Mike Matty's Mt. Everest Journal

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#1 Extreme Airport

with 4 comments

Tuesday–March 29

Before I address the title of this entry, let me give you a communications update. Though today was relatively quiet, I spent a good portion of today trying to get my cell phone to work.  As a test,  I tried calling the office, but given the time difference, I also didn’t want to wake up anyone in the middle of the night with my “Can you hear me now?” question. Im sure the reply is something I wouldn’t be able to include in this blog. My afternoon here is essentially the very early morning of the same day in your part of the world.

As it turns out, the cell phone does work and has all along though for some crazy reason, the number at the office does NOT work if dialed from a cell phone in Nepal.  It just disconnects.  Go figure!  It’s just very strange.

We had our big “Welcome to Nepal” dinner for all the Mt. Everest climbers and base camp trekkers for this season with IMG.  The class is complete! I’m now just about ready to call it a night.  Breakfast is at 4:30 am, then out of the hotel to catch our 5:15am flight to Lukla.  From there,  we begin our 10 to 12 day trek to base camp at 5,300 meters or 17,388 feet.

Lukla has been readily refered to as  “the most extreme airport in the world.”  The runway is at an unheard of 12-degree angle, it’s short with a cliff face as an end point. Oh, did I tell you that there are buildings to one side, practically next to the runway?  Some buildings are also positioned at the end of the runway though I think they may be safe since they’re about 50-feet up the face of that cliff(!).  To make it even more exciting, the high altitude cuts the plane’s horsepower. Basically, it’s a one shot deal.  That runway is a mind-boggling 350 meters (short!) in length.  That’s a paltry 1,148 feet give or take a sneeze!

It’s easier if you take a ride to see what I’m talking about. Click here and you’ll see a clip taken by a team member from the 2009 Everest expedtion.  Enjoy the ride!

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Written by mmsummits7

March 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Mountaineering

4 Responses

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  1. Mike, we’re really enjoying your blog! Jacques passed along the links. And we’re excited to be following you on this great journey. Can’t wait to hear about it over dinner in Portland!

    Jill & Mac

    March 29, 2011 at 10:33 pm

  2. Mike…Interesting stuff! The clip of the landing reminded me of some of my landings in Viet Nam. Looking forward to following your blog. Godspeed. Pete Vinson

    Pete Vinson

    March 30, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    • Thanks, Pete….you’ve landed more than once! Once can be enough.

      mmsummits7

      April 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm


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