So it all came about a little like this…
Pete was approached to make a doco about climbing Ama Dablam for an expedition company. Being the top bloke that he is, Pete asked me to tag along. The AD doco idea fell through. But we had both made windows for October in Nepal and we were now foot loose and fancy-free.
With some not so idle googling, we found Hunku. Reading Nick Bullock’s account of sucking eggs
it looked survivable and were kinda keen to escape the Khumbu. We were heading back anyways there in November for a little frolic to EBC. We flicked our idea across to Damien, the grand sage and oracle of mountaineering and he said.. ‘time to man up boys, why don’t you try something unclimbed?’
Fame and everlasting fortune flashed across our eyes before we realised there is generally a pretty good reason a mountain hasn’t been climbed. We still wished to survive our trip to Nepal and so somewhat more subdued, we asked Damo what was unclimbed and non suicidal.
‘Tsartse looks a goer’ Damien replied, with furrowed brow and a slight air of resignation. I say all this, but admittedly this was all done on FB chat and so I may be embellishing.
So we had a mountain. Just had to figure out where it was. Another chrome browser tab opened, bashed out Tsartse (no, I am not looking for tarts thank you google) on the keyboard and now we were getting somewhere. A trip down to the local outdoor store and some maps printed from the time that Maggie was wondering where the hell the Falklands were got us even closer. Bloody hell, Tsartse was only 8km as the crow flies from Jomosom.
Now everyone who has been to Nepal invariably has a guy. Our guy is Dawa. Poor ol’ Dawa gets about 10 emails a year from Pete or I, something along the lines of…Hey Dawa, hope all is well in the ‘du, can you please price a trip for 4 possibly 18 people for 13 days to 3 months to climb all mountains east of Kathmandu that have an elevation of 6,969 m starting with the letter 'N'. Oh yeah and make it cheap and we are not sure if we can go but would be really nice if you could get us a price by Tuesday.
Bless the long suffering Dawa. Without delay nor begrudging our history of asinine requests, he replied to our emails asking for 17 different options to get to Tsartse. Using porters using Yaks, using elephants like a stirring re-enactment of Hannibal crossing the Alps. You name it, we asked.
We also started to think who else should come along.
‘Well, everyone loves a threesome’. In hindsight that’s a line that has not worked in the past, quite as I had hoped.. but mulling things over, I felt a third person should accompany us on our little adventure. The three musketeers, the three amigos, the three stooges.
“We should invite Ngima’ I told Pete as we sat down once again at our regular lunchtime haunt ‘ The Love Grub’ in Alexandria, to plot and scheme and drink copious amounts of soy flat whites.
‘Ngima who?’ asked Pete
In Pete’s defence,, a Ngima in Nepal is like a Mohammed in a mosque, pretty bloody common. So I added, you know Ngima, Ngima.. and yeah Pete was still drawing blank, not getting clarity from my repeating the name and enunciating it more slowly.
‘Chicken legs Ngima’ I blurted, and with this Pete finally understood. Ngima ‘Chicken legs’ Nhuru, 45 kgs dripping wet. A Sherpa from Periche who could singlehandedly carry a pregnant Nak up the Khumbu icefall, wearing just a pair of slightly worn flip-flops.
To be continued…