Friday, December 11, 2009

A flight to forget

Off we go into the Himalayas.  Step 1: Stop by the UN office in Kathmandu and pick up some tickets for a flight to Lukla, 10,000ft up in the mountains and give ourselves a head start.  Its a hair raising flight on an old Russian prop plane guided by pilots flying only by sight and what must be a sixth sense since it is cloudy 90% of the time.  Without heat you find yourself and the other nine passengers shivering and focusing in amazement on the mountains growing on the horizon you spot out of the front wind shield wondering if that one is Everest, or maybe its that one, or if that was Lhotse.  Buzzing 50ft from sheer cliff faces flying thousands of feet high yet still in the shadow of the peaks above really humbles and gives you a proper introduction to the Himalayan mountains you will be climbing.  Just past the pilot we could see our landing zone, a football field long runway on a steep incline carved several thousand feet up into the face of a mountain.  Everyone laughs a bit , thinking 'Christ, is this guy really going to try and land this beast on that thing'. Walking off this flight everyone had Jimmy legs from experience, and the knowledge we would have to take off down this runway and essentially fall off of a cliff at the end of this football field only made it worse.  But for now, on to the mountains...

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