April 01, 2010
Photos and Text by Stephen Regenold
Other than snooping the (likely counterfeit) outdoors gear in a few back-alley shops, today’s leg of the Expedition Hanesbrands trip had little to do with mountain climbing. With a guide, the expedition’s videographer Scott Simper and I explored holy sites, markets, and temples around the city of Kathmandu. We met monks and Hindu holy men. We had a “milk coffee” at a fly-infested cafe. In a dark upstairs room, we got a painting demonstration and an introduction to an ancient art. We were caught in an immense traffic jam — cows, bikes, tractors, and all. I lit a candle in a shrine and said a prayer of thanks for the trip — and for safety to the team as we move into the mountains this week above and beyond.
One important climb-related stop: We had a meeting to procure an oxygen mask in a literal back-alley deal. Ted Atkins, who runs TopOut, sold Scott the silicon facemask he’ll use on the final pitches in attempt to reach Everest’s summit some time in May. Atkins gave a demonstration of the mask at the table of a coffee shop in the Thamel district. Scott paid him cash in an alley, and we jumped in the little car our guide chartered and motored home to the hotel. It was an amazing, crazy day in a city that certainly deserves those two adjectives and many choice more. Here are a few images below, some eye candy from Kathmandu. Signing off for now. Next post will be in the mountains. Our plane departs early in the a.m. . . .
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