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    Everest, the Easy Way

    October 10th, 2007 by steve

    After Lhasa, we hopped into a 4×4 with our driver and government mandated and utterly useless “guide” for a 6 day trip through the countryside, out to Everest and on to the Nepal border. The landscape is so much more diverse than I imagined, and we saw only a small part. We started with the brilliant blue high mountain lake of Yadrok set against green hills and distant snowcapped peaks. We passed through sand dunes on our way to our first remote monastery. Unfortunately, remote here just means the hordes of tourists come together in big buses.Next stop, a monastery next to a fortress with a great dungeon. And there’s no rules here, just a ladder into the darkness. Even better, -nobody- visits the fortress so we’re all alone in the dark! Well, we hope we’re alone…After a few quality frontier ‘hotels’ we won’t talk about ever again, we closed in on Everest. The peak straddles the Tibet / China border and there is a “base camp” for climbing the on either side. The dubious ‘beauty’ of the Tibetan side is that you can drive a 4×4 right up to base camp and find a village of semi-permanent tent hotels and restaurants. And of course, the mountain jumps right out of the valley in front of you.Quomalangma as it is known here is a truly spectacular sight, but none of us see the sanity of risking your life to climb it.We had a little fun here when our guide and driver insisted we could not walk any further beyond the camp, even though we were pretty sure we could. So we did. A couple hour hike out, they meet up with us (in the 4×4) at a frontier police checkpoint and – call the cops on us! Seriously, other people are crossing a checkpoint without any interaction, but our wonderful guide actually gets us pulled into a guard shack where we argue over the validity of our permits and then they hold our passports to make sure we return! Actually, they finished by saying our permits were invalid and we needed to leave the country immediately. Good times. We continue on just a bit to a viewpoint and then return to catch our breath and our passports before heading down the hill to find a tent to spend a freezing night at 17,000 feet in.

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