Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Seoul Train

Everest 2016  •  March 25

Time always seems to get compressed as the departure date approaches.  The logistics of getting packed are one thing, and wrapping up work is something else entirely.  Much less chaos than last time… but still… too much chaos!  I managed to leave a minimal mess behind, so there’s that.  But, worst of all, there is never enough time to spend with my family.  But, somehow, they stick with me through this crazy process.

Lucky to have my lovely family drive me to the airport!
Lucky to have my lovely family drive me to the airport!
If they are happy, it must be the break from their school days.
If they are happy, it must be the break from their school days.
Yes, those bags almost pile higher than my son.
Yes, those bags almost pile higher than my son.
Matthew loathes public displays of affection.
Matthew loathes public displays of affection.

I was so pleased to find that Greg and Josh, two IMG guides whom I know well, were on the same flight (to Seoul, then Kathmandu after an overnight layover).  This is auspicious for sure!

Nothing runs as smoothly as we wish… In this case, my buddies Steven and Kim were stuck in Denver due to a massive, freak snowstorm that closed the entire airport.  70F the day before, and bluebird the next day… but for just that morning the mountain gods said NO to their plans.  No worries, they will catch up with us soon.  In fact, Kim got to stay with my family in Seattle for a night, and this worked out perfectly because she was willing to bring some new nose guards that arrived in the mail moments after I left… plus some aged gouda cheese that I forgot to grab from the fridge.  We’ll see how it travels…

Kim gets to see my family a day after I left. Jealous!
Kim gets to see my family a day after I left. Jealous!

Flying in to Nepal was amazing.  The plains of Bangladesh and India are totally flat… and then, out of the haze, the Himalayas rise like a jagged wall.  At the center of the largest massif: Everest.  More snow on top than I recall from last year, but tough to tell from this perspective.  Auspicious, perhaps, to see the summit from eye level.  Tall, cold, and beautiful… This will be epic.

Leaving South Korea.
Leaving South Korea.
The mountains of China, not too far from Yangshuo adn Guilin.
The mountains of China, not too far from Yangshuo and Guilin.
Everest: Tall, cold, beautiful.
Everest: Tall, cold, beautiful.

How does Kathmandu look a year later?  Much the same.  We saw only a tiny snippet of the city, however, and so my impression may be very skewed.  Certainly life seemed to have returned largely to its usual, riotous self.  Perhaps more construction than I recall from before… and very bad air quality today, unfortunately.

Kathmandu seems similar to my last visit here... air quality happened to be quite poor this day.
Kathmandu seems similar to my last visit here… air quality happened to be quite poor this day.
A happily riotous street scene.
A happily riotous street scene.

Great time meeting some new teammates, and reconnecting with old friends, including my guides Justin and Emily.

I passed the gear check… then struggled to get the weight and balance right as I repacked everything.  Most of my gear will go to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and sit there, waiting for me to arrive circa April 7.  The rest goes into my trekking duffel, or into my pack.  Weight is a real issue for the planes that fly to Lukla, so we need to get everything down to the lightest possible weight.  No worries.

Gear check in the Hotel Tibet. This is some of it...
Gear check in the Hotel Tibet. This is some of it…
And much of the rest here.
And much of the rest here.
My electronics, extra food, hydration bottle, and foot gear. Check.
My electronics, extra food, hydration bottle, and foot gear. Check.

I had no net access for that first day, which was frustrating, not being able to easily call home.  But, it was a busy day and there will be plenty of time to talk with my clan tomorrow.  Sleep came swiftly, a blessing given the 12 hours, 45 minutes of jet lag.

6 thoughts on “Seoul Train

  1. Good to hear you arrived safely and with all the gear you will need. Katie and the boys are here. Rafa is playing golf. Matt and Yen and Miles should be here any minute. Stan and Elyse too. We are going to color eggs and await the Easter bunny’s arrival tomorrow. We miss you but are excited for you! Xox

    1. But then Kim was snowed in in Denver, and she ended up spending the night in Seattle on the way to Seoul, and we gave HER the cheese!

      Except for the cheese Z ate. Paul was quite chagrined when he realized someone had cut off a chunk. She was all, “You put cheese in the fridge! What did you think I was going to do?”

      Lesson: Next time label it “Everest Cheese.”

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