Diljinder Singh Bacchal, Assistant Sub-Inspector of police posted in Mohali, is the first Punjab policeman to go on an expedition to Mount Everest. He left last week for Kathmandu after obtaining the state government’s permission to attempt the climb. He has agreed to write a diary for Chandigarh Newsline about his progress as and when he can during the expedition. This is the first of the series:
I am in Kathmandu now, preparing for my dream climb. Yesterday, I went to Thamel, the well-known market in the capital city of Nepal. It’s particularly favourite place among mountaineers because of the huge number of shops selling equipment and clothing necessary to climb the Everest. The prices there are negotiable. You may get the same brand of clothing or equipment for Rs 500 in one store and Rs 15,000 in another. You will also get the top international brands and the local ones as well. You must be discerning enough to make out the difference between the real thing and the knockdown. I spent all day in the market looking and shopping for what I need. In all, I spent around Rs 2 lakh on my requirements.
My training as a climber taught to me to be meticulous in deciding what to take on a climb. You should take exactly what you need, not more, not less. That is why the preparation is important as the climb itself.
I bought the following things in Thamel:
* One thermal suit : Rs 1.10 lakh
* Sleeping bag : Rs 20,000
* A pair of goggles : Rs 9,000
* Jacket : Rs 18,000
* Ice axes : Rs 14,000
* Zumar(a lock used on the rope while climbing) : Rs 10,000
* Apart from the above items, I also bought a set of thermals costing Rs 9,000
* Three pairs of socks : Rs 56,000
These are the absolute requirements for any climber attempting Everest. As you can see, the expedition is not cheap. I took a personal loan of Rs 5 lakh from the bank, Rs 3 lakh from our arhtiyas and took a loan of Rs 14 lakh my friends. It was already 11 pm when I reached my hotel after shopping. More in my next letter.