Disaster on Everest
Last night on Panaroma there was a programme called Disaster on Everest, where Tom Martienssen talks about how he was stranded on camp 1, when the avalanche struck caused by the earthquake in Nepal in April, and how he and his comrades were helicoptered off in a dramatic rescue.
Tom also talks about the 3 cooks that died of the avalanche at base camp, who were on our expedition, and how the. people of Nepal are now coping in the aftermath of the earthquake.
I didn’t trek with Tom but I met him en route to base camp, he was with Henry who is the head leader at base camp.
I stayed the night at Everest Base Camp, and sat opposite Tom in the dining tent, I didn’t know at the time that he was a BBC reporter.
On the documentary I saw Tim Mosedale who was our mountain expedition leader, he was in his tent on camp 1, it was a brief sighting but I recognised him immediately, his name was on the credits at the end.
I also saw Aeneas playing cards in the tent who was in our expedition team, and also briefly saw Alex Staniforth at base camp who was in our team too.
It was poignant to see Tom visiting the families of the 3 cooks that were killed and it really brings it home what a devastating affect it will have on these families, losing their only bread winner.
Tom also travelled 2 days into the hills of Nepal where en route there was hardly any houses that were not collapsed or damaged in some way, by the earthquake.
He arrived at a village where the army were helping the people build temporary new shelters and classrooms for the children.
He watched as the Nepalese men were rebuilding their country stone by stone, when the truck he was travelling in was having difficulty along the road. and they were breaking stones to make a new road.
Tom was emotional and speechless when he visited people living in tents and they would, offer him food and shelter, even though they had nothing themselves.
This is typical of the Nepalese people, they are hospitable, friendly, resourceful, generous of spirit.
I witnessed this first hand not only on my month long trek in the Himalayas where the porters and guides would go beyond the call of duty to ensure our safety, comfort and well being, all done with huge smiles. and an openness and willingness to serve that was beyond belief.
The day before I travelled home I went into a village on the outskirts of Kathmandu, to visit my friend Hira and his family, a Sherpa who I had met in 2012 when I trekked in the Annapurna region.
Their hospitality was beyond what I had ever experienced before, they gave me a silk scarf, Hira’s wife had made me a garland of flowers, they fed me and showered me with lots of small gifts.
They had 4 beautiful children aged 7-14 years and they were so lovely, it was certainly one of my most memorable experiences.
When I wrote soon after I returned from Everest Base Camp, Power to the People, I spoke of how I know the people of Nepal with their attitude, hospitality and resourcefulness would be able to rebuild their country, albeit take a long time.
That is their power their inner strength, their strong faith in Buddhism, that will see them through, and last nights documentary proved the case, that they are all working together to make Nepal stronger than ever.
Tim is raising money for the 3 cooks families, by doing a huge challenge, swimming and cycling in his home town in Keswick, Lake District, and he has already raised a substantial amount, that he will take directly to the families when he does his Ama Dablam expedition in November.
In August I’m going to do a sponsored cycle to raise money for the cooks families.
The documentary last night showed how disasters occur and break buildings, houses and monuments, but they cannot break the human spirit.
Have a good day