The Two-Year Mountain: A Nepal Journey

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Bradt Travel Guides, 2012 - Travel - 358 pages
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With his life literally hanging from a slender rope over a crevasse near the top of a Himalayan mountain, a young man relives in his mind a relentless two-year physical and spiritual test as a Peace Corps volunteer in a remote mountain village of Nepal.Combining the elements of adventure story, travel log, and personal confession, this absorbing account describes a wrenching experience that belies the idealistic expectations of many Peace Corps volunteers.Following a two-year stint as a science and mathematics teacher in a Nepalese village, Phil Deutschle sets off alone on a three-month expedition to conquer Pharchamo, 20,580 feet high, which has claimed several lives and is his final goal in the Himalayas.This trek forms the framework of the book, and into it Deutschle weaves the story of his experiences over the previous two years in a series of sharply etched, swiftly moving, often humorous anecdotes.Deutschle is not starry-eyed about Nepal and its people or, least of all, about the mission of the Peace Corps. He vividly describes events that are both horrible and poignant: being charged by a rhinoceros, the awful fascination of watching a corpse burn on a funeral pyre, the struggle to save a child's life, scaling a Himalayan peak higher than Mount McKinley (the highest mountain in North America). Despite his difficulties, he steels himself to stay one year, then the full two years, and, imperceptibly, grows so attached to the village that he leaves it in tears.Mourning the "small death" of his departure, confused about his identity as an American, and feeling more alienated than before, he sets off on a final, reckless, solo climb of Mount Pharchamo, hardly caring whether he survives. Apathetic from lack of oxygen and from his own malaise and only when his life literally hangs on a slender rope, does he overcome despair and make a gigantic effort to save himself.The two parts of the book - the emotional challenge of the village and physical challenge of the climb - come together in a triumphant affirmation of life.A native Californian, Phil Deutschle is currently teaching handicapped children in Denmark.The Two Year Mountain was originally published by Bradt in 1986 and remains as relevant to the spirit of exploration and real, raw travel writing today as it was then.
 

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Contents

Tribhuvan International Airport
1
Dube Village
15
Thoripaani
23
Thoripaani 7200 feet
36
Deuraauli 8000 feet
39
Waapsu 6700 feet
50
Karikhola 6800 feet
59
Chaurikharka 8500 feet
73
Tshola Tsho 15000 feet
199
Dzongla 15889 feet
208
Nyimaganoa Camp 17300 feet
216
Kangchung Himal Camp 17700 feet
217
Kangchung Himal Camp 17700 feet
223
Gokyo 15720 feet
226
Gokyo Kang 17600 feet
233
Dole Village 13400 feet
241

Namche Bazaar 11286 feet
86
Namche Bazaar 11286 feet
89
Thyangboche 12687 feet
99
Pangboche 13074 feet
107
Pheriche almost 14000 feet
116
Lobuche 16175 feet
126
Lobuche 16175 feet
133
Lobuche 16175 feet to Kala Pattar 18192 feet
141
Lobuche Village to Lobuche East
153
Lobuche
157
Lobuche 16175 feet to Everest Base Camp 17700 feet
164
Lobuche to Pheriche to Chukung
175
Chukung 15518 feet
177
Island Peak High Camp 18400 feet
180
Island Peak High Camp 18400 feet
185
Pheriche almost 14000 feet
192
Namche Bazaar 11286 feet
246
Namche
255
Thame 12500 feet
259
Patch of Yak Grass 15700 feet
264
Tasi Lapcha Pass around 19000 feet
272
Tasi Lapcha Pass 19000 feet
278
Tasi Lapcha Pass
281
Tasi Lapcha
286
Epilogue 1985
305
Homecoming 2011
307
Tribhuvan International Airport
314
Sindhupalchowk District
323
Aiselukharka
328
Glossary
351
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

A native Californian, Phil Deutschle is currently teaching in Salinas California. The author's other adventures have included cycling across the Kalahari and Namib deserts, getting captured by pirates while canoeing down the Congo River, hunting with Bushmen, and falling through a crevasse while ice climbing unroped in the Andes. Currently living in Salinas California, teaching physics and astronomy, he says "I have never owned a car, which makes me a true counter-culture freak in the US.

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