From Muhammad Afiq Mohd Asri
DINGBOCHE: Malaysia’s oldest climber, James Lee Chong Meng, 68, who is participating in the Lions Mount Everest Expedition (MEE) 2016 is expected to arrive at Everest Base Camp (EBC) in four days.
He said the group would have to walk about 22 kilometres from here to EBC.
“We will stay overnight at two villages, Lobuche (4,910 metres) and Gorakhshep which is 5,140 metres above sea level before reaching EBC.
“I will be staying the night here before continuing the journey to Lobuche the next day which will take about four hours,” he told Bernama which is covering the expedition.
Lee said he would set off for Lobuche at 9 am (Nepal time) prior to the journey to Gorakhshep and EBC.
“The EBC trek would be very strenuous as we have to walk through treacherous valleys and slippery mountain trails,” he said.
Lee said tiredness would set in as one reaches the EBC where oxygen in the air is thinner, causing difficulty in breathing.
According to him, the likelihood of getting acute mountain sickness (AMS) at a lofty altitude such as EBC which is 5,360 metres above sea level is very high.
“When we are at a very high altitude such as EBC, we need to walk slowly according to our capability. One can very quickly feel the symptoms of AMS,” he said.
He said the intensive training he underwent earlier had prepared him physically and mentally for the arduous mission.
On the weather at EBC, Lee said the temperature could drop to between zero and seven degrees, depending on wind conditions.
Meanwhile, Lee said the Lions MEE escort team and Bernama representatives had walked 43 kilometres from Lukla to Dingboche.
“We overcame various challenges to reach Dingboche through villages located at 3,000 metres, among them Namche Bazar and Phamboche,” he said.
Lee has more than 20 years’ experience in mountain climbing and had scaled Mt Kinabalu, Mt Rinjani in Indonesia, Mt Fuji in Japan and Mt Ama Dablam in Nepal, among others.
He began his quest to conquer Mt Everest which is 8,848 metres, on March 31 and is expected to achieve the mission in 70 days.
Accompanying the expedition team are two Sherpa professional mountaineers, Ngaa Tenji, 33, and Ang Temba, 44.
Two climbers Sherine Leong, 40, and Desmond Lee, 56, also joined Lee on the journey to the mountain base camp.
Bernama as the official expedition media sent three representatives – journalist Muhammad Afiq Mohd Asri, 25, Bernama TV cameraman, Fazril Amirul, 23, and photographer Zulfadhli Zulkarnain, 23.