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Published: March 3rd 2018
Woolly says – Some things are worth getting up early for and today was one of them. I’d been awake since 4am in my excitement and although Jo had told me to pipe down and I’d explained that I didn’t have a pipe to put down, she wasn’t really cross, well she didn’t tell me to shut up which is a good indicator. By 5am we were all up although Zoe seemed to be able to sleep, move and get dressed all at the same time which is a handy tick to have. The streets of Kathmandu were empty as our taxi bumped along through the darkness, the airport was busy, having checked in for our flight which sadly wasn’t with Yeti Airlines which has to be the best name for an airline yet, we sat in the departure lounge and waited to be called.
He couldn’t sit still and having already told him to stop running up to the staff and asking if we should board yet I allowed him the opportunity to tell us about his research. Woolly says – We were heading to the top of the world, the highest
mountain in the world and although we might not be climbing it I still felt there must be a world record for being the first mammoth to reach the same height as Everest! Mount Everest’s real name is Sagarmāthā and has a current official elevation of 8,848 meters (29,029 ft), which was established by a 1955 Indian survey and subsequently confirmed by a Chinese survey in 1975. Known for its’ climbing there are two main routes, one approaching the summit from the southeast in Nepal (known as the "standard route") and the other from the north in Tibet. While not posing substantial technical climbing challenges on the standard route, Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, and wind, as well as significant hazards from avalanches and the Khumbu Icefall. As of 2017 nearly 300 people have died on Everest, many of whose bodies remain on the mountain. Although the summit might have been claimed by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine in 1924 it was unconfirmed as both climbers died in their attempt, Mallory’s body wasn’t found until 1999. Therefore, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary hold the title of the first official ascent of Everest in 1953, using the southeast
ridge route. Brave men to face such a challenge especially in the days when it would have been just ropes and no technology to radio for help.
Just as he paused for breath our flight was called and we made our way onto the plane. Woolly says – It was a very small plane with one seat on each side, Zoe, Jo and I got the back row to share and as we took off into the blue sky I looked at the map that they had kindly given to us to enable us to know where we were. Within minutes I could see white peaks and started pointing only for Jo to shake her head for not being ‘the’ white peak. The Himalayan range was incredible, and I was transfixed watching mountain after mountain pass my window, far below us I could see mist and areas of green with small villages dotted around. As another craggy peak went past I heard the words I had been waiting for, Everest was in sight, I pressed my trunk to the glass and peered out, it didn’t look much bigger than the ones
surrounding it and I couldn’t see any climbers up there, but it was magnificent. A small cloud seemed to be stuck to it’s peak and I wondered if you wold be able to touch it if you arrived at the top.
My small friend seemed very happy with his view, so I took the opportunity to go to the front of the plane and take in the pilot’s view, as their windows were clean and unscratched they defiantly had the best view of us all, it was unbelievable, the white snow glistening in the sunlight across the whole range with Everest just above everything else. Woolly says – Once Jo had returned it was my turn to head into the cockpit and take in the view, tremendous is the only way to describe it. I was so glad we had decided to do the flight, having debated long and hard over the cost (and it wasn’t cheap) and with Zoe still not able to take on a full blown trek it was going to be the only way for us to see the top of the world and I for one was
glad that Jo had overruled the cost issues for the once in a lifetime experience because it really was. All to soon we were coming back into land, just as I thought that my day couldn’t get any better the pilot handed me a certificate with my name on, I was delighted and waved it round for the rest of the passengers to see ….. I wonder if this will be sufficient evidence for the Guinness Book of Mammoth Records in my claim for reaching the Top of the World!
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