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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What does a typical Everest expedition look like? Post 3: Departure Day and Arrival in Kathmandu

Departure Day (April 6th or so)

Flying with climbing gear is a chore.  I hate airport stress so I typically get to the airport at least 2 hours in advance - especially when traveling with climbing gear.  There is nothing worse - in my opinion - than running through the airport trying to clear security and get to your plane on time.  I have been in that situation before and it is awful running down the jetport, sweating like a pig and then trying to find my seat.  The relaxed approach is much easier on everyone.  So I leave early, get the airport with plenty of time, fill up my Nalgene bottle after I get through security and start drinking water continuously.  I never flew to Kathmandu but have flown overseas many times before. Flights are long and crowded but I sleep like a king almost any place.  As I say to my friends, I could sleep duct taped to the wall. According to various flight booking sites, here is the direct route:



For $1500, you get a 30-35 hour flight with one stop in some beautiful place like Qatar or Abu Dhabi.  Most flights leave in the evening from the US and land in Kathmandu sometime during the afternoon 2 days later.

I fully intend to eat my way through the US airports before departing.  Perhaps a huge sandwich, Starbucks, and even some sit down sushi.  Yeah, I am not afraid to eat sushi at the airport.  Once aboard, I stay awake for the first and last 15 minutes of every flight.  Those two segments are the most likely times to have a mishap on the airplane.  During those segments, I wear my shoes (flip-flops usually) and have nothing in front of me to distract me.  My son and I have a pre-flight checklist.  We count the number of seats in front and behind to the nearest exits.  Should we run into trouble, we devise a plan for the nearest exit.  This whole ritual freaks Kathy out a bit.  Patrick and I remain steadfast proponents of being prepared.  I might not have made it in the scouts but I sure live by the motto "Be Prepared."  Off we go, into our flight.  After the first 15 minutes, I fall asleep and usually awake sometime about 30 minutes prior to landing.  One flight to Australia, I slept for 12 hours - perhaps even more.  Yeah, I know.  Staying in one seat during a flight is bad for circulation.  It never seems to bother me.  I toss and turn while sleeping upright so that movement probably helps my circulation.

Arrival (April 8th or before)

The main hope when I arrive is that all my baggage arrives with me.  Landing without your climbing gear really starts the climb poorly.  Here is where I will land (1,300 m or 4,200 feet above sea level):

Looks just like a small airport in the US.  The first leg of my journey is over at this point.  From here onward, I intend to follow the steps outlined by Dan Mazur and his Summit Climb group.  You can find more information if you want the details at his website.