Sunday, March 31, 2013

April 1st a day to relax at 14,000 ft

It's 7:30 am I'm still in bed, too cold to walk the 50 yards to go pay for my shower right now. I'm typing this in my sleeping bag, but my hands are freezing. I did get up to brush my teeth, had to share the one sink with a French climber, that's okay, we are connected to the experience that climbers have with each other.

I don't know what day it is really, I just know when the sun goes up and when it comes down. Two of our doctors still have not caught up with us yet, one stayed behind with the one that got sick, we hope to see them today.

It's 6:15pm, the two people on the team left behind have made it to Pheriche to catch up with us. Doctor Chris looks much better. Some others in our party are reporting headaches. The lectures today have been about frost bite, avalanche, and degrees of hypothermia.

We did an acclimatizing hike up to 14,500 ft to a city called Dingboche. Feeling ok so far, no headaches at this point but each 400 meters we ascend we're told Acute Mountain Sickness is a possibility.
I feel I'm in good hands with nine doctors who specialize in outdoor medicine.

The pictures below are of the hike today, and the Sherpas sitting around the furnace. The Sherpa people are very strong generally for the work they do when they are working as porters, but they have their limits just like everyone else.

We are told it has been dropping below zero each night. One interesting thing you see day and night, yaks and horses just wandering through town unattended. Just this morning on the way to breakfast I was met by a yak just wandering through. I made sure to keep my distance.

It's 8:55, going to bed, we have an early climb to 15,000 ft.

Good night,



It's snowing here in Pheriche, and it's cold. A shower cost about $4.50, wifi is $6.00 a day. Because we are in such remote areas, this is the only way people can make a living. I've not seen anyone vehicle of any kind in days since I left Kathmandu, everyone walks everywhere; even if it takes days to get there, they do it on foot.

Another doctor has gotten sick, this makes four people on our trip that has gotten sick. Tonight we are staying at the Himalayan Hotel, which is like an international hostel. Provisions are spartan you must sleep in your sleeping bag and anything else you can find to stay warm.

I wanted to get a bell off a yak as a souvenir, not one I could buy in the store, so Pranav one the doctors took me to the place where the herdsman and women bring their yaks in for the night. Pranav spoke to three of the women to see if they would trade me one of the bells around a yak's neck for my new one. There was lots of negotiation going on, finally they said they would for 1500 Rupees. I decided to wait, Pranav said the culture considers the bell around the yak to be blessed and to bring good luck. if a cow were to die or if something else were to happen to it, they would never forgive themselves if I pursue buying the bell. In respect for the culture, I will not pursue the negotiations.

Arrived at Tyangboche at 4:10 pm

We have hiked for a little over 6hrs, all up hill; we are exhausted. We were able to see Everest up close with clear skies. We are currently at 12,780 ft or 3280 meters. All conversations are meters and kilometers so I must convert to feet and miles.

We had sunshine and snow today. The early morning was so clear that we were in short sleeves. The lectures today have been about lacerations and trauma in the wild. Improvised airway management was stressed to help the patient breathe. The photos of some of the trauma have been very graphic. One discussion was when to amputate and how to do it with limited tools.

I brought about 400 kids stickers to pass out as we pass through different towns, see the group of kids I encountered in a town we don't know the name of. The kids were great, and the parents were always appreciative.

The picture of the soldier at the check point was checking for our paperwork to pass through country, they all carried machine guns, so they were pretty serious.

We have crossed eight suspension bridges, they are pretty scary when the wind is blowing pretty hard. In the picture
here, a team of Yaks started to cross when the rest of our team was trying to cross and ended up having to turn around quickly and run back the other way because yaks don't turn around, and they are known to have knocked people over a mountain or suspension bridge. We have been instructed to move closest to the side furthest from the cliff because the yaks don't have any idea how wide the load is on their back. We pass at least 12-15 yak teams every day going up or down the mountain; a team of yaks can be as small as 3-yaks, and up to 12-15 yaks. I have had a few close calls where the yaks stopped, dipped their head and pointed their horns in my direction.

Today we had to leave one of our young doctors behind because he was experiencing stomach and head pains this is the third person in our team that has had problems. Altitude sickness can hit anyone, two of our team who have gotten ill are under 35. It is hard to tell when it's altitude sickness or a virus, but people do get sick as they start to gain altitude. We are constantly reminded to walk slow.

Profile #5

Hello, my name is Suzi Mackenzie. I am an Emergency and Family Practice doctor from Edinburgh, Scotland. This spring I am extremely lucky to be working at Everest ER for 10 weeks. This is a non profit clinic at Everest Base Camp, which treats climbers , Trekkers , and local Nepalis. I have previously worked in Nepal, Chile, and Australia. Working as a doctor is a fantastic way to combine an interesting and exciting job, with an opportunity to travel the world. Outside of work I love any outdoor sport including climbing, trekking, running and surfing.

Profile #6

Hello my name is Chris Clark. I am a family doctor from Utica, New York. My daughter and I are trekking to Everest Base Camp with the Wilderness Medicine Society. This is a bucket list trip for that I have looked forward to for years. Outside of work I bicycle, swim, kayak, cross country ski, play tennis and go caving.

Profile #8

Hello I am Pranav Koirala. I am a Nepalese doctor walking up to the Everest Base Camp to work in the Everest ER for 10 weeks. Walking up with the WMS group has really been a very good experience for me. I am very lucky to be learning so much from so many great people from different backgrounds. Namaste.

Arrived in Pheriche

4270 meters today, that's 14,015 ft. It's Easter Sunday, 6hrs today of hiking, again uphill. Today, I ended up following a yak team led by three women. It is brutally cold again, last night I slept in pants, a thick shirt, sleeping bag, a thermo liner, and my water bottle with boiled water in it to heat my feat.

Today the team played iPhone tunes on their phones to motivate us on the climb.
No showers today, we are all ok with it since everyone is the same boat. I'm getting a yak bell off of a yak, I have to trade my new one for the original that is being worn by the yak. Mostly my bag is going to smell like a yak is inside.

It had been snowing off and on along with the cold. Another member of our party became a little ill, that makes three of the 12 of us. I feel fine, so far no signs of having symptoms that I know of. Today's lecture is on nutrition and continuing with altitude sickness. I'm drinking lots of water, almost 1.5 liters a day.

We have seen Everest close up today, not enough words to describe what it's like to see the tallest point on earth, and to now meet so many people who are summiting Everest.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Profile #4

What's up Junior High Peeps!

I'm Clayborn Morris, an ER doctor - the doctor who works in the Emergency Department. I'm from Chicago but travel all over the world to work (Peru, Europe, Asia and Africa) I'm currently living in New Zealand and work in the Capitol city, Wellington (you should google map it). New Zealand is awesome! They have amazing outdoor adventures; I surf, hike, mountain bike, ice climb, sail, kayak and go canyoning (google canyoning in New Zealand - it's sick). Stay in school kids, it's worth it!

I'm currently hiking to Mt. Everest (thats right, Everest, the highest mountain in the world - booyeah!) to study how to take care of people at high altitudes - like when you go skiing or mountain climbing. It's a great time, tell your teacher that you want your next field trip to go to Nepal.

My only advice to junior high students would be to try everything! Go out for every sport, try out for every play, run for every office of student government, try the band, try the choir, take every elective - even art, ask out that girl you think wouldn't even talk to you - nothing ventured, nothing gained kids.

Dr. Morris - out.

Profile #3

Hello my name is Jim Schultz. I am a Family Doctor who came to the Everest Base Camp Emergency Room trip to learn more about mountain medicine and how to help prevent and treat medical problems that come up with altitude and backpacking.
I am the Medical Director for 11 Community Health Centers in Southern California; we provide medical, dental, and psychological care to the people who can't get health insurance and can't afford to go to a private doctor. 😷In my spare time I love to read, garden, run, backpack in the Sierras, do photography, and try to keep up on technology. I also play bass guitar in our church band until they decide I am too old πŸ˜•.

Backing it up; the flight to Lukla from Ksthmandu

This is catchup and should have been posted earlier. We left Kathmandu, Nepal on the 25th of March. The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla the beginning of our trip is suppose to be 45 min. The airport is loaded with Trekkers going all over the Himalayas, I would say the little airport has about 150 Trekkers with hiking gear strewn all over the place near chairs, tables, walls, and on people.

There is a nervousness here, we all know it, the flight to Lukla is one if the 10 most deadliest flights in the world to take because the plane takes off from the runway right off a cliff into a narrow mountain pass. You're sitting in a twin engine 15 passenger plane. Last year alone they had 6-plane fatalities. This is what made me the most nervous about the trip, I called Nepal from home to discuss the situation with Wongchu the head guide and owner of this trekking company: I was so nervous for months before. My good friend and boss Suzanne and I discussed it, I was and as I found out, everyone was a little on the concerned side "maybe I should rethink this"Frame of mind. I made a choice though I was afraid to go, to change my thinking and challenge my fear. Go to YouTube and write in "flight to Lukla" you will see what I mean.

The flights are canceled regularly, we were taken by bus to our plane only to be taken back to the gate to wait 45 minutes when they came in rushing and said " we go now, the weather is good." The weather can shift in the mountains in minutes. We met two days a go a group that was delayed for two-days because of weather, they finally paid for military helicopters to take them, yes, the weather was most likely still bad, but helicopters here fly when planes cannot because if rescue missions that occur frequently. The flight did not disappoint, a patch of wind hit us, and the plane jumped and bounced as we looked down at the valley below. We you board a flight like this, you're cargo, not passengers.

The pictures below are from the plane and at the airport waiting for our window to go.

Profile #2

Hello I am. Barry Geates, a general practitioner and hospitalist from central Alberta Canada.My interests include all recreational pursuits including high altitude trekking. We have the fortune to get to know some of the politics behind Everest ER from some accompanying HRA. Physicians. Some charatiible donations to the ER cause may be appropriate.

Profile #1

Hello I am Sam Mackenzie from Edinburgh, Scotland. I am a trainee Orthopaedic Surgeon and signed up to the trip to Mount Everest Base camp last October. I hoped the cold Scottish winter would prepare me for our trip but this climate is a way colder than home. Fortunately the views are so spectacular that you forget about the temperature. The team are all fantastic and we are having a great time. Enjoy the pictures.

Acclimatizing Trek to 12,675 ft.

12,675 ft at 12pm today. We are at khumjung, we hiked for 4hrs up hill, but we finally saw Everest, overwhelming !!!

We have a long way to go!!! We visited the hospital here, had an explanation of how things are run in this tiny hospital. If woman Is eight months pregnant, and if she is able to walk, she walks the two-days to Kathmandu to deliver the baby; otherwise, she will ride a horse or be carried for the two days.

It was a surprise, but the lead doctor created the night before a simulated climber accident to occur where the patient had fallen and is unconscious.
It was interesting to see the other doctors go into action as they tended to this person in a ditch on the mountain. The other doctors where not aware what was going on until they arrived at the point where the other doctor playing the fallen climber lay in the ditch. I was assigned to go down the mountain and get the helicopter and EMTs to bring help; see the pictures below.

The other interesting picture we saw on the way down the mountain was this horse going into someone's house, see the picture below.

The last picture is of me with Mt Everest in the background. It is terribly cold the higher we go up, I have three layers on an it's still cold. I'm learning the medical lingo and starting to ask questions during the lectures that make sense:) last nights lecture was at a bakery we found.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Excuse the typos

My iPad doesn't have connection and I'm typing the blog on my iPhone and at 3am in the morning most times, plus my fingers hit keys not intended as I re-read my post, grant me "spelling and grammar amnesty."☺ Plus I'm doing this laying down in the dark while Clay (roommate ) is sleeping.

One party in our group has already gotten sick and had to be left behind, thank goodness we're with all these doctors, and they have been superb, they have all brought extra medication for all of us and each other just in case. The sick person came up last night after she had 24 hrs of observation. They say that 50 percent of us will experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Some of the doctors are experiencing headaches and loss of appetite, and Evidently the brain starts to swell at higher altitudes that's why we're doing an acclimatizing climb this morning to 12,000 ft, to prepare our bodies. I saw where we're going, I must not think about it.

I brought along some homemade granola bars that my friend Mark gave me the recipe for; of course I changed the recipe a bit to suit my taste. I shared some with the team yesterday, they loved them so much they are calling them "Glen Everest Bars," and think I should market them. I've already had request to bring them this morning, I know i'm going to run out, but it makes me happy to share them I have to get some rest, it's 4am, we leave in 3 hrs.

Good night .

The guy in the picture 50 years ago summited Everest, he was 6.5 when he went up, he came down 5.4πŸ˜±πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

Views from Namche Bazaar 11,800 ft

We acclimatizing at Namache and will climb to 12,000 ft. tomorrow, then come back down and rest. My body is very sore and tired, but I'm in great spirits as is the rest of the team.

More pictures on the way. I will post as soon as I can.

Checking in

I'm in Lukla at Starbucks on the mountain using wifi. May not be many opportunities to blog regularly.

Notice the lectures, we have two a day on medical issues. The topics have covered everything from acute mountain sickness high altitude cerebral orders, pulmonary oedema, gastrointestinal problems, ethical issues at altitude .

These are four of the emergency doctors on our trek who will be posted at the emergency center at Base Camp. "Would you trust your life to these people?"

First impressions

The concrete slab is a picture of the first step on Napoli soil.

The team from Peak promotions who will lead the trek and assign the Sherpas who will Carry our gear and drive the yak team that will carry our supplies

The hotel is theYak and Yeti hotel in Kathmandu . Though the exterior and interior are decorated nicely, the rooms are spartan at best. Our bathroom flooded twice with all our toiletries getting wet. The plumber came but could not fix a thing, so we rose every morning walking into the bathroom full of water on the floor and on the counter.

Internet Sevice was spotty, so I couldn't communicate with the outside unless it was an emergency. Kathmandu is a pretty dusty and under construction city, roads are partially built if at all, and traffic is a mess with horns blowing constantly telling people to get out if the way. Riding in a vehicle is always bumpy and sometimes feels as if you're experiencing ground turbulence. The weather is in the 70s right now.