Cho Oyu Speed Ascent Update: Kathmandu

This article is part of an ongoing series covering Benedikt Boehm and Prakash Sherpa's planned speed ascent of Cho Oyu, Tibet -- the 6th highest mountain in the world. For background information, click here.

The first leg of Benedikt Boehm and Prakash Sherpa's planned speed ascent of Cho Oyu is underway.

The duo is now in Kathmandu, Nepal, awaiting visa access to Tibet.

While in Kathmandu, Prakash and Boehm have toured the city and checked out the headquarters of Prakash's friend's softgoods brand, Everest Outfit. Side note: Everest Outfit's gear looks bomber.

Sherpa, Boehm, and Passang Sherpa, co-founder of Everest Outfit.<p>Dynafit/Benedikt Boehm</p>
Sherpa, Boehm, and Passang Sherpa, co-founder of Everest Outfit.

Dynafit/Benedikt Boehm

From Boehm's correspondence:

"Yesterday, Prakash and I visited a production facility for tents and duffle bags (expedition bags) and much more. It was very exciting. I'm having a few duffle bags produced for me here. I discussed some interesting designs with the boss, and Prakash and I were blessed right away. Otherwise, there's a lot of traffic here. Most of the time, we're on Prakash's motorcycle. Everything is fine as long as I survive these rides through Kathmandu."

Speaking of the motorcycle, here's a video of Boehm and Sherpa navigating the narrow streets of Kathmandu.

In addition to visiting Everest Outfit, Boehm was invited to dinner at Prakash's family home. There, they dined on Momo dumplings, and Boehm chatted with Prakash's siblings.

Prakash's youngest brother has lived in Kathmandu alone for multiple years now. While still in school, he intends to apply for military service as a Gurkha -- a contingent of Nepalese soldiers recruited to the British military.

Another of Prakash's brothers spent 19 years in a monastery, which he left this year.

From Boehm's correspondence:

"I asked him a lot of questions because I find it astonishing to spend 19 years in a monastery (with 300 others). Since childhood. He talked a lot about meditation, how difficult it was initially, and the challenges. More and more monks have smartphones and see the outside world. Many want to break out and "escape." The monasteries try to influence departures and convince the monks otherwise. Some monks meditate at the highest level for up to 7 years in a cave or grotto, completely alone. Often, it's 3 years. The transition to normal life after the monastery is not easy."

One of Prakash's sisters was also at the dinner. She lives in Kathmandu with her two children full-time while her husband works in the Austrian hospitality industry.

Prakash and Boehm with Prakash's family.<p>Dynafit/Benedikt Boehm</p>
Prakash and Boehm with Prakash's family.

Dynafit/Benedikt Boehm

Prakash and Boehm also took a quick trip into the mountains to kill time while awaiting their visas. During the excursion, they encountered a group of monkeys who refused to get out of the way.

"On our descent in the forest, a group of monkeys blocked our path. They were extremely intrusive and hard to shake off. We had to have some food with us. We were all worried that one of these friends might bite us."

One of the monkeys who blocked the trail.<p>Dynafit/Benedikt Boehm</p>
One of the monkeys who blocked the trail.

Dynafit/Benedikt Boehm

For now, Prakash and Boehm's waiting game in Kathmandu continues. However, Boehm reports they will head to Tibet and begin the adventure in earnest "hopefully tomorrow" once they've secured their visas.

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