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Himalaya

Day 51: Dovan to Derali

Michael Palin - HimalayaWe set out at half-past seven, climbing up steep stone staircases through a tangle of semi-tropical woodland, with wispy lengths of Spanish moss trailing from the branches of the trees like a trail of feather boas. When we emerge from the trees the sunshine is still way up in the mountain tops but the air is cool and fresh.

I feel a sudden surge of joie de vivre and ask Wongchu if he thought I could climb Everest. Flattered that he says yes with barely a pause I ask how long it would take.

'You must do training. Get used to altitude. Climb other mountains first.' He looks me up and down. 'I get you up there in maybe 75, maybe 100 days.'

I was thinking about a week.

'No time on this schedule, then.'

He grins and indicates my backpack.

'You want me take that?'

The distance between us and the tantalizing ceiling of sunlight high above us is gradually decreasing, but it's not until 10.15 that it tips over the rim of the mountains and spills into the valley. The temperature change is instant and dramatic. Off with fleece and on with 35 factor sun cream.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 51: Dovan to Derali
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Dovan
  • Book page no: 115

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