Eight Cayman residents are journeying from sea level to the roof of the world.
The group, which calls themselves the Cayman Turtle Trekkers, will be hiking and climbing for nearly a month around the Himalayas and attempting to summit the aptly named Island Peak.
Barry Yetton, who runs the group’s blog at www.caymanturtletrekkers.com, said last Tuesday that he was on the way to the airport and ready to embark on one of the great adventures of his life.
“This will be a first time for all but one of us,” he said of trekking to the Himalayas. “One of us has been there but it was decades ago, and none of us have been climbing there before.”
Mr. Yetton will be traveling with Vico Testori, Michael Testori, Vidyadhara Shetty, Keith Griffin, Marcos Montana, Henry Smith and Craig Burke. They arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Thursday and have begun acclimatizing for a journey that will take them from 4,500 feet all the way to 20,305 feet.
The group took six months to plan and prepare for their journey, and Mr. Yetton said they used a variety of techniques to ramp up for the effort. The group climbed the observation tower at Camana Bay and some of the hikers prepared by biking, climbing in heavy sand and rock-climbing on Cayman Brac.
The group that experienced the climbing and rappelling on the Brac worked with Rock Iguana climbing instructor Angel Robledo, who has summited Denali, the highest peak in North America. The summit of Denali is 20,310 feet, which is roughly equal to what the group will experience at Island Peak.
“Some of us have done this kind of thing before. Others of us haven’t,” said Mr. Yetton of climbing at high altitude. “The altitude is the thing that most of us don’t understand. Some people deal with it well and some people don’t. It’s totally draining, but your body gets used to it after a while.”
After landing in Kathmandu on Thursday, the group took a flight to Lukla and made a four-hour trek to Phakding over the weekend. The second day of the trek took them from Phakding to Namche Bazaar.
The group will make its way through three high passes and will pass through the scenic Himalayan valleys of Gokyo, Khumbu and Imja. They will make it to Everest base camp and will attempt to summit Island Peak, also known as Imja Tse, which was first climbed by Tenzing Norgay and company in 1953.
The temperatures will potentially reach the 70s Farenheit while the group is in Kathmandu, but it will be far colder during the length of the trek. Mr. Yetton expects that it will be in the 30s or 40s during the day, and it could get down to single digits at night when the team is up over 10,000 feet in altitude.
“It’s very cold,” he said of the mountain conditions. “But there will be blue skies and very little chance of precipitation. During the day, it shouldn’t be too bad, because the sun will be on you.”
Mr. Yetton said the climbers will each be lugging around 30 pounds on their back, and they will have porters to help with heavy equipment such as tents and sleeping gear that they will need each night.
The group is scheduled to leave Kathmandu for their journey home on Nov. 14, but they will have more than three weeks to take in the sights of one of the world’s most unforgettable landscapes.
“From what I’ve read and from what other people have said, it’s very difficult to describe the majesty of not just Everest but of all the other peaks and mountains around you,” Mr. Yetton said. “We’re not climbing Everest, but for us this is a big expedition. And the experience will be spectacular.”