Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent, by Reinhold Messner; page 173

(The Crystal Horizon begins here.) Messner finally lives his dream of visiting Tibet. Before he gets there, he must travel to Bejing, and deal with the communist, yet unsurprisingly capitalist CMA. His calling Chairman Mao "the greatest influence in world fashion" after viewing the olive-colored uniforms of the Chinese public outside his hotel amuses me greatly. Upon arriving in Tibet, he is happy to see the "homeland of [his] dreams," but is also sad to see so much of it crumbling. The Potala, in Lhasa, is a definite exception, and he and girlfriend, Lena, get a tour. En route to Rongbuk and base camp, he is probably the first westerner to visit the imfamous guesthouse at Shigatse, and comes away without gastrointestinal difficulty. Based on later books I've read, he's relatively lucky. Soon after arriving in base camp, he and Lena hike over a pass into a Tibetan valley to acclimate and invade a small nomadic settlement. There follows a solo trip up the North Col in hip-high monsoon snow, a trek to the base of the Lho La, and then a return to base camp and Rongbuk. He is feeling confident of his future ascent. It makes me happy that he tests not only the limits of his physical prowess on this trip, but also the limits of his visa restrictions and climbing permit. On thier trek to the Lho La, Lena begins to think her boyfriend might be psychotic...and he publishes the diary entry in the book. What a guy! Stay tuned for the climb next post. (This book continues here.)

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