We left Kathmandu this morning in a helicopter. It took only 45 minutes to fly to Lukla, from where we start our 7 day trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC). Today was just a short trek for about 2 hours from Lukla to Phakding, where our sirdar (head Sherpa) Dorje has a lodge. We stayed here last year as well.
I felt overjoyed to be back on the trek I took twice before. I love the scenery of the rolling hills and mountains and villages we pass by. It takes me to a different kind of world where there are no cars or roads, surrounded by beautiful nature and distinguished Nepali culture.
Only two days ago, I was sitting at the Coffee Bean in Delhi Airport with my latte, waiting for my flight to Kathmandu. I was excited I would be meeting my teammate Margaret again, as well as other friends and the rest of our Everest/Lhotse group. This will be my second Lhotse expedition, although last year’s doesn’t really count – we couldn’t climb above base camp due to a Sherpa strike.
I was still in the office a few hours before I had to go to the airport and catch my flight from Rome. It was a busy year at work after I returned from Lhotse last year. I counted that in 14 months since January 2014, I was home no longer than two full months and visited 11 countries for work or holiday. So I didn’t have the luxury of taking time to pack and relax before I rushed out of my office on Tuesday, because of the nature of my work and the fact I am self-funding my expeditions.
As I was sitting in Delhi reflecting on the upcoming adventure, I was a bit nervous thinking about the challenge ahead. Lhotse, the 4th highest mountain in the world, is also a very technical climb and I am expecting it to be a great challenge.
Many people who don’t know me well usually ask why I keep going back to do these extremely difficult climbs. My usual answer is climbing is not my ambition – it’s my passion and part of my lifestyle. I love the mountains and climbing gives me a great sense of joy and freedom. I also love a challenge of a longer duration than running a marathon – mental and physical endurance that makes me challenge my body and discover deep places in my soul I would never otherwise know existed.
Climbing is my hobby and lifestyle, but during my climbs I always remember those who are dear to me. Besides my friends and family, I cannot forget the faces of the people I encounter during my World Food Programme (WFP) missions in various parts of the world.
As I begin my Lhotse expedition, I feel it would be a wasted opportunity if I do not advocate the cause I care most about – to fight hunger in the world. This is my fourth year “climbing for zero hunger”. There are 805 million hungry people in the world on any given day.
If you would like to support my cause then please donate to WFP.