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Saturday, 10 June 2017 08:00

Mount Everest a peak experience for southeast Albertan

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Jenn Wood, Tyler Burns and Lana Brost at Mount Everest's Base Camp. Jenn Wood, Tyler Burns and Lana Brost at Mount Everest's Base Camp. Photo contributed

Cypress Hills’s peak is at the head of the mountain on the Alberta side and is a reported 1,466 metres (4,810 feet). The highest point in Saskatchewan is apparently 1,392 metres (4,567 feet). Mount Everest in comparison reaches 29,029 feet which is 8,848 metres above sea level.


Brooks area resident Lana Brost grew up on a ranch in the Cypress Hills south of Walsh just on the west side of the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. So perhaps it’s not surprising that from a young age, Brost was always the adventurous type who was fascinated with Mount Everest because of her father.

“He is always reading and when the book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer came out after the 1996 Everest disaster he had it at home so I read it as well,” explains Brost. “I thought it was an amazing story and really enjoyed it.”
Brost’s friend Jenn Wood, who lives in Edmonton, is a seasoned traveller. She takes month-long holidays every year to travel and last year she went to Nepal to run a triathlon and do some trekking in the Himalayas. 
“She enjoyed the trekking so much she wanted to go back to do the Everest Basecamp trek and asked me to come along. We have travelled together before and really enjoyed it so I thought ‘why not?’” explains Brost. “After some convincing from Jenn and myself, my husband Tyler (Burns) decided to come along as well. We started planning the trip in December of 2016 by reaching out to a Nepalee guide (Bibek Gurung) who had led a trek for an acquaintance of hers in the fall of 2016. Once we confirmed with Bibek, we were well on our way. 
“Once booked everything was taken care of for us as the guide arranged all of our food and lodging during the 13-day trek. He even picked us up from the airport in Kathmandu, took us to our hotel and we spent the next day touring Kathmandu.”
The Brooks residents flew out of Calgary April 12 and from there they met Lana’s friend Jenn in Vancouver,
From Vancouver, they flew to Guangzhou, China and from there to Kathmandu, Nepal. 
It was an arduous process travelling to that country. After 27 hours in transit, they finally landed in Kathmandu. They arrived at 10 p.m. and were ready for a rest.
The next day they spent touring Kathmandu, and from there they went to the Monkey Temple as well as the Dream garden. 
They had an early flight the following morning from the Kathmandu airport to Lukla. Lukla is often referred to as the world’s most dangerous airport as the runway is only 527 metres long. 
“This was the most amazing flight I have ever experienced as you fly through the Himalayas on a 16-seater plane,” explains Brost. “Mountains for as far as you can see makes for the most beautiful scenery.”
Once in Lukla, their trek began. Brost explains Lukla’s elevation is 2,845 metres and their destination of Everest base camp is at 5,364 metres so they had a long way to go. 
“We spent the next eight days trekking between four to eight hours a day to reach base camp. A typical day began at 6:30 (a.m.) for breakfast and we were on the trail by 7:30,” she explains. “Lunchtime varied depending on how close we were to the next village and our suppers we took usually around 6:30 p.m. at our teahouses where we spent the night. Day eight was when we finally reached Everest basecamp. We spent about an hour there taking in the view and enjoying our achievement. It was particularly special as this time of year (late April) is when the actual summiters camps are set up at basecamp. 
On their ninth day, Wood and Brost climbed up to 5,500 metres on Mount Kalapathar for an amazing view of Mount Everest, but unfortunately for them, the weather that day was not co-operating and it was overcast.
From there, they began their descent back to Lukla which took them four days. 
“It takes longer to climb up to base camp as we needed to take two acclimatization days to allow a person’s body to adjust to the new altitudes and avoid altitude sickness,” Brost adds.  “On the way down, the air becomes richer each day as you retreat. In total, we travelled 130 km during the trek. It was amazing seeing the Nepalee Sherpas carrying their massive loads up and down the trail and passing the yaks and donkeys as well.”
Everything must be carried up the trail this way as there are no roads and the only way in or out is by helicopter.
As in childhood, the spirit of adventure continues for Brost.
They decided they will be back, albeit, not for a while.
“Who knows where our next vacation may lead us, but we know for sure that the three of us enjoyed the trek so much we made a pact with our guide Bibek that we will be back in 2022 to climb Island Peak, a mountain in Sagarmatha National Park of the Himalayas of eastern Nepal (elevation 6,189 metres),” explains Brost.
“This will be a more difficult climb as it is at a higher altitude and requires some actual technical climbing skills such as belaying and rappelling.”

Read 909 times Last modified on Monday, 12 June 2017 08:20
Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor