling around, and an interesting "short-cut" as our Hell-on-Wheels driver decided to bypass the road and scream straight down the cliff. Somehow, we didn't roll off any thousand foot drops or get stuck as we bottomed out in a stream and the landcruiser scraped over the rocks.
And so, after such a tiring (and somewhat life-threatening) journey of the same old same, it was a shock to round a bend and Boom!
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
|Woot woot in technicolor|
We were bumping along a gravel road at around 4900m, jaws hitting our knees, staring straight up to the 8850m peak. The gain of nearly 4000m, or 2.5 miles, is just a number. It doesn't do the view a shred of justice. There wasn't a single cloud in the piercing blue sky.
Everest was alone, naked.
I am fairly certain I will never again witness such a spectacle.
Your moment of Zen, courtesy of Tibet