7 summits by Microlight

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(UTC + 5:45)
2-1

News release: 5 May, Still Lukla


 

 

 

 
We are still in Lukla. Nobody ever stays in Lukla for more than a day or two and we have been here 9 days already. Why? We are still waiting for fuel. The bad news is that our people in Kathmandu have failed to send the army fuel sample to Singapore, 'can't be done' apparently. Seems daft that 3 litres of petrol can't go in an aeroplane when it is carrying tons of its own fuel at the same time, but there you are. The good news is that our 800 litres of AVGAS will apparently begin to arrive tomorrow.... There is also other good news, our CAA permission, due to run out at the end of this week (and we haven't done any flying yet) has been extended for a month, so there are no more worries on that score.

My brother Barty arrived a couple of days ago. He has been in Nepal several times and knows the score; his main job is to help out with getting the microlight ready to go. This is a complicated job, not just getting the machine itself rigged and ready to fly, but getting me dressed is as complicated as any spaceman's outfit; radio, electrically heated suit, oxygen, reserve oxygen Etc. Etc. and all this has to be done at 4 in the morning so we are ready to take off as early as possible.

Barty also arrived with a replacement satellite modem. The last one, brand new, wasn't working properly, this one is fine, so at last we have good comms. Most importantly, we can collect our weather reports from Adventureweather.com which you can also see on this site. So how does the weather look? Well, not good for the next week or so anyway, the jetstream seems to be hovering exactly over our area giving winds at the summit of 20-40 metres per second (70 - 140 Km/h) which is way too high for us, we are looking for winds of 15 m/sec maximum, and preferably less than 10. Looking at previous years there are maybe 3 opportunities for this sort of light winds in May, the only caveat being that most of the sherpas I have consulted on weather seem to think the monsoon is coming early this year; normlly it should be 1 June.... We have met several people returning from trekking peaks who have reported unusual amounts of snow for this time of year and apparently there is one metre of snow at the advance base camp on the north side which is very unusual.

All this time in Lukla has not been wasted, we have been perfecting our kit and double checking that it is all working properly, and we are staying in a place which by Barty's estimation is the most luxurious he has ever seen in the Khumbu valley apart from the Everest View Hotel above Syangboche which costs $200 + per night. In a place where the facilities in most lodges are fairly basic this Khangri resort is positively luxurious; en-suite bathrooms with hot water in the evenings, sheets on the beds and even hot water bottles! The chef, considering the available resources, is an absolute master and comes up with the most delicious food - and much too much of it - I was slightly hoping to lose a bit of weight on this expedition.... This is one of the largest buildings in Lukla and made out of particularly finely worked stone blocks about a foot long and 6" high which all fit together without mortar with a gap thinner than a piece of paper. It is astonishing to think that it takes a skilled mason three days to make just one of these blocks. Over the main gate there is a single block 16 feet long which must have taken a very long time to make, and the size of the original rock it came from must have been huge.

You can't really go out of an evening because there is a curfew starting at 7:30, it is supposed not to really apply for foreigners, but probably best not to be on the street after that, and in any case one tends to go to bed early here, 9 pm at the latest. There is a nice bar here though, and they often get in a Karem board which is a sort of snooker withour cue's on a flour covered table. I am completely hopeless at it.

Some of the film people left for Syangboche two days ago so they should arrive there today. As soon as our fuel arrives a large number of porters will carry most of it, plus all our kit and one of the trolleys up there too to establish our 'advanced base camp'. By all accounts the strip there is in pretty good shape though there might be a bit of repairing to do at one end. In some ways it is not a bad thing that the weather is not looking too good at the moment because I can see it being four or five days before we are really ready to operate from there anyway.

The FIAT group
 
 
ALPHA emergency parachute
 
 
ICARO 2000 Hang Gliding World Champion
 
 
THE NORTH FACE clothing for extreme conditions
 
 
Mainair Sports; UK dealer for Warp Drive Propellors
 
 
PEGASUS AVIATION manufacturers of fine microlight Aircraft
 
 
Industrial Pressure Testing Ltd; Suppliers of Oxygen cylinders to the expedition.
 
 
MAINAIR SPORTS  manufacturers of fine microlight Aircraft
 
 
AdventureWeather.com providing Meteorological information to the expedition
 
 
BAILEY AVIATION manufacturers of Paramotors and automotive sport acessories
 
 
Lyndhurst Touchdown Services.  Supplier of fuel system components to the expedition.
 
 
PARAMINA; Suppliers of Oxygen equipment to the expedition
 
 
Articole Studios - GRP mouldings
 
 
SKYDRIVE, the UK Distributor of ROTAX engines
 
 
O-ZEE flight suits.  Suppliers of Bar-mitts to the expedition.
 
 
Neltec flexible heaters
 
 
FLYCOM Intercom and Radio equipment
 
 
Gerbings heated clothing
 
 
Quatar airways
 
 
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Page last reviewed
7 May 2004
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