We are on the Tibetan plateau. The sky is clear and beautiful, pure Tibetan idyll. On the horizon radiates the summit of Everest, next to Cho Oyu. Tingri is a windswept village situated on a solitary hill on a large strange plain. It’s about. 100 houses in the old Tibetan part, twenty Chinese military barracks and two guest houses for truck drivers and tourists. Locally the town is called Ganggar and on the hill above the town, once lay a dzong, fort. It was part of the great defenses the Tibetans built as a defense against the cucumbers in Nepal. Remains of this wall between Gutsuo and Shegar are still seen in southern Tibet. From here there is a wealth of good and beautiful hiking experiences.
The path leads directly south, across the huge, by Tibetan conditions, lush plateau. It is flat hiking where one does not feel progress. However, there is an encouraging rodent here and there, a mountain hare and not least the majestic lamb vulture high in the sky. We rest in the village of Ghyndaphu located below a hilltop. It is a beautiful little village, with 20 houses. We come in to a family, have lunch and inquire about the course of life outside of Chinese influence. The views of this gigantic plain, where I feel transformed into a micro mouse in a macro landscape, are fabulous. In front of us, Cho Oyu towers up into the sky. The height difference is clear, we walk on a flat field and abruptly rise the giant mountains of this world towards the sky.
After some hard and cold hiking days, we are getting tired, spring has offered three longer Himalayan hikes and now Tibet. A very short moment later, it goes up again and finally Everest begins to appear – though only as a small peak on the horizon. But it’s a great moment, like a pure vitamin injection, I set the pace. The giant north side – it was so infinitely far away and was so intrusive really that I felt a suction in my stomach. Everest, here we are with our plans to climb one of your somewhat smaller neighbors. The form has been good and nothing can stop us in our further plans with our goals. It turns out that there is still a long way to go to the Rongbuk monastery in the valley itself. First I go through a rabbit (entrance portal). It must be a cleansing and auspicious moment. We meet some yak shepherds who have come down from Camp III on Everest and rest with them. Shortly after, I turn around a gravel peak and the Rongbuk monastery itself comes into view. For the next few hours I walk around a bit and see the structure of the monastery. Here are many destroyed buildings and Rongbuk is only approx. half the size of what Klavs Becker-Larsen’s pictures from 1951 show. There are not many spinning prayer mills or pilgrims.
Outside the tranquility of the monastery buildings is a litter-cutting wind that goes through marrow and bone in seconds. Above us, Everest is in glowing red, the last rays of the sun make the place more unreal than it already is. Everest is still somewhat larger than I had first imagined. Here is something inexplicable, I feel the buzz of history and the moment of experience is generous to me.
The valley is quite narrow, not like at Shisha Pangma’s base camp, where the plateau continues as far as the eye can see. The next day we continue in a short march to Everest base camp; are the only ones who this year have gone to the base camp and are looked after by all the expeditions in the finest way. We are in the fateful year of Everest in 1996 and just ten days later the idyll was to turn out to be turned to deadly seriousness with nine dead high on the mountain. There in among two of the Indians who treated us as well. After all, mountaineering on such high mountains is a serious matter. And Everest’s infamous and famous north side has cost far too many lives. A Dane has come this way. One is dead. It is not much to make statistics about, but it is not good.
Tibet and China – a fantastic cultural experience
According to Printerhall.com, China is a cultural experience in a class of its own with its 1,000-year-old culture. For Beijing (or rightly Beijing), which already under Genghis Khan became the Mongols’ first capital after Karakoram, can only be mentioned the Wall, the Ming Tombs, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven. Subsequently, many choose to make their way past the ancient imperial city of Xi’an, which as the headquarters of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi (221 BC), is the cradle of Chinese culture. Here especially draw the world-famous Terracotta Soldiers and the old city wall that partially encircles the old town, where the Muslim Quarter is stunning.