Arts and Entertainment

Scenes from a dream trek aim to inspire March 3

A precarious section of the trail with Nuptse in the background.  - Courtesy photo/Dave Burton
A precarious section of the trail with Nuptse in the background.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Dave Burton

There are few things more inspiring for explorers than sights from some of the world’s highest mountain ranges.

Add in a bit of insightful and colorful commentary from the man behind the camera lens and the pictures take on an even deeper meaning.

Kitsap Mountaineers’ member Dave Burton will be providing an inspirational bit of both at the next meeting of the Mountaineers — 7 p.m. March 3 at the Norm Dicks Center, 345 6th St. in Bremerton. His slide show “Dream Trekking in Nepal” chronicles a crew of local mountaineers who, last winter, trekked two of the world’s highest mountain ranges and then followed up with a safari through the dangerous but exciting jungles of Chitwan in the foothills of the Himalayas.

“The original idea was to see the Himalayas before I popped my clogs,” Burton said in his English vernacular meaning before he died. “But it’s been modified of late to whilst I’m still able to hike and enjoy the view.”

Burton and a few of his local hiking buddies went on the robust trip this past winter, starting out with a 20-day trip up to the Mount Everest Base Camp with a team of 15 other trekkers and six or seven yaks and local porters.

Fighting the cold and damp atmosphere, altitude sickness and other illnesses, all four of the Kitsap members of the crew achieved the group’s three main goals — first summitting Kala Patar (Black Mountain) at 18,300 feet.

“Which was a tough nut for us to crack because of the summit location consisting of huge granite blocks, and mostly the altitude exposure,” Burton said, noting it was well worth it. “It afforded us a panorama of the Khumbu peaks.”

Facing the big names like Everest, Lhotse South Face and “the graceful scythed ridge” of Nuptse, the group had achieved its first objective on the dream trek.

The next day, the dream turned ominous when they reached the Everest Base Camp and witnessed an avalanche of roar down Nuptse’s face.

“I thought of all the climbers and Sherpas (local porters) who had previously died in dreaded icefall,” Burton said. “I shuddered with foreboding, thinking “ ‘Can’t wait to get out of this God-forsaken place!’ ”

Shortly thereafter the crew began its descent and returned safely to Kathmandu before taking off for Pokhara, Nepal, in preparation for the next stretch of the trek — the Annapurna Sanctuary, one of the world’s great mountain amphitheaters.

While the climate there was more gentle and temperate than that of the Khumbu, Burton said, the climbing was even tougher due to steeper terrain, extended altitude lost and natural stone staircases demanding careful foot placement.

“In the end we made a remarkably fast — to my mind too fast — tour, taking only six days when eight to 10 are the usual for the round trip,” Burton said.

The crew had covered the same net altitude gain as on Everest but with a 50 percent loss rate due to the steeper local terrain. They’d made it up and back in half the time as it took on Everest.

But that afforded the luxury of lazing around and mellowing out lakeside at their base in Pokhara.

Rested and recuperated, the group then boarded a bus which took them to Chitwan and the Royal Nature Preserve for a “well-organized jungle related safari, replete with a Land-Rover tour, jungle elephant ride, canoe ride and two jungle tours on foot,” Burton said.

Kitsap Mountaineer Dave Burton

will present a slide show on “Dream Trekking in Nepal” at the next meeting of the Kitsap Mountaineers, 7 p.m. March 3 at the Norm Dicks Center, 345 6th St. in Bremerton. The presentation is free and open to the public. Info: www.kitsapmountaineers.org or call (360) 692-8822.

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