The Accident at Tashi Lapso Pass, Part Five: The Distant Thudding

By now, it is just after 3pm. Two things happen that finally gave us some hope: As we’re walking, Lakpa breaks the silence, saying; “I can see Thame ahead”. Secondly, Nima reappeared.

Nima explained in rapid Nepali that he had run all the way down from Ngole to Thame in just on two hours this morning (it had taken us 9 hours to walk up to Ngole) and had been able to contact Bijay and our second guide, Sanghe, who were in a village an hour out of Lukla. They had been in touch with our trek operator, Mingma, who had arranged for a helicopter to come from Kathmandu. Nima said he believed the helicopter was on standby in Lukla, ready to fly up to Thame as soon as we were able to make the call and ask for it to come.

Despite having run downhill close to 10 kilometres, descending 1,500 metres this morning in record time then walking back up another hour, Nima also offered to take over the basket-carrying, relieving an exhausted Lakpa. Like Lakpa, he had a nice walking style that I was comfortable with. As we continued to walk along the valley ridge towards Thame, Lakpa lagged behind, trying repeatedly to access the phone network that would allow him to contact either Bijay or Sanghe.

There is an ancient monastery on the slope about 150 metres above the village of Thame. Just as we were walking past this, the mobile network sprang to life and Lakpa could finally make the phone call we had been desperately hoping to make for almost six hours. I heard him say, ‘Send the helicopter now.’ Lakpa then (fittingly I thought) took over the last minutes of basket carrying until we reached the Thame helipad.

 

The monastery where Lakpa Sherpa's mobile phone sprang into life.

The monastery where Lakpa Sherpa’s mobile phone sprang into life.

 

We knew it would take the helicopter no more than 10 minutes to get there from Lukla and as it had to land on a very narrow, windy ridge, it was important that we were there at the same time as it arrived – if not before. A short time later, Lakpa called around to me, saying; “here we are at the helipad”. He set the basket down and said to me, “everything is going to be okay now”. After the ordeal of the day, the pain I was in with due to my leg (and bladder), all I could do was to nod in reply.

 

Looking towards Thame; the path leading into Thame village (right)

Looking towards Thame; the path leading into Thame village (right)

 

It was 3:45pm.

Almost immediately we hear the distant thudding of the helicopter rotors and moments later we could see the small black helicopter flying up the valley in our direction.

Never in my life have I been more relieved to see a helicopter.

 

A typical rescue helicopter used in the Himalayas - similar to the one which arrived for Louise in Thame

A typical rescue helicopter used in the Himalayas – similar to the one which arrived for Louise in Thame

 

 

About Louise Currie

Originally from Australia, although I have been living in Nepal since 2005. I worked for a long time for an international aid agency in Kathmandu. I am interested in community development and having adventures in remote places. I am married with one daughter.

Comments

  1. Thanks Louise

    Really enjoyed your writing first thing in the morning each day this week.

  2. Louise Currie says

    Thanks Kate.

    Glad you are enjoying it!

    Louise

  3. Hi Louise,

    Same as Kate, I enjoy reading your story. The tour guides are physically strong and you are strong as well. Thanks for your compliment on my comment made for the Day Two story.

    Have a good weekend :)

    Yoshi

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