Escape From Lukla

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After 12 days of trekking up & down the Khumbu valley we were exhausted. Thoughts of steaks, beer & a shower had crept in & we were ecstatic to return to Lukla & fly back to Kathmandu. We had an open ticket which was supposed to mean we turn up & jump on a flight the next day…
 
clouds below peaks

The clouds creep in AGAIN at Lukla

If only that were true! The clouds rolled in & the tentative travel in & out of Tenzing-Hillary airport’s tiny runway slipped into an indefinite halt. The small mountain town was heaving with trekkers, all after the impossible… a flight! Delays & cancellations are a commonality at Lukla but the morning is usually clear enough to get the majority of people in & out so this ad hoc approach of issuing open tickets & hoping for good weather has continued. Preference is given to those holding a confirmed flight time & if their flight is delayed or cancelled they join the front of the open ticket queue. Needless to say if there are a few days of cloud the backlog can cause pandemonium!!
 VERY frustrating! We’d wake up, walk around all the airline offices, try to push our way onto a flight, FAIL, go back to the lodge, eat, play cards, watch tv, eat, walk around all the airline offices, try to push our way onto a flight, FAIL, go back to the lodge, play cards, eat, drink, bed.  
It was a hopeless situation. More trekkers came & went on the few morning flights going out as we glared on in envy, watching the clouds clog the skies & crush our hopes of leaving for another day. What to do!?!… Wait it out & hope for a clear day?… Start the 5 day trek to Jiri?… Fork out $400 for a helicopter? 
By our FOURTH day stuck in Lukla the circumstances were becoming desperate & depressing. I got up early & went to the airport to speak to Tara Air… for the sixth time! After exhausting all of my persuasive powers in getting a flight to Kathmandu I mockingly asked, ‘Do you have a flight anywhere in the world?!’, to which the manager answered, ‘Mmm, yes. Ramechhap. Now.’ With zero contemplation I agreed & we were free! We ran passed angry faces to the 7 seater plane & piled the bags in. As we left the tarmac at Tenzing-Hillary celebrations kicked off & our escape was in motion! The tiny toy-like plane bumped around with every touch of turbulence over the wispy clouds creeping up the Khumbu valley again… not that we cared anymore!! The skyline was bursting with snowy peaks & it was a beautiful ride.

 

flight from lukla

Soaring passed the snowy peaks

 It was only on the flight that we checked where the hell Ramechhap was!? Turns out it was a 10 hour bus ride from Kathmandu… but still better than being stuck in Lukla. Our plane landed in a field in the small farming town of Ramechhap. No tarmac in sight. Barely an airport! We hopped straight onto a bus bound for Kathmandu & the journey was nearly complete. Now there was just the 10 hour ride to the capital… on the ROOF. After we figured out how exactly you get comfortable on a metal rack it was an amazing experience & another beautiful ride through the scenery of Nepal. 
Escape from Lukla: Complete!

 

landing in ramechhap

Our tiny toy-like plane in Ramechhap's illustrious air...field

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Comments
3 Responses to “Escape From Lukla”
  1. Frustration I am sure, but I am also sure it had to be worth it! The photos are amazing!

  2. Brady Stump says:

    Thanks for the great read. Keep it up!

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  1. […] Getting out of Lukla on a tiny 7 seater airplane. We landed in a FIELD and then rode on the ROOF of a bus for 6 hours […]



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