Imja Tse Summit

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This is Pemba Sherpa, one of the biggest badasses I've had the honor of meeting, and even bigger honor of climbing with. Nonchalantly cool, tough, humble, and a consummate professional. Even though the mountain was amazing, for me the one of the best parts was seeing him in action on the climb – he guides clients to the summit of Imja Tse 15-25 times every season. Altitude: around 5,800m. • #iftheterminatorwassherpa #holyshit #totalbadass #pieceofcake #mountaineering #everestregion #everest #outdoorlife #sagarmatha #glacier #imjatse #islandpeak #acethehimalaya #khumbu #climbing #khumbuvalley #sherpa #mountainclimbers #onthejob #sherpasofinstagram #peopleofnepal #photojournalism #portrait #himalayas #nepal #seetheworld #adventureculture #exploremore #traveltheworld

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Let's get something straight: I didn't know what I was doing on this trip. The altitude wreaked major havoc on my appetite and I hadn't been eating properly for weeks. I'd rented mountaineering boots for the climb which, as a total amateur, I discovered were too big after we were already on the peak – this caused major problems. I was undernourished, dehydrated, exhausted and only halfway "there" as we started our descent from the summit. Somehow, without stumbling to my death or being murdered by Pemba for my slow, drunken-grandma staggering, I made it down: through the melting snow and loose rock, off Island Peak back to base camp, and finally back to Chukhung. Twilight and then night descended during our final trek to the village, and in the half-light through the mist I was quietly hallucinating as every lone, tall boulder appeared as something out of Tolkien's Silmarillion (hint: reading about middle earth in the Himalaya is either a great idea or a really terrible one). We made it back through the ancient river beds and across rushing streams just as pitch blackness surrounded us, right before a major rainstorm hit. The next day we hustled the 13km onward to Tengboche where I took this photo, the prior few days seeming more like a strange dream to me than anything. • #truestory #tengboche #stupa #prayerflags #islandpeak #imjatse #mountaineering #travelstories #crazystories #instastories #ebc2017 #everestregion #himalayas #middleearth #trekking #khumbu #solovacationers #khumbuvalley #instatravel #travelnotes #insane #adventure #seetheworld #solotravel #adventuretravel #wanderlust #sagarmatha #nepal #himalaya #travelling

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I was eating momos in a small, tucked-away lodge, unaware that Pemba was trying to find me; there was a chance for us to catch a helicopter out of Lukla. When he finally did we were far behind the others who had left for our flight. We ran for an hour to catch up: in the rain, down the mountain, sliding on thick mud, and then through a cornfield. Still in the rain. Did I mention we were in such a rush that I was still wearing my down jacket the whole time? Riding in the back of this truck around the KTM runways after landing: I'm not sure there could have been any more appropriate way to arrive. I think our grins say it all, we were both relieved to be back in "home territory." Photo: R. Gerchen. • #stuckinlukla #lukla #kathmanduairport #monsoontrek #escape #nepal #himalayas #ebc2017 #trekking #unexpectedjourney #crazyadventures #traveldiaries #exploremore #travelersnotebook #worldnomads #seetheworld #acethehimalaya #wanderlust #adventurelife #🇳🇵

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