A view from Nepal

Ahrendson displays a map of his route, with mountain peaks and trail stops marked with post-it notes. He wears a Buddhist prayer shawl he was given at a traditional stop where he was blessed by a priest.

In March of 2016, Clarion’s own Dr. Jon Ahrendson took the trip of a lifetime: a hike to the base of Mount. Everest, sponsored by the Wilderness Medical Society. On February 6, Ahrendson shared about his experience—a journey of more than 7,500 miles by plane, then days of additional hiking to reach the Base Camp, and back to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital—with visitors to the Clarion Public Library.

Nepal is similar in size to Iowa, but is so much more mountainous that it has a much greater surface area. “If [Nepal] was aluminum foil, and you flattened in all out, it would be the same size as the United States,” Ahrendson said.

Ahrendson flew into Lukla, Nepal, in a twin engine turboprop plane over the Himalayas on a clear day. Lukla’s airport, which sits at 9,186 feet above sea level, has a short, angled runway which starts at the edge of a cliff. “You get one shot to land. You either land, or you crash,” Ahrendson said. “Very frequently because of fog and clouds and such, the flights will be delayed.”

Ahrendson traveled with a group of doctors and other medical personnel and heard lectures throughout the trip about different aspects of wilderness and high-altitude medicine. Some of those ideas became very real as they ascended more than 7,000 feet by foot to Everest Base Camp, 16,700 feet.

 

For the full story, see the February 16 edition of the Monitor.