An hour or two north beyond the chorten, the memorials to the mountaineers killed on Mt. Everest, is the small break in the path known as Thokla village. This insignificant waypoint on the map was actually quite memorable for us, first with the remarkable view. This sparse collection of two or three tin huts is latched at 15,200 feet onto the side of a steep, rocky slope overlooking an eroded glacier valley, and set at the base of the massive Kongma mountain. This is definitely on the main trail to Mt. Everest, and it is a logical point for making camp since it’s still a bit of work getting on to Lobuche. So there we were, feeling like we had pushed beyond reality and the extent of our imagination after what we had seen starting in Pheriche. There are times when you feel like you must have seen it all, so nothing else phases you, and so as we were making strange new encounters in this land beyond the beyond we no longer had any mental alarms going off.(more…) camping fashion hiking landscape mountains
Hiking in the mountains is no escape from the distractions of electronic gadgets. It used to be that you could throw some gear in the back of your truck, roll out into the hills, and completely break out of the buzzing and bleeping grasp of the telephone and the TV for a few days. That was long enough to let the ringing in your head silence out and to get a few coherent thoughts through. Of course for that we would have to go back quite a few years to truly be without portable electronics. For a long time we have had things like radios, video games and now even cell phones that can work way out in the boonies. Now we have GPS, XM radio and satellite phones to keep us wired into the rest of the world from no matter where. For many of us that leaves less willpower to force ourselves to break away from the chatter of the world. You would have to go to great lengths and personal restraint to distance yourself from all the temptations of checking in on your office emails and to hear innovative doublespeak vocabulary terms from our clever political leadership.(more…) camping electronics fashion GPS hiking landscape mountains radio travel trekking Trekking in Nepal
After spending some time camping in the mountains I got to really like some of the equipment and the clothing layers that we adopted for the environment. Typically you make good use of Nalgene bottles, carabiners, your daypack, and lots of fleece and wicking materials. Those things turn out to be very useful and adaptable in the rest of the world too, and some of the ideas have stuck. I see carabiner keychains all the time and I especially grew accustomed to the warmth and comfort of wearing a layer or two of thin fleece to keep warm and dry. It seemed no matter what the activity level or the weather conditions that was a great base layer. Of course I could wear a thicker fleece vest or jacket over that, but most of the time the one long-sleeve shirt was perfect. Wearing my polypro undies as pajamas is just fantastic. I also got to like the thin hiking socks a lot. They’re made of a mix of materials that give good texture and they’re pretty warm. I see Richard wearing his Mountain Grabbers™ fleece vest most of the time, so it looks like he took onto the habit as well. Clothing made for hiking is just so comfortable, relaxed, and versatile that you feel you could get out and do anything, or just sit down and have some more hot chocolate.(more…) camping exercise fashion hiking landscape mountains shopping
customs fashion heritage Nepalese culture Pema Sherpa sherpa culture sherpa customs Sherpa society
We were recently looking through our collection of photos from Nepal to find some truly representative traditional Sherpa clothing. Pema told me about the old days when they would wear fur hats and shoes that were just a patch of leather wrapped around the feet and padded with dried grass. In all of recorded digital history though we couldn’t find anyone in such a quaint outfit, but Pema was proud to share a photo from when he had dressed up in his finest. There he was in a Stetson hat and cowboy boots, along with his chuba and kanam. He insisted that this was a traditional outfit, but we were sure he didn’t understand. To me “traditional” means it has cultural significance, that you wear it on certain occasions, and you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it under normal circumstances, like when we dress up as pilgrims and Indians in America for Thanksgiving. Or am I the only one that still does that? So we repeated and clarified the question to Pema if he had pictures in traditional clothing. And then we traded incredulous shrugs.