It was one of those spur of the minute things, my girlfriend had seen a trip on the web and said “What about a trek to Everest Base Camp?” Of course, the only sensible response to this was “YES!” So, a few months, and a lot of training, later we boarded a flight to Kathmandu, ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
Of course, the question had come up, what camera do I take to record this trip? I took my digital, a mirrorless Sony, but I really wanted to shoot film, not only because I couldn’t rely on the ability to recharge batteries, but also because I just prefer to shoot film. Clearly, I had to carry this up a mountain so the Zenza Bronica ETRS that I own was out. However much I desperately wanted to take it, weight is the enemy at over 5000m. Still, it had to be able to take good pictures, this was to be a once in a lifetime adventure, after all. It would need to be reliable, subjected to extreme cold and dust. In the end, my choice was clear, my Olympus OM-2n.
The trip was every bit as incredible as you’d hope. The people of Nepal are some of the friendliest you could ever meet and the landscape is breathtaking. At the lower altitudes you walk through verdant woodland, sharing the trails with other walkers, Nepalese people going about their everyday business and porters and donkeys carrying huge loads. Even at this altitude, it is impossible to use vehicles to transport goods as there are no roads.
Higher up, the woodland gives way to short scrub, then all vegetation disappears, making way for a lunar landscape that is very surreal. At this altitude, the temperature drops considerably, another good reason to use a film camera as lithium-ion batteries discharge rapidly in cold temperatures! Overnight at the highest stop (Gorak Shep) the water in our water bottles froze solid, temperatures outside our tin shed bedroom dropped as low as -20 degrees Celsius.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the Olympus survived the trip and performed flawlessly. Although, when I got home the metering seemed to be playing up. A good service has restored it back to full working order, even if it did empty my wallet in the process…
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