DAY 3 – 27th April 2013
Nothin like a 5:15am alarm to get us started for the day. Today is the day we fly to Lukla.
Lukla, one of the world’s most dangerous airports in the world.
It consists of a rather short runway carved onto the top surface of a cliff edge. On an incline from the cliff’s edge to a sheer rock wall at the end of it. As a pilot, you would need to be made of some really strong stuff and a significant amount of experience to even attempt to fly a plane on that route. As you approach the landing, the pilot needs to be able to react at split second timing to be able to slow the aircraft rotors to a speed slow enough for us to turn the plane at the end of the uphill run towards the terminal building and then come to a standstill so that the passengers may disembark.
Lhakpa came to get us from Kathmandu Madhuban Guest House at around 6:20am. We went to pick up Stefano, the Italian climber from Florence, Italy who would be joining us on our trek to Island Peak (6,200m). We got to Lukla after a rather frantic flight in a 15 seater plane at 10:00am. The bulk of our time was spent waiting for a flight out from TIA to Lukla. The issue is that if the skies are not clear, the aircraft do not fly towards Lukla due to the increased levels of risk. We had a snack and some tea before leaving for Phakding. Our first stop for the night.
Some of our gear got left behind at Kathmandu and may be arriving in a later flight that day. A porter of ours was to grab the stuff and meet us at Phakding with it by day’s end.
The walk to Phakding was not a bad one at all. This was our first taste of the terrain and the beautiful Everest region. We got to Phakding in the afternoon but because of the clouds, we couldn’t see too much.
Manoj and I went out for a stroll after we got to there and offloaded our bags. After dinner, we were in bed by 10pm again after an exhausting and long day.