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As a correspondent “MK” went to Everest

If almost no power to move the legs, and turned over in bed from side to side, you can not catch my breath for a long time, it is not necessarily a fatal illness or old age. This is the height. Every year thousands of people seek the Himalayas, to the extent possible to approach the highest point on earth – the summit of Everest. The correspondent “MK” has risen to a height of 5,600 m, Mount Everest with my own eyes I saw, felt that this mountain sickness, and found out why the man to climb so high.

I was awakened by an alarm clock jitter on the phone. The screen displays the numbers viciously 4.15. While in Moscow, many of my friends just go to bed, in the mountains for some reason called the morning. Pulled deeper into the ears of a hat, I crawled out of a sleeping bag in the down jacket. Flashlight beam fell into the darkness – the morning is that even though pitch dark, and in high-den, where I sat down for another night, the lights are not provided. While his neighbors were. Almost to the touch found a heavy iron Trekking shoes and a mug. Icy shoes pulled a piece of a mug primerzshuyu toothbrush, caught her breath and rolled on the Himalayan slopes – start a new day of our ascent. O Lord, because I will not be forced to trudge here!

Photo: Natalie Gubernatorova

And it all began, as usual, is simple: a friend found the cheapest in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. Track this we had already hozhena, but such a country of Nepal – once hooked and never let go. Decided to go at once, but so far discussed the route, the tickets started to go up rapidly, we had to quickly make a decision. And then it became obvious that it makes no sense to think what to do in a country where there is Everest. You just have to look at it. And as close as possible. Here you have vacation plans.

Shoes change, stick to buy

If you do not know how to approach the solution of the problem, start with the simplest. Everything connected with Everest, begins with the base camp. With him are beginning to climb the “roof of the world” a serious-minded climbers, and they also end up traveling to the Himalayas “kettles” like us. Base camp on Everest two: one from the Chinese side, the other in Nepal. Climbers often prefer to Nepal. They say there are fewer blows. Dummies also attract price-friendly visa regime and friendly welcome. In Nepal, tourists still are sincerely glad to not only tour operators and local residents. Opened in the mid-nineteenth century to the outside world country eagerly absorb any of its information. But she strongly attracts attention. The flow of tourists is growing at a rate of rock avalanches. In response, a clear sign of the fundamental work of capitalism – the Internet is full of suggestions. The most popular – an unforgettable journey to base camp. And once the mass of rave reviews, travel agencies assured that even a child will rise … Suddenly, it was found that the highest point on earth – one of the most affordable average person. Well, if not the top, then certainly its surroundings accurately. Without hesitation, we chose the “classics” – Everest Base Camp (altitude 5300 m) and the peak of Mount Kala Pattar, (5,500 m). Then at the very top of the GPRS has shown us the height of 5660 (officially the last time it was fixed before the invention of this device), which is several meters higher than Mount Elbrus! So high we will never rise, so do not hesitate to decide to go.

However, the very first contact with our guides slightly cooled the hot heads. A list of recommended medications in case of hypoxia (altitude sickness, or “gornyashki” in common parlance), questions about the physical condition. Yes, friend and coach, almost taking on Olympic heights in the gym when he heard the news, puzzled eyes and patted “wheeled” to it to normal treadmill for an hour with the unthinkable bias. But the difficulties we are not accustomed, we stuffed backpacks with warm stuff and flew to Kathmandu.

In the office, travel agency, we were met warmly, but cautiously. Well speaking in Russian Prem Nepali, which led us to conquer the Himalayas, sweet look at our “proven” sneakers and listened patiently to reflections on the theme “without trekking poles to climb easier, better leave your hands free.” When our stock of knowledge of tourism has dried up, briefly stated: to change the boots, sticks to buy. And we dragged on shopping. In Kathmandu, the tourist can buy everything. And if much puzzled, that “everything” will be quite acceptable quality. But in most cases the quality is now Asian. Although at the height of comfort you will be provided. And the price is fully atone for a possible “one-off.” The set of shoes with thick soles and trekking, like skiing, sticks (they’re really very easy ascent, because the person turns out not two, but four points of support), we were told to buy good sunglasses and sunscreen. Yes, and sellers are persistently reminded of socks, stocking and other small items. And do not think that Nepalis want you to breed, have not learned yet. Then, rising higher and higher, you do not just remember the good word of the seller, who did “vtyuhal” You woolen mittens and a hat with ears.

The next day early morning we were loaded into a tiny, 20 seats, the plane to fly to Lukla (2280 m), which begins almost every tourist mountain trails of Nepal.

- Try to take place on the left at the beginning, you will not regret – Prem whispered to us.

Sit and do not regret it. On the starboard side of the sun was rising Himalayan lazy, and our windows showed a picture that could adorn any tourist brochure. Graduated from the mountains of rice fields, bright red spots on the tops of the monasteries. Sometimes, skirting the next hill, we were flying so close to the rock that you could count the chickens in the village courts. 40 minutes of airplane trips in the Himalayas, and our plane sits on a very high mountain and a short runway in the world, steadily approaching the cliff. When it seems that all is lost and Everest I never see him again, he famously turns around and parked in a series of similar air Lilliputians. We go out and breathe fresh mountain air. Until our top 3,300 meters.

In fact, the Himalayas met with our group very well. No small podlyanok as a hopelessly bad weather for 11 days of travel, and Everest frown, but it is a friendly show up in all designated nature places. The first day of the ascent to base camp was like a promotional video: almost all the way down the slope, and around the turquoise river with suspension bridges, sun-drenched hillsides, which neatly as in old paintings, entered villages (I must say, the order of wealthy over the past years due to an endless stream of tourists – satellite dishes are no less than we have on the ruble, the benefit of themselves and that the satellites are closer). Sometimes we saw little circus local “dzhigits” speeding on a horse galloping on the rickety suspension bridge. Bright colors and piercingly blue sky dotted with day and almost white on the stars at night … Mountain rasstaralis to fame, taking another batch of tourists. Warmed by the sun, we believe that all we get.

The stairs to the roof of the world
The stairs to the roof of the world

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On the second day, climbing up, I began to recall that the “smart in the mountain will not go.” I wanted to call and waiting for rescuers to lie on a path that ever had to share with the local truck transport – caravans of pack donkeys, yaks and yak cows and hybrid (much as they crossed the Nepalese do not understand – cows do not rise above 3000 m, and the yaks refuse to go down below 4000 m) with a discordant to the Russian ear the name “Joppy”. Prem has not been able to get our group to call these animals in Nepalese.

Out of these paths, beaten to a state of mountain highway, and other trucks – Sherpas, the people lived for centuries in the Himalayas. These supermen mountain very tall and rather frail-looking. But if you need to drag to a height of 5000 meters cupboard or refrigerator, safe hire a Sherpa. He was wrapping cord load, load on his back, strengthening the forehead strap, and go up the hill. We must honestly admit our main luggage is also carrying Sherpas. By linking together two or three cause we fear a backpack, they shouldered them on the back and stamped briskly up. We do, putting excessive burden on the backs of backpack with sun cream and a camera and less confident turning over sticks, dragged behind (and in fact in the gym seemed to me to be envied by the mountain goats!). Next to walking briskly Prem singing Nepali songs to lift the spirit of travel. My spirit was almost broken, the insult would hit him with a stick, but the force needed to move my feet. By night we reached the main transit point on the route – the capital of the Sherpa of Namche Bazaar (3440 m).

It is not the most beautiful

- Do not worry, to reach the base camp is not all – broadcast at dinner a young man in the middle of the table.

- And that’s just gornyashka will cover all – echoed neighbor.

The group, which we joined to climb, it seems, were largely optimistic. We looked at a premium.

- We will go slowly, everything will be fine! And the kit we have is very good. And your insurance is designed for rescue helicopter – zavorkoval Prem. – But the slightest indisposition immediately say!

Namche – the last bastion of civilization, complete with crisp linens, sheets, heaters and hot shower in the room. The city is situated on the slope like an amphitheater around the main square of the Buddhist stupa. Almost all hotel rooms are built with only one side – where the views of the snow-capped peaks, from the same rocks just a corridor. The next morning, razleplyaya eyes, I see a black square box, we were going to meet a dawn.

Climb the stone stairs, up the street to a large meadow. It is outside the city limits. Hence, according to Prem, best seen Everest. Bathed in the cold light of the full moon, as if cast from steel, are shestitysyachniki. From the breath is steam, we ezhimsya and wrapped in a jacket. While crept into the clearing, did not notice that lit up the sky. Seated side by side on the rocks, still drowsy, we began to wait for a miracle. It happened suddenly, because the top front of us “fired” a ray of light, and immediately joined, began to play with fire gold snowy peak behind our backs. We whirled like frightened sparrows. One after another, sparkling and shimmering, revived the mountain. For this, we first lost the splendor of the most important thing.

- Where? Where is he? – Suddenly startled anyone. We rushed to the guides.

- Get out between two vertices dark – Prem shown in the dark side of rock towering above the rest. – He has a slope on this side of a steep, snow blows, so it is dark.

We stood and looked at it, for what went this far.

- Something he is not the most beautiful, – I said, puzzled.

- And he did not have to be the most beautiful, – said someone from behind. – It is enough that he is the highest.

I go back to the room to pack and freeze in – the window as if on parade lined sunlit snowfields. I understand that no single view of the sea from the five-star hotel did not call in my heart such joy. From my stupor displays a knock at the door, we must hurry.

In general, all life in the mountain passes in the morning, until the wind increased and napolzli clouds. We got up at 4-5 in the morning, walked the whole day, but it still does not always have time to set. After dinner, as scheduled, and the clouds began creeping wind. Our ascent to the program, as it turned out, attached and rain, and sleet and even snow storm. But it is precisely they who facilitated the task – to trudge up under the scorching sun, a dubious pleasure. After Namche Bazaar we went to a really slow. Passing a day for 10-12 miles, we climbed to 300-400 meters, no more. Stopped for the night, and if it is not dark, raised above the point where going to spend the night, about two hundred meters.

- Since the body accustomed to the altitude, trying to avoid severe episodes of hypoxia – explained to us on one of the lifeguard stands from the United States, Maria, for several months working in Nepal. – The higher, the less oxygen in the air. From his lack of the human body begins to suffer. When a person needs a strong indisposition to breathe oxygen or send down. No other way.

Prepare in advance for this organism is impossible, and the habit is not always helpful. 70 percent of the patients of Mary – Sherpas with “gornyashkoy.” But they are worn all season in the Himalayas as the shuttles. And the guides, it is worth it, for example, a couple of months to lie on the sea, begins at a height of not less rigmarole than tourists. The catch is that the body’s response to oxygen deprivation is unpredictable. Already on the way back, we learned that the group had flown to Lukla with us, with a route to rescue helicopter took out a young man with pulmonary edema. It happened back in Namche Bazaar, where our group is not that a headache, a hangover, it really was not. “Gornyashka” does not depend on age. Climbing higher, we constantly overtook foreigners such old age, that began to seem as though we were in a sanatorium in the mineral waters. All the way, going to the route, we almost immediately utykalis in a group of Japanese retirees who snail crawling up the ball. Stumbling over the stones, cursing, we overtook this “Oriental Express”. And then exhausted, leaning back against the cobblestones, looking like they are monotonically shuffling past us. In the morning, they looked so cheerful, as if drawn into their lungs all the oxygen from the air.

In our group, “gornyashka” all covered. Every morning at breakfast we saw her frown wrinkled face. This is unless you see the morning on January 1. The boys argued feebly, who already “gornyashka,” and who banal hangover. We all knew about myself just because alcohol is not even sniffed. The legs are swollen and badly fit in the shoes in the mirror caused resentment, headache, any simple movements result in shortness of breath. The group sat on tsitramon, which helped for long. The yield on the route of the morning was akin to heroism. But then the sun was warm, the body is thawed, and the road will not seem so unbearable. It turned out that there are many ways to make your life easier at altitude. By the middle of the road we have collected from more experienced travelers as much information about how to breathe, walk, eat better than that caused difficulties in the first days of a bitter smile. Yes, from “gornyashki” can not be insured, but to avoid the difficulties of the masses can be subject to certain rules, sound gear, a good physical preparation and the right mental attitude. The basis of its simple – understand that it will be difficult in any case and whatever your goal, the mountains can make plans for a completely unpredictable. Even with the most ambitious plans for the chances to come back alive and healthy is the only one who is ready if necessary to leave them and go down.

But it turns out, it was in the mental attitude Russian tourist is quite different from the foreigner. The Japanese, Europeans, Americans go to the Himalayas sport to relax. Climbing the mountain usual tourist route, they do not pose a great purpose. Simply go to see all this beauty and how to stretch your bones. Some were going to yak, and then they have a much warmer. So they go the route most of our compatriots. Our guide, no matter how he tried, he could not remember that in his group withdrew because of ill health (critical situation does not count) at least one tourist from Russia. Even more attentive to their health of the woman seeking to achieve the planned summit. Remember, like Vysotsky: Who here did not happen, who did not risked, he himself has not experienced? This is the approach of the Russian tourists.

When I sat down helplessly on the rock to reach the summit of our journey at Mount Kala Patar, all experienced difficulty suddenly become small and insignificant. I have before me from horizon to horizon stretched a string of the highest mountains on earth. For this and go to Kala Patar,. This black boring mountain sticking out from Khumbu Glacier, which settled the base camp. It was with her the most beautiful view on the great Himalayan dance: Khumbutsze, Changtsze, Lhotse, Nuptse. And over them scowling, as usual, Everest.

In the shower was an absolute joy and pride in themselves. Pride without any “buts”. In real life this does not happen. My head spun, another line from Vysotsky: at the bottom can not be found, no matter how tyanis, for all his life a happy one tenth of these beauties and wonders …

I sat and realized: now only the stars above me, well, completely insane climbers.

Shriya: meeting and farewell

While waiting for dinner we kuchkovalis near the center of the universe – the stove, stoked by the Nepalese dung (cakes of dried yak dung). In these stoves boiled tea is heated and dry off tourists. No other heating system. Above 4000 m there is not a single tree. Since electricity is also a problem – the day was rain, and solar cells (virtually the only local source of electricity) stood idle. Our group settled down for the night in the highland village of the planet – Gorak Shep, (5170 m). To the base camp at hand.

In the cozy atmosphere of the van all quickly become “friends”. One of itself gestures and nods struck up a conversation with a young dark woman at the next table. Shriya Shah – Canadian Nepali origin, descended from the second camp (6600 m) to wait out bad weather. Just a couple of days off – and back up. First, the base camp, then the second, third, and on the top. We strongly come out of hibernation: how, right at the top? We have not moved away from the shock, while Prem is the role of interpreter – inquired the details and sends us. Conquer Everest – Shrii childhood dream. Another little girl in Kathmandu, she heard about the first Nepalese woman Pasang Lama, to climb Everest. Pasang died during the descent from the summit, and decided to subdue unruly Shriya top. Since then she has grown up, married and lived in various countries, but the dream has not changed. Shriya made several attempts to conquer Mount Everest. This year, once again leaving behind her husband in Canada, she came to his native Nepal.

Those for whom the base camp – the starting point, not lounging tourists. Each seeks to conquer the summit and become in any way first. Simple titles – “the first citizen of his country,” “first woman”, “the youngest, oldest, fastest” – has already ended. Now come up with something new. Shriya admitted that she wants to be the first Canadian girl of Asian descent, won the Mt. And I could not understand how she manages such a height as to look good. Is it not cold, not hard! Must be a secret! In response, Shriya just laughed and shook her head:

- Whatever you wear, it is still cold. To get used to it impossible. Jackets must, of course, to pick right, but my secret – beautiful lingerie, perfume and a nice top! You are to base camp tomorrow? I’ll go.

The next day, on his way to the base camp we were stopped by the growing rumble of thunder rolling. We shook his head in amazement.

- Avalanche – poked a finger in the direction opposite the top of Prem. He already took out the camera. From the top of shestitysyachnika if someone huge tongue licked the snow. We are fascinated watching the snow mass picks up speed, rises into the air and drops a huge cloud, covering a bizarre twists of Khumbu Glacier. A little further down tiny yellow spots swaying tent camp. I suddenly remembered that we recently whined, begging to go Prem road along the bottom of the glacier. Well, that did not. Near the first base camp tents, we stumbled upon the New Zealanders, taking photos with his pants down. We ask: are you so get ready to go upstairs?

- No, of course! – Dashing guys pull his pants. – We spend the night here – and down.

Yes, the people in the camp patchy. Someone jumps on the glacier of the joy that came, someone is preparing for the main event of his life. And someone arrives make pictures. Prem says that wealthy people it has become fashionable. Not wanting to push on the trails and fight “gornyashkoy,” they fly by helicopter to the camp from Lukla (this is fun about 6000 dollars) or a private aircraft from Kathmandu, breathing the rarefied mountain air, photographed and sent back. The most extreme rich people hire almost an entire army of Sherpas, who for nearly a tidy sum at the hands of a tourist being dragged to the top.

Shriya Shah
Nepalese climber :Shriya Shah

Although self-climbing – not a cheap pleasure. For the right to climb to the summit from the Nepal team of seven people to shell out about 50 thousand dollars. 5 more people can join to 10 thousand dollars each. If you choose a classic route through the southern saddle, another 20 thousand from the group. It should be reserved at least two cylinders of oxygen, which cost more than a thousand dollars, for the passage of the “zone of death” – the last 700 meters to the summit. Here, the amount of oxygen in the air three times smaller than ours, at the bottom. However, in the season (March – end of May and August-October) each year, dialed 200, “abnormal”, determined to conquer the highest point of land.

Only here no commitment, no money will not guarantee results. Mountains make their own adjustments. Sometimes, using themselves as tourists. Shriya has reached the top, but to become the first Canadian girl of Asian origin conquered Everest she did not come. In Moscow, we learned that she, like a woman, gave her the main dream of life, died on the descent. Killed, once in the “logjam” of going down in the “zone of death”! Last season, due to the large influx of climbers Government of Nepal threatened to restrict the flow of tourists. The capacity of rope ladders, which set a special Sherpa, was too small. Another possibility to go there, and exhausted people had to wait a few hours the opportunity to begin the descent. 33-year-old Shriya did not wait for their turn.

In the entire history of the conquest of Everest to the summit came about 1350 people from 58 countries worldwide. Back is not returned to 160 people. People freeze on the way down, break down into the cracks, do not maintain oxygen starvation. But every year come new “abnormal” that stubbornly climb up. Why is it pulls the man to conquer Mount Everest? Early last century, the first “crazy” George Mallory replied curtly: “Because he is!”

The editors thank

Travel Agency
Himalayan Glacier Trekking P. Ltd

Director for Relations with Russia’s Denis Lipatov customers

skype: den.lipatov
+7-905-2185298 (Beeline, St. Petersburg)
+7-968-8977984 (Beeline, Moscow)