To Lukla and Beyond!

At 9350 ft in elevation, 1510 ft long and 66 ft wide the Lukla airstrip is the most dangerous in the world.  Built in 1964 by Sir Edmund Hillary it is the gateway to the Khumbu valley. The runway slopes upwards into the hill and the opposite end stops at a “gentle” cliff that drops off to the valley over 1000 ft below. This was our destination.

We started our day in the chaos that is Kathmandu, leaving the Yak and Yeti at 7:30 am only to arrive at the airport to hurry up and wait for close to seven hours. Around 2:30 pm we were informed that all flights to Lukla were cancelled due to high winds in the Khumbu.  But Wally (our expedition operator) had a Plan B – Helicopter! The ride was spectacular and we enjoyed every minute of it.  We also appreciated the landing.  A helicopter does not have to land upwards into a hill to stop.

Because we arrived late in the day (my group landed at 4:30 pm) we stayed in Lukla and had time to enjoy the main street. Everything you could imagine lined the trekkers highway from electronics to gear to pool tables to a Starbucks.  Imagine at 9350 ft a Starbucks with free wi-fi (slow but free!).

There are no roads in the Khumba and the main street ends at an arched gate.  Over 30,000 trekkers per year cross beneath it, heading down into the valley and ultimately back up towards Everest base camp.

1 Comment

  1. bob murdoch
    Apr 1, 2013

    All the best Steve. Will be following your quest daily. Good Luck

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