Tom McMillan left a short message by satellite phone on Saturday afternoon Pacific Time/early Sunday morning Nepali Time.
He said that they were in Lukla, waiting for a flight to Kathmandu. But the heavy clouds and rainy had prevented any flights into or out of that airport for the time being.
They will have to wait there until the weather improves. Weather maps indicate rain for that area, heaviest during Sunday night, with generally light winds.
At the offices of Porters' Progress in Lukla, I had the chance to meet Ben Ayers. I learned more about the crucial role that porters play in Nepal and what is being done by Ben Ayers and his team to protect them.
Having completed the Everest base camp trek, I had a better idea of what it must be like for porters who find themselves in the high mountain areas without adequate clothing to keep them warm and dry. After my visit to the Porters' Progress office, I returned to my lodge to repack my duffle bags before flying to Kathmandu the next day. This gave me the perfect chance to pull out all the items I would no longer need, and donate them to Porters' Progress.
I encourage you to learn more about the crucial role that porters play in Nepal, and what YOU can do, as a trekker or climber, to protect them.
While the team waits for a flight to Kathmandu, they will be able to ponder their summit achievement, and re-live some of the more exciting moments.
Like this one, created by the talented "Icefall Doctors". It shows three of our team members climbing the super-long ladder system that surmounted the final headwall of the Khumbu Icefall. Not far from the top of the headwall lies Camp 1. Reports were that 3 or 4 aluminum ladders had to be lashed together with ropes to reach the top of the headwall--quite a "dynamic" climbing experience!
All the climbers in all the teams doing the South Col Route had to go up AND down these ladders many times while they were acclimatizing, ferrying loads of gear to the camps, and then making their summit bids.
This photo, taken by Nawang, was featured recently on the excellent BasecampMD.com website. It shows Tom in the middle (with the bright greenish-yellow boot gaiters) flanked by two of our Sherpa team members.
© McMillan Associates 2004-6. All rights reserved.
team may have to wait in Lukla until
the weather improves and flights resume
Lulka is a major focal point for trekking in Nepal AND it's the headquarters in the Khumbu region for the wonderful non-profit organization, Porters' Progress.
An American climber, Ben Ayers, founded Porters' Progress two years ago, when he decided to work as a porter to understand the conditions and challenges they face in their lives. His impressive team's mission is to help these strong, proud, but often very vulnerable workers. They are essential to the trekking industry and to the transport of food, beverages, equipment, buildng materials, furniture, and many, many other goods in much of Nepal.
In late April I stopped in at their office on the main street of Lukla (near the bakeries), and had the chance to meet Ben and hear a presentation about their important work.
As explained on their website,
"Porters' Progress is now improving the working conditions for Nepali porters through programs that emphasize advocacy, education, and empowerment. Our programs and our staff work simply to facilitate ideas generated by porters -- as their involvement and ideas will ensure that our work remains appropriate and effective. Our offices create an environment that is attractive to both porters and foreign trekkers - thus providing an opportunity for porters to interact, exchange with, and learn from foreigners that is not available elsewhere in the trekking industry."
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