Kenyon & myself below Island Peak (Centre Background). 22nd October 2013

A lot of training and gear selection went towards the preparation of a hopeful summit of Island Peak (Imja Tse) 20,305ft. With the biggest snowfall Nepal had experienced in almost a century, our dreams of climbing our first peak above 6000m vanished overnight. We were trekking towards Gokyo Lakes when the snow started to fall. At first the snow was light and made for great photos, but three hours later it was falling in sheets.

Our guides didn’t want to break the bad news to our group that Island Peak had been closed for the season but we all knew that we were here to enjoy the journey and would have to plan on meeting our destination some other time in future. For myself, I really wanted to mark the 40 great years I’ve enjoyed exploring this wonderful world with my brother. The summit flag I designed is a tribute to each of the years we have lived and shared. The flag was meant for the summit but I’m not even sure of how much space there would have been up there for such a photo.

This was my second trek to Everest Base Camp and it was a lot tougher due to the unexpected snow fall. I also found the hike up Kala Patthar a lot more taxing than my first experience in 2009. I put it down to the camera equipment I chose to hike with along with three interchangeable lenses. The weeks of hiking with a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) and all that goes along with it took its toll but I now have high resolution memories – a direct trade off. What you put in is what you get out.

Dozens of sadhus live around the temple devoting their life to Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. They also earn quite a good living by charging small fees for any photos that might be taken of themselves. I found that this really added to my visits to the temple.

Kenyon’s vague plan to meet up with Tina and Ian turned out very well along the banks of the Dudh Kosi River. It was pure coincidence that the last day of their trek coincided with the first day of ours. The booking of their trip and ours was totally unplanned. What are the chances of that ever happening again?

On day two of our trek we had a clear view of Khumbila or Khumbu Yül-Lha, roughly translated as “God of Khumbu”. This mountain is one of the high Himalayan peaks in the Khumbu region of Eastern Nepal within the boundaries of Sagarmatha National Park. It’s almost the same hight of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The clouds parted for just a few seconds while we were descending Kala Patthar and within seconds Mt. Everest was suddenly revealed. Seconds after I had taken this shot the clouds closed in so it really was a lucky break for us. We would have otherwise flown all that way from Australia and hiked all those days without seeing what was definitely one of the highlights of this trip.

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