When I asked my friend if I could join their expedition to the Himalayas I was full of self confident. Walking in the mountains, sleeping in a tent with no running water or electricity, in the altitude for over four weeks? Peanuts! But as the date for our departure kept creeping up on me and I realized I was out of shape, quite fond of my shower and had no idea how to pack for such an adventure my nerves awoke. Sure, I had been trekking in Nepal before and I had slept in a tent a fair share of nights, but this was a climbing expedition to rural Nepal! Why would anyone agree to bring me along?!
I realize that it is necessary to include how this opportunity arose; my friend, who is actually my father’s friend and coworker in an NGO, was planning a climbing expedition with three professional Norwegian climbers to reach the summit of an unclimbed mountain in Nepal. The hight? Oh just about 7000 meters over sea level. On their way to base camp the plan was to help locals with basic health care, and make a documentary to inspire other travelers to do the same. And that is where I come in. As a restless young nurse I joined this expedition as part of my way into the organization called Medical Aid Mountaineering. And oh man, what a trip!
In Suti Khola the jeep could not take us any further and we had to start using our legs at 500 meters. Ahead of us waited two weeks of walking and about 5000 hight meters until we would reach base camp in the Larkya La passage. Two weeks of walking in a changing environment from typical Nepali villages to villages set up by tibethian refugees. The two weeks showed a change in climate, in lauguage, in people’s appearance.
Every day on our path we met people with cuts and wounds that needed cleaning, a bandage or some antiseptic ointment. Quick and easy for us, and possibly life saving for them. As thanks we often was invited into people’s homes and offered food and tea. An unique way to experience a new country and a new culture.
We reached the Larkya La passage and made our base camp there at 5000 meters, just below our mountain; Pewar Himal