Returning to Everest

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In 2007, Regie Pablo successfully ascended Mt. Everest and to commemorate one of the monumental events of his life, he is back on the mountain with a thankful heart.

After writing his success story, I can say it is one of my most emotional piece to date and you can read it here, I was looking forward to writing a light hearted one and luckily his celebratory climb to Everest Base Camp was just that – sentimental but with a lot of laughter on the trail.

Describing his reunion with the mountain sounded like a scene from a movie, standing at Syangboche Pablo bowed his head in salutation.

“I have come to pay respect and that I am now at peace. I also thanked Her for the opportunity of making it to her summit 10 years ago”

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Sir Lester Susi with the Himalayan mountains as backdrop

Since Pablo was on a celebratory mood, the whole time they were trekking towards basecamp, he was joking around with his climbing buddies and guides. The pressure of leading a climbing team isn’t that tough anymore and he was climbing with friends who knew him well which made the trek more meaningful.

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Regie Pablo on top of Mt. Everest in 2007

“Ten years ago, I was leading a group of highly strung elite athletes with strong personalities. So naturally there is pressure on my part to perform as well lest I will be labeled a weakling. It was tough since it was hard to impress upon them the authority vested in me by our team and at the same time perform as one of the climbers. This time it is very different, I was climbing with friends who recognizes my climbing experience therefore respect came naturally. My opinion counted a lot and it was easier to make decisions”


READ: Regie’s Success Story)

Pablo trekked to EBC with friends from Buhawi Mountaineers – Mr. and Mrs. Joel and Ruby Tejerero, Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Tess Hidalgo and a good friend from AMCI, Lester Susi.

“We brought a lot of Filipino food because we expected to lose appetite, from memory food from the lodges were not really good but surprisingly we liked most of the food served. It was still a big help that we had tapa, longganisa, tinapa, sardines, bagoong, itlog na pula, etc. Our trail foods were also the typical trail food we used during local climbs”

Aside from food, Pablo noted huge changes in the region which he attributed to technology as the game changer. If in 2007, connecting to the internet was hard it is now more convenient as most villages they stayed at has wifi coverage, although of course it comes at a price; the whole region was transformed since he had last seen it.

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Tengboche Monastery

“It’s world’s apart. The Solokhumbu Region has been transformed in a remarkable way. The lodges/tea houses we stayed are way better now in terms of facilities, there are more and better choices for the accommodations while most shops in Thamel District now accepts credit cards, lots of ATM machines all over the place, wifi coverage is in almost all major establishments, and you can watch English channels thru cable tv in your hotel. And in the Pashupatinath Temple, it now offers electric cremation, besides the usual manual open fire cremation”

Those are indeed huge leaps even though Nepal especially Kathmandu is still striving hard to recover from the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2015.

Pablo likened Nepalese to Filipinos,

“Both are resilient people and will withstand anything that life will throw at them, always rising from the ashes. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for several World Heritage Sites that were totally destroyed and or damaged by the earthquakes. It was irreplaceable and some of them have been lost forever. But Kathmandu is continuously rebuilding and I was happy to see that they are slowly getting back to where they were before in terms of the tourism industry”

He also observed that more Asian tourists especially Indians and Malaysians are visiting Nepal and predicts that it is just be a matter of time before more Filipinos makes Nepal a travel destination.

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The team on their way to Everest Base Camp

“There were so many helicopters flying the route from Lukla Airport all the way to Everest Basecamp. Ten years ago, I believe the helicopters can only reached up to Periche on a regular basis but on 3 or 4 hour intervals. Basecamp could be reached then but they were only used during emergencies and need-to-situations. Now they are plying the route like Uber taxis and most villages now have their own helipads. On a good weather we’ve seen helicopters going in and out of the valley every 3 minutes. There’s even talk that a popular trekking agency is proposing to ferry climbers from Everest Basecamp to Camp 1 thru helicopters so they could bypass the notorious Khumbu Icefall”

Although tour agencies have been offering 1 day helicopter tours, ferrying tourist from Kathmandu all the way to Everest Base Camp with a price that ranges from $1,400 to a pricey $4,000, this impending change would surely affect the overall trekking experience of those who are on expeditions. However, it will also positively make an impact on the mountain economy.

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Namche Bazaar rebuilding after the devastating earthquake in 2015

From my past interview with Pablo, he mentioned his desire to continue to be a success story and probably this anniversary trek to Mt. Everest jumpstart his 7 summit bid?

“All I can say is that I am not done with alpine climbing just yet. I liked the way my body performed and responded to the alpine environment again. I am not in a self imposed deadline or to-do list in climbing. I just know that I can still do it given the resources and time to do it”

That sounds like an affirmative, right? Hopefully that dream will be realized soon and being the last Filipino to plant our flag on top of Mt. Everest, another Filipino on top of it is one of his dreams.

Congratulations to the team and special mention to Sir Lester Susi, one of my (our) ever humble mentors in tropical mountaineering.

Happy anniversary on your Mt. Everest successful ascend Sir Regie Pablo, may you always keep on inspiring us.2

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*****

Regie Pablo, his friends from Buhawi Mountaineers and Lester Susi of AMCI was able to reach the Everest Base Camp thru International Adventures Treks & Expeditions Pte. Ltd managed by Mr. and Mrs. Harkaraj and Emma Pariyar.

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