Prepping for Manaslu Mtn Race and Trekking to Everest Base Camp

Now that is a mountain.
Pic courtesy manaslutrailrace.org

It is funny you know, how quickly time passes and how memories begin to fade away. But next week should bring new ones. Hopefully ones that stick around. Monday will find me on a bumpy bus ride to the village of Arughat, and by Tuesday I will be running trails around the 8th largest mountain in the world as part of the second annual Manaslu Mountain Trail Race. According the the race website, You’ll ‘run’ a total of 212km over 7 race days. You’ll cross a 5,100m+ pass, sleep at a monastery, peer over the border into wild Tibet, run above a glacier on the trail to Manaslu Base Camp and enjoy many awesome trails in between.”  Here is a pretty inspiring video trailer from 2012’s race if you want to lose yourself for 10 minutes.

 

I’m excited for the opportunity to help race director Richard Bull, of www.trailrunningnepal.org, as a logistics assistant. Together, we’ll try to help the other ~35 runners have an unforgettable experience. There are a lot of crazy endurance athletes from all over the world on the roster. Some are elite runners and some are out simply to finish with a smile like myself. Notable entrants in my book are Anna Frost (New Zealand, Saloman) and Lizzy Hawker (UK, The North Face) who is recovering from stress fractures in both feet and one femur (yes, this is a 212k recovery run for her). The accomplishments of both are too much to list here. But here is a nice interview with Anna on iRunFar. And Lizzy was named a National Geographic Adventurer of 2013;  two of her adventures I want to learn more about are her ‘Himalayan Skydance‘ when she attempted to run the ~1000 mile Great Himalayan Trail solo and how she broke her own record on her third Everest Mail Run, 319 kilometers over 3 days from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu. Damn.

Lizzy Hawker
www.trailrunningnepal.org

So, please send me good vibes starting Monday evening in the states as I begin my much more pedestrian shuffle/run way down low on Manaslu. I am 13:45 hours ahead of the west coast and we will be starting up the mountain sometime Tuesday morning, Nepal time.  If I can get things to work with my new sat tracker, we’ll have updates and on: www.manaslutrailrace.org, via twitter @manaslutrail and
www.facebook.com/trailrunningnepal. The current location page on www.sethwolpin.com should also work. And below is my stab at an embedded look at what my meanderings in Kathmandu since the first of November using google earth (best viewed in Chrome). Hint – you can zoom around by using your arrow keys and also holding down the shift or ctrl keys.

Kathmandu

Since returning to this fine city three weeks ago from the Everest Base Camp Trek, I’ve been mostly holed up in a hotel room in the northern part of the city catching up on work and watching the Maoists protest against the upcoming elections. In between this, I escape from the chaos that is Kathmandu into the mountains north of the city and find my peace on the trails high above the smog. Here is a picasa album of pictures from around the Kathmandu Valley.
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Yes, a hand operated Ferris wheel, complete with flat tires.

What’s work? Aside from organizing adventures with S2Mountaineering, it is trying to get some data crunched and papers submitted from past research projects. One is on the information priorities for men with prostate cancer. A second is on what happens when you give patients with low health literacy their medication instructions in talking pill bottles. And a third is on an NIH study that just ended where we explored sending pictographic medication reminders to people on their cell phones. And now I have a new one on my plate! We collected a ton of research data during the Everest Base Camp Trek about high altitude porters. Many are recruited from low altitude villages and lead a very difficult life. If you think your job is tough, please see this online picture album of porters at work.

Janet and Christine
collecting observational
data along the way

Everest Base Camp Trek

I’d like to thank everyone who joined me on this trek and not just for their good cheer, flexibility, and joi de vie; all greatly assisted the research study I am working on with Dr. Janet Peterson  and two great physicians from Kathmandu Medical University. While moving through some amazing scenery for two weeks, members of our trekking group acted as ‘citizen scientists’, collecting observational data on high altitude porters, many of whom face difficult and dangerous working conditions. And we experienced more adventure then I think any of us expected,  from the thin air at 18,000ft, to raging waters, to a helicopter evacuation. Big thanks to my friend Dorjee Sherpa for co-leading the trip, our assistant guides Pasang and Nima Sherpa, our four porters Ang Tring, Lhak Paso, Pasang, and Karma. And thanks to everyone on the trek for dealing with all the ups and downs, figurative and literal.

And so I leave you with some selected pictures of the Everest Base Camp Trek. A full album with about 60 pictures is available on Picasa. Take care. Travel safe. And as my friend John Fiddler (now resuming world travels) would say: Breathe deep.

-Seth
Kathmandu, November 8th. 2013. 

Everest Base Camp Trek

S2Mountaineering.com  October 2nd to October 16th.

Getting up at 4am is tough!
Ready to hit the Kathmandu airport for our ~45 minute flight to Lukla.
We had the best seat in the house for flying into Lukla,
‘the world’s most dangerous airport’
Looking back on the Lukla airstrip after landing, super short,
10% grade, and a sheer drop off at the end. Whew.
Commercial porter carrying boards – our research study aims to help them..
Dorjee Sherpa wearing some UW pride.
Getting to this bridge was sketchy on the way down.
Up above Namche
The crew (and a yak) at Tangboche Monastery.
Carl W, Pasang S, Andrew H, Christine S, Neil M., Janet P, Nima S, Nichole S, and Dorjee S.
This is what it is all about
Sky running at 14,000ft during a rest day,  above Pheriche.
Running ‘back down’ to our lodge. Everest in the distance.
Clouds blowing off Everest.
The south summit is the bump off to the right,
hands down my most terrifying moment in 2011.
Panorama from Kala Patar.
Descending below Thukla, still the two highest Wolpins in the world.
Good bye mountains! View from the flight back to Kathmandu
Thanks PROBAR for the fuel!
Please contact me if you are interested in some high altitude trekking, running, and research (or any combination!)

5 Responses to “Prepping for Manaslu Mtn Race and Trekking to Everest Base Camp

  • You’re amazing Seth! Safe travels….Maggie Baker

  • Seth, thanks for keeping us up-to-date on your adventure travels. Running at 14K feet, I can’t imagine! It’s certainly a beautiful world that you are sharing with us. Be well. Barbara (and Harold!)

  • Thank you for your informative post seth, Whats next adventure travel schedule? Well; I’ve enjoyed viewing images taking from Base Camp Trek.

  • Thanks Maggie, Barbara, and Harold – I feel incredibly privileged to count you as friends and family and to be living this life. Counting my blessings…

  • Hi WIlliam, sorry – your comment somehow got flagged as spam and I didn’t see it until now. Consider it unflagged. I’m taking a couple months off due to my misfortune on Manaslu and also research duties, but have an eye on the Great Himalayan Trail in the spring, some big volcano runs in the pacific northwest in the summer, and some organized runs and treks in Tanazania and Nepal in the latter half of 2014 and into 2015. Let me know if interested! Thanks for following along. Safe trails!

Feedback welcome