There I was, flapping in the frigid wind and clutching to a chunky boulder, my jaw gaping in amazement at my personal view of Mt. Everest. That’s one (melodramatic) way to describe the pinnacle of our journey trekking through the Himalayas last fall. To be honest, I didn’t get a very clear view of anything because my legs were locking up from the chill in the gusting wind and the steep drop seemingly on all sides. I was so cold and worn from climbing the last hundred meters or so that I only sought out shelter between the rocks for relief from the elements. I had my video camera with me, and I did my best to reach up out of the rocky crevasse to record a panoramic view or the mountains and to assess just how steep the drop was just down-wind from me. Watching the footage now it’s a bewildering sweep across indistinguishable rocky terrain and a crackling audio track of the wind and the violently snapping prayer flags overloading the tiny microphone.
Of course I couldn’t stay there wedged between the rocks for long. I had to get back up, turning my face into the scorching wind, and smile for a few photos. I even had to unbutton, unzip, unstrap, and pull away the layers of protective environmental gear I was wearing over my head so you could tell it was me in the pictures. For the few moments I was standing there, setting good lighting and composition with Mt. Everest in the background of my pose, I was bare to the elements and I felt a lot like I had plunged into freezing salt water. This helped me to understand why no one ever spends very long celebrating at the top of Mt. Everest and there are never more than a few photos to record their triumph. In our group we got good souvenir photos and immediately set our minds to getting back down. We had put so much time and effort into reaching this one distinct geographic location and we were anxious to turn back and get to our slightly less freezing camp in Lobuche. Considering some other intangible achievements though, reaching the top of Kala Patthar was a formality.cold wear extreme cold weather hiking home movies Kala Patthar landscape Lobuche mountains Mt. Everest prayer flags Trekking in Nepal