Monthly Archives: November 2010

This is What Awaits Me in 2012

Start your trip with a full day tour of Kathmandu’s famous Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas. With seven United Nations World Heritage Sites in the valley, you can step back in time to the Golden Age of Nepal’s art and architectural history, as well as see the richness of its modern daily life.

After exploring exotic Kathmandu, you’ll fly in to the remote mountain town of Lukla and begin your trek, following an ancient Sherpa trade route to the area’s famous Namche Bazaar.  Beyond it, you will find traditional villages, rhododendron forests, terraced fields, and summer pastures for yak grazing–before moving into the stark landscape of glaciers and ice.

Our route will enable you to visit monasteries in the heart of Sherpa country, where you can observe the monks in their daily prayers. You’ll also hike out onto the Khumbu glacier to visit the iconic Everest Base Camp, where climbers following the steps of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay prepared for their summit attempts. You can stand at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall, where climbers begin their own odyssey.

During climbing season (April/May), Mountain Madness offers you the special opportunity to spend one night at Everest Base Camp before beginning your descent. Outside of climbing season, we will use the extra time to divert from the main trail for a stunning hike to an off-the-beaten-path village on an ancient trade route.

You then return to Kathmandu for a day of shopping, rest, or walking the Old Quarter before a farewell evening celebration with a delicious multi-course meal of Nepal’s finest cuisine.
Included in the cost of your trip are scheduled group restaurant meals. Meals provided are listed as B (breakfast), L (lunch) and D (dinner) at the end of each day. You will be responsible for those meals not listed.

Day 1-3: KATHMANDU – 4,383 feet
Travel from your homeport to Kathmandu. All flights cross the date line and consequently a day is lost. Arrive in Kathmandu on Day 3, where a Mountain Madness guide meets you. We stay at the famous 5-Star Yak-n-Yeti Hotel. Great food from all over the world, fabulous shopping, and Durbar Square with its numerous temples and markets are nearby.

Day 4: KATHMANDU – 4,383 feet
While we wrap up last minute paperwork with the Nepal government, we arrange for you to enjoy a city tour visiting the palaces, Durbar Square, Hindu temples and shrines, Buddhist stupas – or you can just relax at the hotel. A favorite destination is the Monkey Temple, a Buddhist temple situated on a small hill that offers panoramic views of the city. Or you can join the thousands of Hindus who venture to the Pashupatinath temple, one of the most famous Hindu temples in Nepal and the most famous Shiva temple in Asia. B, L, D

Day 5: PHAKDING – 8,700 feet
We fly on a twin-engine Otter to the Himalayan foothills where we begin our trek into the Khumbu region. The sights from the plane are amazing, providing dramatic views of terraced hills and the distant Himalayan giants. After landing in the village of Lukla (9,350 feet), we meet the rest of our staff and porters and trek for about two and a half hours to Phakding.  Hiking Time: 3 hours B, L, D

Day 6: NAMCHE BAZAAR -11,300 feet
We continue trekking along the banks of the Dudh Kosi, crossing this majestic river many times on exciting suspension bridges laden with prayer flags. After entering Sagamartha National Park, the trail climbs steeply with breathtaking views to Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the Khumbu region. Hiking Time: 4-5 hours B, L, D

Day 7: NAMCHE BAZAAR -11,300 feet
Today is a rest and acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar. Namche is a colorful village with many wonderful and interesting shops and vendors, fabulous food, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. An early hike above town, before the clouds move in, reward climbers with a spectacular Himalayan sunrise and views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse (the 4th highest peak in the world), and the beautiful Ama Dablam. On the way down, we can visit the Sherpa Museum that houses an exhibit on traditional Sherpa lifestyle and a fabulous photography display by a local Nepalese naturalist. One room highlights the Sherpa traditions and in another, Sherpa high altitude climbers are presented. B, L, D

Day 8: THYANGBOCHE – 12,887 feet
The trek continues along the rushing glacial waters of the Dudh Kosi with magnificent views of the mountains. We spend the night next to the Thyangboche monastery, the spiritual center of the Khumbu region. Inside the monastery are incredibly ornate wall hangings, a 20-foot sculpture of Buddha, and the musical instruments and robes of the Lamas. With luck, our group will see the Lama perform a ceremony and hear the mystical chanting and music. Hiking Time: 5-6 hours B, L, D

Day 9: DINGBOCHE – 14,250 feet
From Thyangboche, the trail drops to Debuche, crosses another exciting suspension bridge on the Imja Khola, and climbs to Pangboche among thousands of mani stones. Our uphill trek continues, taking us to the quaint traditional Sherpa village of Dingboche with its exquisite views of Lhotse, Island Peak, and Ama Dablam. Hiking Time: 5-6 hours B, L, D

Day 10: DINGBOCHE – 14,250 feet
Today we take another rest and acclimatization day. There is the option of taking a light hike up the valley for a wider variety of photos of the valley and mountains of the Khumbu region. B, L, D

Day 11: LOBUCHE – 16,175 feet
Today’s trail continues along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier and passes by stone memorials for climbers who have perished on nearby summits. B, L, D

Day 12: GORAK SHEP – 17,000 feet
After an early morning start, we ascend Kala Pattar (18,450 feet) and enjoy famous views of the Himalayas, without having to climb Everest! That evening we camp beneath Kala Pattar at Gorak Shep. B, L, D


Day 13: EVEREST BASE CAMP – 17,575 feet
In the event of bad weather, we have the opportunity for a second chance to climb Kala Pattar. Today we will also continue our trek to Everest Basecamp, located at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall. We’ll spend the day at Everest base camp, giving you a chance to meet the climbers and thoroughly explore the area. Overnight in tents at base camp. B, L, D

Day 14: GORAK SHEP – 17,000 feet
In the morning we will enjoy tea and breakfast while taking in the view of Everest before leaving for our descent. We head down the glacier and return to Gorak Shep, our last night high in the mountains. B, L, D


Day 16: NAMCHE BAZAAR – 11,300 feet
Today we trek back along the Dudh Kosi River through a magnificent rhododendron forest and past brilliant waterfalls. Shortly before reaching Namche, the trek takes us through a pine forest, where musk deer often graze in the early morning. Arriving in town, we may see lowland porters, highland Sherpas, and Tibetan people trading food and supplies during Namche’s market time. We stay at the Zamling Hotel with hot showers and a comfortable bed. B, L, D

Day 17: LUKLA – 9,350 feet
Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla where we spend the night at the Khumbu Lodge. Hot showers are available. B, L, D

Day 18: KATHMANDU – 4,383 feet
If the weather is clear, the morning flight back to Kathmandu will be a scenic and smooth farewell to the mountains. B

Day 19: KATHMANDU – 4,383 feet
In the morning, we can watch Kathmandu rise in prayer along the banks of the holy river Bagmati at Pashupatinath, with burning ghats similar to the Ganges in India. Or we can visit the Buddhist temple of Swayambhunath and explore the temples in the city of Patan. Final celebration dinner! B, D

Days 20 – 21: DEPART
Depart Kathmandu and fly home.

Panty Wall Preview

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It has been a long weekend of eating and being a suburban dweller, totally separated from the rocks and mountains just outside the pavement and sidewalks that comprise Las Vegas. But it is finally Sunday Eve and in the early morning I will be gathering my harness, rope, shoes and warm cloths in my pack and heading to Panty Wall. It is nice that Iactually feel like I have missed the outdoor activities I have been doing more and more of over the last year.

Here is what the Mountain Project is saying about some of the routes:

Mountain Project’s determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Panty Wall:
Sacred Undergarment Squeeze Job 5.8 Sport, 1 pitch, 70 feet
Brief Encounter 5.8 Sport, 1 pitch, 60 feet
Boxer Rebellion 5.8 Sport, 1 pitch, 60 feet
Panty Raid 5.9+ Trad, 1 pitch, 80 feet
Panty Line 5.10a R Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80 feet
Panty Mime 5.10c Sport, 1 pitch, 50 feet
Totally Clips 5.11a Sport, 1 pitch, 60 feet
Viagra Falls 5.12a Sport, 1 pitch, 50 feet
It looks like I may be able to do some of these routes!

Rocking the Wall

Wednesday night climbing has become a mainstay of my week. Me and some of the other Las Vegas Meetup folks gather at Nevada Climbing Center (one of the two indoor climbing facilities in Las Vegas.)and do walls for a couple hours. It is a great workout and a great group of people to spend time with. I have not done great the last couple weeks but hope to get my mojo soon so that I am back to more walls. Tonight was a couple climbs and a bunch of belays. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I am cooking now and getting ready for the holiday. Let’s hope that he holiday does not do too much damage!

What is the Base Camp Trek, and Why?

This will be me March 2012!

I grew up in Seattle. Mountain climbers there are like surfers in California. So plentiful that they sort of fade into the green, white and blue that is Washington State. I hiked as a kid with the Girl Scouts and as a counselor at Camp Waskowitz. In college I began to back pack. I loved the feeling of accomplishment when I hiked up something…anything. 

I also enjoyed reading. Books like INTO THIN AIR, SEVEN SUMMITS and ADDICTED TO DANGER are seared into my memory. People who were at the top of their games were household names. Jim Wickwire was one of my favorites along with Dick Bass. To me they were no less important than Hilary or the many many unnamed Sherpas that have made mountains like Mount Everest seem like they are in everyone’s back yard.

I grew more and more fond of Mount Everest and lived the mountain through every book I could get my hands on as well as every documentary, movie, picture and article that came down the pike. Strangely, I never ever wanted to summit the mother of all mountains myself. But I yearned to see it. It always seemed like a pipe dream to me. In 2010, however, that changed.

In spring of 2010 I was watching a documentary, not about my mountain, but about a 76 year old guy at Machu Picchu climbing to the top of its nearly 8k feet. IT was then I decided now. Now or never. I found Mountain Madness, having learned of them through the years of avid Everest worship. I have given myself until March of 2012 to get to the base of Mount Everest and realize that dream. To drink it in and enjoy the pain it will take to get there and know that within each and every one of us is the power to make a dream reality. Come along the way with me here at WhelanTrek!

Valley of Fire 10k

This was the second 10k I have done and the last one was this very same one. I walk it, I don’t run it. :). That being said, there is a lot to be happy about today with my 1:48:55 time.

At the time that I did this in 2008, My friend and I were finishing our second season of 5k’s. We decided to boost it to a 10k for the fun of it and since we had not chosen our monthly walk, this was the one for November. In 2008, it was a warmer, sunnier day. The course was essentially the same and by the time we were up the first hill, I was spraying snot and spit like a distempered horse! Not pretty, I know…I lived it. There were several more hills to come and my dignity before that one ended. 1:50:02. That was the gun time. 1:48:32. That was the chip time.

Fast forward to 2010. Since that time my friend and I have not been doing the 5k’s much at all. Certainly not the one per month we had been. But since April of 2010, I have been hiking, kayaking, golfing, and some beginning climbing. I am much healthier than I was then. I am loving the activity level that I undertake now. 

We motored up that first hill. I gave it all I could and suddenly, we crested the top. Had that been the hill of 2008? Yes. But it seemed so much shorter, even with the work it took to top it. That is how I felt all race long and I felt ahead of my pace all through the race. Coming down the last hill I was nearly RUNNING (sort of fast minus the bounce). The weather was cooler and windy and very comfortable. One brief stop to remove a rock from my shoe. No spit flying, no pain in the side, no foot or leg pain. Just normal “push yourself” fatigue. We crossed the line and we got our time and we yelped for joy at …..wait for it……1:48:55. That was the chip time. So how did I actually LOSE 23 seconds? You tell me. I just looked up those 2008 results on the internet and was shocked to see that what I thought was a faster time ended up being slower. I could have just listed my gun time against this years chip time but that does not accomplish anything. And, it is a lie then. I cannot hide my disappointment in being slower. I simply cannot understand it either.
We felt like we could do more distance at as we talked about the race, riding home. We felt like we had been faster this time and I was bathing in what I erroneously thought was a better time. But it isn’t. So, what do I take away from this? I am not completely sure yet. But I do take away that I am healthier, more fit and will never quit. I also take away that my aerobic fitness must improve. More thinking needed and maybe a little input from my racing pals?

Hike No 11(November 14, 2010)

It was meant to be a rematch. Rose and I both got beat up by the approach to Cut Your Teeth Crag the last time we did it. If you read my notes, it was the hike that I referred to as EPIC in its difficulty for me. Our plan was to do the hike on Saturday and return again and do it on Sunday along with some other friends and climb as well.

This time I did not have my big pack or my sticks. Just me, my water bag and Sockie the sock monkey. Rose and I met at the appointed time and off we went. As we began and started up the portion that is a road, I already saw that I was not breathless as I had been last time. Was it because of the pack? I don’t know. We got into the bolder area and that was work, but not in the way it had been last time. Was it because the weather was so much milder? I don’t know.

It was such a nice time. Rose is a great hiking companion and even if she DID have to shed her PANTS, we had a great time. This hike is really hard on the knees. Especially coming down. My knees have seen far better days. Left has been reconstructed back in 1987…three surgeries on that one; the right has had one surgery earlier this year to remove cartilage.  When I got home I was pretty stiff. Lots of cramping in the left ham and left foot. I attribute that to the reconstruct as one of the gluteal tendon’s was cut and used as a replacement ligament for the knee. It has been less mobile and more tight ever since then. But as the years have passed, it gets a little stiffer than the other on a regular basis. Yoga maybe?

So today should be the return trip. It will not be for me. Knees are swollen and hurting and to put them through it today may cause damage. I do not want to set myself back on this project. The project to get in shape and trek to Everest Base Camp. So I sit today out and, as Rosie says, LIVE TO CLIMB ANOTHER DAY!

Hamlet Wall (November 7, 2010)

This was my first outdoor climb in which I actually climbed! I am not listing this as a hike because the approach was not really a full enough distance for me to take hiking credit. I will say that my pack was the heaviest it has been now that I have added a 10mm/60m rope to the kit.  That is 8.7 pounds of rope to add to my pack which is loaded with water and my harness, carbabiners, shoes, helmet, little bit of food, first aid kit etc. Not real heavy but more than I usually carry and does burn more cals.


 The first rout I tried was rated 5.5 in the wall climbing rating system. That is the easiest of the ratings. I tied my double figure 8 follow through knot with Kristen’s help and off I went with her belaying. It was not as hard as the gym walls but much higher. Quite fun really! I felt a real sense of accomplishment upon arriving at the top anchor. I found that there is so much more ability to find things to grab or ways to use your feet effectively on the sandstone. Much better than the smooth walls of the gym. I also realized that many of the things I had done in the gym translated in spades on the wall. It was the first run and it was one I shall not forget.


For the next while I went up and down the rock watching and learning and taking Pictures. Then I finally gave a harder wall a try. Soon, as I was starting the ascent, people I did not know well were arriving and for some reason I simply got self conscious.  The rope I was on was going to be pulled in about 20 minutes and I was moving slow so I came down off that wall.


This was the next attempt and is located on the lower tier of the wall.  I was ready to do this one and feeling confident. Up I went and as I was really getting started I slipped. Yes. Slipped. I fell a few feet landing in a rather icky way on a protruding rock that then discovered some of the undiscovered territory in the name of the route! It hurt like nobody’s business and just kept hurting, Bad enough to make me laugh instead of cry.

Ice tea, quesadilla, hot shower. Get ready cuz tomorrow is a day to climb again!

Hike No. 10 (October 31, 2010)

IRONMAN WALL – Red Rock Canyon
The hikes are evolving. They now incorporate climbing. And although I had intended to climb today, it was not the best wall for my first outdoor attempt. The hike itself was a good one, none the less. The thing about the approaches, as they are called, to climbing walls is that by their nature, they seem to involve lots of crawling around on rocks. Of course, this is only my second one, but that seems to be the deal.

The wall was called Ultraman. It was back in off the road a bit and up the rocks to a ledge where the belayer’s do their thing. I belayed Rose and it was much better than the last time I belayed outside. Did not burn out my shoulders and it did not cramp my hands up near as bad. Both a function of making progress in my physical health as well as pulling up out of the dehydration I was experiencing in late summer. I am eating and drinking much better now and the energy level shows.  I am happy to feel so much better, but know that I have so much distance to travel to get where I want to go.

This had a little up and down to the approach and the pack still seems unwieldy to me. I have to be able to balance with the pack under even more load than it is now.

Hike No. 9 (October 24, 2010)

I chose this hike for a few reasons. First, I had done it with Joe back in 2008 and it tore me up. I wanted to see how it would treat me now. Second, it is not a long hike and I did not want to take Sonya on a hike that was too long since I had no idea what type of hike would work best for her. It has been over 30 years since we have seen each other after all. Third, when you get to the back of the hike you have a view of Vegas!

The weather was cool….in the 60’s and rain threatened around the edges of the valley. Sonya loved it not being hot and I was glad it was good hiking weather for her. We meandered through the wash and the little draw around the side of the calico rocks, enjoying the views and the fact things had been so wet from recent rains. We did the scrambling and headed up the rock steps that are sprinkled throughout this 2.5 mile round trip.

As we continued I realized just how much better shape I am in now. I moved better and faster and though I still have a lot of work to do, This hike was not hard. I did some scrambling and was far more at ease than in the past.

We got to the top and went to the right side of the tank which is higher. The view was spectacular, and though the haze obscured a truly clear view of Vegas, it was still breath taking. I pointed out to Sonya the area that was epic Hike No. 7 and thought to myself how this hike was nothing compared to that. (7 was the approach to Cut Your Teeth Crag).We had a great time on this hike and afterwords went to Bonnie Springs for lunch and a spin through Blue Diamond so Sonya could see a different view of Vegas life. What a great day!

Hike No 8 (October 9, 2010)

This is a 2.5 mile hike through a boulder strewn wash to a very cool canyon on the end.  I went with Rose and she was such a good sport with my lack of speed. Not to mention her great advise along the way regarding techniques and skills. It was not a hard hike but there was some scrambling and bouldering that really made it a good workout for me. My legs loved it and they are tired now from the good work.

I am beginning to really see results of me efforts. I am seeing that my balance is getting better and my confidence in what my knees can take is increasing. My arms are starting to feel more like accessories rather than just useless intrusive things hanging off the sides of my shoulders. I didn’t use my poles in this hike except for about a 50 yard section….and that was more confidence than need.

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