Progress Report 2 -
Kangchenjunga - 26th April 2000
VIOLENT WEATHER DELAYS UK MOUNTAINEER ALAN
HINKES ON TREK TO HIMALAYAN BASE
Violent weather has delayed the UK's top high
altitude mountaineer Alan Hinkes on his trek
to base camp on the giant Himalayan mountain
Alan is attempting to be the first Britain
to climb all fourteen of the world's highest
mountains, which are all over 8000 metres
in height - Challenge 8000. So far he has
climbed eleven of the mountains, including
Everest and K2. This spring, he is attempting
to climb Kangchenjunga the
third highest mountain in the world.
Alan left Kathmandu in Nepal on Thursday 13
April and flew to Biratnagar, a town on the
Indian/Nepalese border which is at about 235
metres above sea level. From there he attempted
to fly on a small light aircraft to a dirt
airstrip at Tapelejung, at 2000 metres, but
his plane had to turn back to Biratnagar because
of bad weather. When he finally arrived at
Tapelejung he found that his equipment, which
had been travelling by road, had been delayed
by a road block. Tapelejung is the road head
- the location of the nearest road to Kangchenjunga.
From there the route is a twelve day trek
on foot across very rough and inhospitable
terrain to the mountain.
Having lost several days waiting for his equipment
to join him, Alan set off on the trek with
around 25 Nepalese porters carrying his equipment
and accompanied by his three base camp staff;
Pemba, his cook, Ang Pasang the camp Sirdar
or foreman and Pemba Gyalzen the cook's helper.
By Sunday 23 April they had reached Oktang
at 4360 metres, when the weather changed suddenly
and dramatically from warm spring sunshine
to a violent storm which deposited about sixteen
inches of snow in one night. The group were
confined to their tents and forced to wait
out the storm.
"We were struck by a horrendous storm,"
said Alan via his satellite phone from Oktang.
"The weather was really violent with
very strong winds, lightning and a very heavy
dump of snow. The conditions for the remaining
part of the trek will be much worse. I think
that it will be about another
week before we reach base camp."
"Although this delay is very frustrating,"
he continued, "I still have enough time
to make my attempt on Kangchenjunga. I shall
push on to base camp and assess the impact
of the storm on the conditions on the mountain.
This area at the eastern end of the Himalayan
mountains has a history of very bad weather
and unfortunately violent storms are very