Arts and Entertainment

Scenes from a dream trek

A precarious section of the trail with Nuptse in the background. - Courtesy photo
A precarious section of the trail with Nuptse in the background.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

By BILL MICKELSON

What’s Up writer

There are few things as inspiring for explorers than sights from some of the world’s highest mountain ranges.

Add in a bit of insightful and colorful commentary from the man behind the camera lens and the pictures take on an even deeper meaning.

Kitsap Mountaineers’ member Dave Burton will be providing an inspirational bit of both at the next meeting of the Mountaineers at 7 p.m. March 3 at the Norm Dicks Center, 345 6th St. in Bremerton. His slide show “Dream Trekking in Nepal” chronicles a crew of local mountaineers who, last winter, trekked two of the world’s highest mountain ranges and then followed up with a safari through the dangerous but exciting jungles of Chitwan in the foothills of the Himalayas.

“The original idea was to see the Himalayas before I popped my clogs,” Burton said in his English vernacular meaning before he died. “But it’s been modified of late to whilst I’m still able to hike and enjoy the view.”

Burton and a few of his local hiking buddies went on the robust trip, starting out with a 20-day trip up to the Mount Everest Base Camp with a team of 15 other trekkers and six or seven yaks and local porters.

Fighting the cold and damp atmosphere, altitude sickness and other illnesses, all four of the Kitsap members of the crew achieved the group’s three main goals, first summitting Kala Patar (Black Mountain) at 18,300 feet.

“Which was a tough nut for us to crack because of the summit location consisting of huge granite blocks, and mostly the altitude exposure,” Burton said. “It afforded us a panorama of the Khumbu peaks.”

Facing the big names like Everest, Lhotse South Face and “the graceful scythed ridge” of Nuptse, the group had achieved its first objective on the dream trek.

The next day, the dream turned ominous like a nightmare, when they reached the Everest Base Camp and witnessed an avalanche of snow and ice roar down Nuptse’s face.

“I thought of all the climbers and Sherpas (local porters) who had previously died in the dreaded icefall,” Burton said. “I shuddered with foreboding, thinking Can’t wait to get out of this God-forsaken place.”

Shortly after having that thought, the crew began its descent and returned safely to Kathmandu before taking off for Pokhara, Nepal, in preparation for the next stretch of the trek, the Annapurna Sanctuary, one of the world’s great mountain ampi-theaters.

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