Adventures of a mother of 7 – Johanna Gustafsson

Because it's there!

When 8 years old I learned about Mount Everest, and ever since I have dreamed about climbing up there. When I became middle-aged and sensible I thought that it's impossible.

2012 when I turned 50 I suddenly got this crazy idea to fulfill my childhood dream. Now, almost 2 years later, after studying, training, researching & finding solutions, it seems possible!

If things go well I will summit in May 2014, if things don't go well I will hopefully do it another year. If you want to follow me vie e-mail updates you can subscribe to them.

The most dangerous airport in the world

When going to Mount Everest from the Nepali side you leave from Kathmandu by a small plane to a place called Lukla. The Lukla airport, or the Tenzing-Hillary airport as it was named in 2008 in hounor of the pair who first made it to the top of Everest and back, is a small strip 2800 meters high in the mountains.  It has in various programs and articles been labeled "the most dangerous airport in the world". I don't know if it is that, but I am very happy that they often seem to cancel flights there because of weather issues, so the authorities and pilots are being careful.

The length of the strip is only 460 meters, you can land a small plane because the strip is tilted 12% uphill for landing, for take-off you speed downhill to take a leap into a 700 m ravine.

I had never landed there before this current trip to Everest. The one time we were supposed to do that was last September when attempting to summit Mera Peak, but the difficult weather never let us do that. We took a helicopter to a place, I think it was called Surak, 600 m lower down instead. But here is a little video of us lifting off from Lukla when returning from Mera.

Here is a another video showing traffic in Lukla:

When the window of opportunity to fly in and out of Lukla opens there generally is a lot of backlog and conditions will change quickly. The result is that there is generally a lot of slow waiting at either end, and then suddenly running, really rushing into the plane or helicopter that then immediately takes off.

This time most of our gear was left behind in Kathmandu, three out of our four bags caught up with us two days later in the Namche Bazaar sherpa village.

Johanna Gustafsson – the Everest project