April 16, 2008

This is our first posting from Kathmandu. We left Philadelphia on April 11th and arrived Sunday morning in Kathmandu with all our luggage….more than 120kg of climbing and research equipment. Yes we ended up paying a little bit for excess luggage…but could have been more! After a tasty breakfast with masala chai , omelets and french fries we started our organization tour through Kathmandu( which is still ongoing for me). A meeting with our logistics partner Asian Trekking to discuss all permit issues, making arrangements for our flight to Lukla and equipment transport to basecamp. We also decided to apply for an additional climbing permit to Island Peak, since it is up in the air what will happen between May1-10 and we certainly do not want to sit around basecamp waiting to climb.

Anyway the Sunday ended with a good nights sleep!

Monday was reserved for meeting our collaborator Dr. Rohit Pokharel, who will join us on our way to basecamp to Khunde hospital to support us and conduct research himself. He is interested to investigate whether the nucleus pulposus( spinal disk) is vulnerable to hypoxia and is planning to examine sherpas who constantly live at high altitude in order to compare it with lowlanders.

It was great meeting him and we look forward to the time in Khunde!

In the evening the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Nepal and the Muscular Dystrophy Parents Foundation invited us for dinner to exchange opinions and ideas about further collaborations and research. This was a great night with excellent nepalese food as well! Dr. Khurana also presented the latest findings regarding our hypoxia research to the audience, which was very well received.

Tuesday was supposed to be the day for signing the mountaineering permit. But it turned out, that due to the elections that were held on the 10th, no one seemed to be able to give us the necessary briefing. So we decided to split our group, as all flights had been booked and I offered to stay another day in Kathmandu while the others took flight to Lukla this morning….and yes…sometime this afternoon…after a long time of waiting it worked out and we got the permit signed!

Tuesday was also the day of colleting our little research objects from the Lepracy Hospital outside of Kathmandu( yes, sounds kind of strange…..but I can assure that all 18 team members are healthy and have undergone a health check:)). The hospital is mainly supported by missionary funds and has its own very well run research facility…which is not so easy to find in Nepal….

So we are all set to go!!

This means, that I will be off as well tomorrow, heading to Namche Bazaar where we will meet and stay for 2 days to acclimatize beforer going up higher towards basecamp.

Pictures will be uploaded in Namche!



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