Yetis and the Blessings of a Holy Man!
Highlights of the trek to Everest.
The box was unlocked as a special favour; the padlock found in a secret place. Inside was a hairy object that one of my team mates described as a 'sprouting coconut'.
'It is a Yeti skull,' one of the monks told us. I stared at it closely, fascinated by the mysterious relic. I asked to hold it but my request was denied. Many other similar Yeti relics have been stolen over the years and the monks of Khumjung jealously guard their prize.
Later we were blessed by Lama Geshe, one of the holiest men in the Everest region. It felt very special to hear his chants wishing us good fortune, and later each of us was presented with a holy thread tied around our necks.
These were just two of the incidents on our trek to Everest, a journey of two weeks in which the highlight was the first view of the mountain itself. To gaze on that faraway peak and know we would soon be living at the base of it was a special feeling indeed.
We train every day on nearby peaks up to 5,500 metres. And in the evenings we stay in lodges that are cosy and snug. There are plenty of opportunities to meet the local people and get to know them. They are always welcoming and curious to know about their exotic visitors!
Ultimately it is speed that proves the downfall of many teams. In their excitement to arrive they neglect to acclimatise properly.
Questions for class discussion:
1. It is important to gain height slowly on a high-altitude expedition. Why?
2. There are two types of high altitude sickness ... HAPE and HACE. What is the difference between them? What is the universal cure for anyone suffering from an altitude-related illness?
3. There are many dozens of monasteries in the Everest region. What do you think may be the main religions that are practised in the shadow of the world’s highest peak?
In the monastery of Khumjung we were given a rare view of this 'real' Yeti scalp! © Matt Dickinson
In addition to climbing Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary also founded the Khumjung school. © Matt Dickinson
The first view of Everest! An amazing moment! © Matt Dickinson
We were honoured by a special blessing by Lama Geshi, an important Buddhist holy man. © Matt Dickinson
Every day of the trek to Everest takes the climber into more spectacular zones. © Matt Dickinson
We are staying at lodges on our way to Everest. This is the one at Chukung. © Matt Dickinson