Coombe Dean on Top of the World (well very nearly!)
Over the Easter holidays, 15 students and staff, after nearly two years of fund raising, planning and preparation, embarked on the trip of a lifetime – when they undertook a trek to Kalla Pattar, regarded as the best place to view Mount Everest, and the highest altitude it is possible to reach trekking.
After a long, long flight we made it to the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu – to say this was a culture shock would I think be a slight understatement! Kathmandu is a full-on mix of old and new combined with a road system you would never ever want to drive around!
The trek starts at a place called Lukla which is home to the world’s most spectacular airport – and guess what, we landed there! And yes it is a pretty spectacular landing!
Over the next 12 days we trekked every day and with each day gaining a little more height so that our bodies would have chance to acclimatize to the attitude.
Along the way we visited Thame School, where we were able to present the school with computer equipment which we bought with money we had made by fundraising. The equipment will be used in the school’s ‘computer lab’ which consisted of a room with two computers and little else; we were also able to give the students at the school toys and gifts which we had carried with us. They in turn treated us to a display of traditional Nepalese dancing.
Another moving moment for many of us was when we visited the home of some of the local porters – porters are incredibly hard working but poorly paid men and women, who make their living by carrying huge and heavy loads between the villages for climbing expeditions. During the visit we were able to give out clothing which had been donated by the staff from our school.
The final day of ascent to Kalla Pattar at a height of 5554m will be one all of us will remember for ever for a variety of reasons – such as:
It was 3am we started!
It was very cold and dark!
The air was very thin, there is 50% less oxygen than at sea level and it was incredibly hard to breathe!
The views were amazing!
Everest is so big!
No more uphill; it’s all downhill from here!
Whatever we remember, nothing will surpass the grandeur and beauty of viewing the top of the world – Mount Everest!
All too soon it was time to make our way back – this was so much easier going downhill. If we thought the landing was scary at Lukla – well the take off is worse! After another two days of sightseeing visiting a number of temples, monasteries and world heritage sites and shopping in Kathmandu and we were on the flight home with lots and lots of happy memories.
S Payne and J Spencer
“I really enjoyed seeing the changing scenery everyday” – Sean L
“I had the best time ever!” – Megan A
“The flight to Lukla was brilliant!” – Hannah G
“Seeing Mount Everest was amazing!” – Beth P