Tuesday, April 20

Hume thoughts from abroad - Part 1of 2 – by Major Peter Donald Hume

“This being my tenth year of exile on the mountain, I take up my pen to write my journal”

Mark has allowed me to blog space to add a different view point. The only banned topics are those which show Capt. H in anything other than the role of superhuman mountaineer extraordinaire – luckily he has not strayed very much from this role so far.....

Living at ABC means lie revolved around
1.Sleeping – Despite being at 5,600m, this has been very good overall with at least 10 hours spent in the tent each night
2.Hygiene fairly poor,but bearable. The English amongst us managing to shave every few days and the toilet tent is light years ahead of the wooden long drops of Kili...even up here at ABC we have a pinned up copy of the Standard exhort at low, found in all lodges in this part of the world: Please do not put paper in the hole! - as I write this Shera, head cook is building a shower tent. Yippee
3.Eating: something different to tempt the taste buds, every day. My current vegetarian status is often interpreted in the cook tent by simply removing any animal protein from my plate Tofu appeared for the early days but everyone shared in this and I think that supplies are now exhausted. I am not sure that warmed up tinned pineapple will form a major addition to dinner parties at Kenway road, but as Mark wisely says, next time they can simply leave our portions outside the mess tent for 5 mins and chilled perfection is guaranteed.
4.Physical exertion: my preferences for lazing around have been thwarted by Mark's insistence on training walks and the 2 long days from BC to ABC and from ABC to Depot. I remind myself that this is all character forming, good for my physical wellbeing and great as part of my weight reduction programme. If I slip back in resolve, I am told to pull myself together and forget the Earls Court sofa days.

Shishapangma itself has been a constant pleasure and surprise. Despite being above 5,000m we have seen antelope, hares, beautiful birds and some snow imprints which looked liked those of some member of the cat family. The elusive Red Panda remains hidden across the border in Nepal. However has anyone ever seen this critter?

The icy-blue wind-carved peaks, spires and valleys on the glacier all along the way to Depot camp were probably the most spectacular sight I have ever seen. The view of Shishapangma and the other mountain tops in this part of the Himalayas are truly beautiful (I would have said awesome, but this adjective seems now reserved for describing a well cooked Dal Bhat or a nicely brewed cup of tea). At night we have had clear skies and the minute crescent of the new moon and the myriad of stars that we urbanites never see.

My yak hat, it transpires is actually made of sheepskin. I realised this in Nyalam when several Tibetans made bleating and baaing noises at me At least I assume this was their meaning and not simply an expression of their sexual preferences or an invitation.

Its a lonely life up in the mountains and the Tibetan men and women are not easily distinguishable. All of them are completely wrapped up in many layers of ancient clothing, with similar gap-toothed grubby and sun-burned faces. Still my hat is, I believe much loved by all who see it. I explained to one of our fellow travellers that I wore my hat and shaved regularly because I like to be different from others around me. She replied that I didn't need a shave or a funny hat to achieve this – what can she have meant, I wonder?

Pity but I do not think I can write any more.
Om mahne padme hom
Peter (Major) Hume

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