Jim Gill: A Travel Director Takes an Adventure Trip
The awe inspiring beauty of the Himalayan Mountains has lured many a climber, both experienced and inexperienced, to scale its magnificent heights. Jim Gill, a Travel Director from Australia, is one such climber. He says, “It was while browsing in a shop in Australia, that I saw the extraordinary photographs of the view from Kala Pattar. I promised to myself that one day I shall do the trek to the Everest Base Camp area and get these amazing views for myself. That was ten years ago. It has taken a long time to organize this trip. But I am here and I am proud of the fact that I’ve done it!”
With two metal knees and a climbing experience that spells ‘nil’, this fifty-year old English man has achieved an extraordinary feat. Jim Gill, along with his friends, did the classic Everest Base Camp trek with the Kala Pattar route and the Island Peak climb.
A little Information about the Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar Trek and Island Peak Climb
Located on top of the Chukung glacier between Ama Dablam and Lhotse Mountains, Island Peak is the most sought after trekking destination. Each year more than 300 groups attempt to scale the summit of Island peak. This trek offers an excellent opportunity to achieve a Himalayan Summit [6173m] together with an exhilarating trek to the Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar. The most difficult section is a mixed rock and ice wall at a slope of around 45 degrees leading to the narrow summit ridge.
The magnificent views from the summit, however, are certainly a fitting reward for your efforts. Before climbing Island Peak, you have to trek up the Dudh Kosi valley from Lukla, passing through Namche and Tengboche on your way to Kala Pattar and Everest Base Camp. Fully physically fit and acclimatized, you then head up the beautiful Imja Khola valley towards Island Peak. Besides trekking adventure, you also get to witness the traditional Sherpa villages and monasteries.
This trip can be done during March to May and September to December.
A physically fit and acclimatized person is well qualified to make an ascent over this Peak.
On September 2007, Jim Gill ( Travel Director of an Australian travel company, Travel Directors, at last fulfilled the promise that he had made to himself ten years back. Here we reproduce an account of his emotional journey to Kala Pattar and Everest Base Camp, and his challenging climb to Island Peak , as told to Explore Himalaya.
A Wish Fulfilled, A Promise Kept – Jim Gill Gets the Long Awaited View from KalaPattar
Twice the flights to Lukla were cancelled due to bad weather .It was a risky take to come here so early but the benefit of the risk was, we got to avoid the crowd. When we eventually reached Lukla, we were two days behind. But with the efforts of the fantastic team of sherpas and porters we had, we were able to make it up that time.
Trekking to Kala Pattar was the greatest experience in my life. It was tough but anybody should expect a little struggle in the sun. It is a tough trek, but the sense of fulfillment and achievement is wonderful. We had a magnificent team of porters, sherpas and support staff who made it a really wonderful experience. When we reached Kala Pattar the conditions were perfect. It was breathtaking. It was an emotional moment for me when we got to the top that I cried. It had been a long time since I cried but it was a very special moment.
I have done a lot of traveling and I would put the Everest Base Camp trek at the number one spot. I really would .The scenery is absolutely extraordinary. There is nothing like it in the world. Its magnificent. I also think the icing on the cake is the Nepalese people. Their hospitality, warmth and friendliness are one of a kind. For me the trekking experience was humbling.
On Climbing Island Peak
Since my climbing experience is nil, I had to learn everything on the go. The day I climbed Island Peak was the hardest day of my life. No question about it! We started at 3 o’clock in the morning. The weather condition was difficult and it was snowing. But we finished the climb and got back at 7 p.m. We set off from the base camp and we just went for it. The sherpas decided that the best chance we had, with the weather conditions, was just to make a dash for it . We reached the summit at around 1:30p.m. It was the highlight of my life. Those sixteen hours were the hardest hours of my life!
I am not an experienced climber. I have never held an ice axe or used a crampon. But I got two of the wonderful sherpas to help me because my legs had turned to jelly. It was frightening but it was exhilarating. It was snowing when we started off and when we got up to the snowline, the sight was really beautiful and magnificent. When we finally got to the summit, it was a whiteout. We couldn’t see anything. But I said to Pat, “Who cares what the weather’s like. We are here at the top!”
It was the sherpas and the pack of porters who got me to the top. They were wonderful and without them, there was no chance I would have got to the top. I am very proud of the fact that I got to the top on two metal knees. I don’t know if you know anybody else who have done it with metal knees, but I tell you it’s hard. You can’t bend your knees as much as you want to. Tremendous strength is required from the upper body .
Climbing a peak is something which you don’t treat lightly. You should give a lot of thought about it because it needs a lot of strength and determination but the rewards are just so great that I would say to people, ‘Have a go!’
Message to other Tourists Wishing to Visit Nepal
I have spent three weeks in Nepal. I have been staying in the center of Kathmandu for a week and I have faced no problem whatsoever. I think Nepal is no different from any other place in the world now. I mean it’s the same wherever you go. There are many more dangerous places in the world than Nepal. I really don’t think there’s a problem here. I think Nepal is a place where people should come to experience. Get out to Nepal and start climbing!
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