Now that I am officially funemployed, preparations for my first extended trip are ... about to be completed, actually. I have spent many recent weekends and nights piling up gear in the living room and checking things off my checklists.
In about a week from now, I will be headed for Nepal. I'll be helping my friend Jason Gulley, a hydrologist and glaciologist, to survey glacier caves in the Khumbu (Mount Everest) region for about a month. Our team of four will be hiking in from Lukla, on the trails used by many high altitude trekkers and mountaineers on their way to Everest base camp, and then use a combination of caving and ice climbing techniques to explore and study the caves that have formed by water flowing through the glaciers in the region.
Preparations included such things as imitating the Russian design of caving butt pads by sewing a piece of elastic webbing to a foam pad -- we'll see how that works on the ice, but the idea is that you wear it around, and whenever you sit down it'll be there to provide some insulation. Sounds like a good idea for surveying in cold caves.
|Foam pad for insulation while surveying the caves|
|My improvised soldering station|
Oh, and I should mention that Klättermusen provided us with pretty awesome jackets and salopettes that will keep us protected from the wetness underground (and above); as well as with additional gear.
Other plans for my "year off" aren't all firm yet, but will (likely) include pushing leads at the bottom of a Tiankeng in Southwest China over Spring Festival, spending a few weeks helping out at J2, and attending the ICS next year. I need to add some more mountaineering fun to that mix, though. Oh, and participating in a caving expedition in Quintana Roo (Yucatán) while the world ends is on the list. Stay tuned!