March 15 - BC : Today was a
pretty restful Sunday at Basecamp. We are continuing to settle in and get
all the tents up and working out radios and other gadgets that go along with
a two month long expedition. This morning many of the team leaders got
together and exchanged radio frequencies and discussed coordinating rope and
snow and ice protection up higher on the mountain, basically who has what to
share. And most importantly we learned that there is a bakery at basecamp
this year taking orders of bread and birthday cakes and also a certified
massage therapist offering $20 massages who happens to be one camp over from
us. Our team members had more showers and emailing time this morning
followed by lunch and ladder practice. We have a nice progression to
learning the techniques for climbing Everest, starting with walking on
ladders over close to and over flat ground in tennis shoes. Then we up the
anty with mountain boots and finally crampons. Within a few hours everyone
was dancing up and down the ladders and finding them quite easy to travel
on. Things will change when we are walking over a 200 foot deep crevasse but
we will take it with ease and confidence. We will continue practicing what
we need to know for the icefall for the next several days.
We are so happy that everyone on our team is well and healthy. Some of the
other teams have colds so we have been keeping a safe distance from them.
First is quite fired up about playing poker and has taught several of the
team members. Our evenings have been filled with eating, scrabble, and last
night we watched a movie. We’ve been wanting to ask you, the audience, if
you think we should except Jame’s scrabble word “squids”?
Ellie had to go escort the trekkers down valley until they meet up with Pete
in Pheriche and we are expecting her back tomorrow. We really miss her and
can’t wait until she rejoins us. Ellie is a top notch basecamp manager,
unrivaled by any other basecamp manager in the world. She manages basecamps
for us in South America and here for 5 or so months a year and this is her
7th season at EBC! We can’t imagine life without her here.
It’s getting to the cold part of the day and these fingers aren’t working
too well on the keyboard. So that’s life here at Basecamp for now. Hope you
are all enjoying your winter into spring at home as it is starting to snow
Tashi Delek! Amy
April 14 - BC: Well we are
back at it again after a short hiatus. Hopefully that will have been the last
of the breaks in the cybercasts.
It’s the evening of the 14th of April and we are here in BC. Our staff chose a
perfect spot just on the far side of camp; below the Lho La and outside of the
chaos of the center of ‘town’. The team is settling in well and everyone was
quite strong coming into camp. The entire group is even sleeping well which is
a great sign. We arrived into camp late afternoon of the 12th. Our climbing
team was joined by Jules and Nina who decided to leave the trekkers for one
night and come to BC with us. As always we had a great welcome from the Sherpa
staff. All of the tents were set and there was little for us to do except grab
a cup of tea and relax in the comfy BC dining tent.
Yesterday was spectacular. We decided while in Pheriche that the only
appropriate dates for a puja at BC would be the 13th or the 19th. That meant
that in order to get to BC for a puja on the 13th we would skip one of our two
scheduled nights in Lobuche. We did not want to wait until the 19th because it
would mean that our Sherpa would be carrying many loads through the icefall
before a puja ceremony. That is still considered appropriate though not as
desirable as getting it done before. The main objective is to have your puja
before anyone sleeps on the mountain- meaning above BC. Anyway, the group
responded well to the stepped up schedule and we started our puja yesterday
morning after arriving just the afternoon before.
Because many of our climbing Sherpa are previous monks we are able to use our
staff to perform our puja instead of brining someone from down valley to BC.
In fact Phur Kancha, one of our climbing Sherpa, still resides at the Thame
monastery and is a practicing monk. The ceremony was colorful and fun for
everyone as always: lots of tea, chaang, Coke, beer, tsampa, Tibetan bread,
and dancing. The trekkers were also able to get in on the action. Dr. Bruce
made it for the whole ceremony while Ellie and Ricardo and Lulu came in to BC
for the end. We blessed our climbing gear, pictures of loved ones back home,
flags, sponsor banners, etc. and took dozens of pictures and plenty of video.
It’s all part of expeditions in this era. The blessing as a whole is designed
as a request to Miolangsangma, the goddess that lives in Everest, to allow us
to climb Chomolongma with safety and respect for the mountain.
The afternoon following the puja was spent organizing our ‘homes’ here in BC
and getting our communication tent up and running. There’s plenty to do here
in order to have our camp in order. Our communication tent is run entirely on
solar power and runs our radio communication on the mountain as well as the
tech stuff we need in order to communicate with home. By this morning I had it
running well enough to have our power up and computers charged with the
satellite modem working again after intermittent lapses.
Today was more of the same with the shower tents getting good use and our team
heading out to camp to locate other teams and friends. Tomorrow our Sherpa
will be carrying their first loads to CI and CII though we already had a few
go up days ago to mark out our CII. The Icefall Doctors have been busy fixing
lines to CII while we were trekking to BC and at this point everything is set.
Tomorrow morning an expedition leader meeting will begin to address the fixing
above CII and other things that come up here during the climbing season.
Image uploads still are not working so I'm sending some images of the puja to
the office and hopefully they will post them.
We have a showing of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ starting soon so I’m off.
My best, Dave
March 11 - Lobuche: We've
just arrived here in Lobuche and decided we would send along the old
dispatches that didn't make it while our communications were down. So here
they are. Tomorrow early we're off to Base Camp and we'll be in touch from
April 7 – Khumjung
A big hello and Namaste from the village of Khumjung.
The gang arrived here this afternoon in the midst of a little snow squall.
So we all looked a bit like drowned rats as we rolled into the Khumjung
Hotel. Hard to call anything up here a Hotel but we’ll go with that. It sort
of makes it feel a little bit more upscale. Anyway, the group is doing very
well and everyone’s health is excellent so far. Tomorrow I’m guessing we’ll
wake up to blue skies and fresh snow up high. The views of Ama Dablam are
excellent from Khumjung and tomorrow morning they should be even more so.
During our hike into Khumjung we came from Thame via Lama Zhangbu’s gompa
high above the trail and the Bhote Khosi. The place is called Gendukpa and
consists of the prayer room cave built by Lama Zhangbu’s grandfather and the
home for the family. We had another blessing from this Lama. I think we’re
on pace for a record number of blessings. We will gladly accept them all!
Pete and a couple of the trekkers came with us to Gendukpa and during tea
Pete did a great job describing some of the iconography and thanka paintings
We’ll just spend one night here in Khumjung then head to Deboche tomorrow
for one night via Tengboche. In the morning some of us will go to visit the
Khunde hospital and Hillary school before starting the walk to Deboche. I’m
certainly looking forward to Deboche as it is one of my favorite spots in
the Khumbu: large rhododendrons, grassy fields, running streams, beautiful
views up valley.
It looks like the we are slowly getting through the shower line up and soup
is almost served.
We’ll be in touch.
All my best,
April 8 – Deboche
Khumjung to Deboche today. This morning Lakpa Rita gave us a tour of the
Khumjung school where he was a high school student. He walked three hours
each way from Thame for three years and was the fourth person to graduate
high school from Thame. Bruce, Bill and Dave went took a tour of the Khunde
hospital with Dr. Kami.
We dropped down to the river at Phunki Thanga, otherwise known as Funky Town
and sometimes Fungi Thanga. We had a picnic lunch there and spent time
airing our bare feet in the sun. Phunki Thanga has many prayer wheels that
spin by the energy of the river’s water flowing through underneath them.
Like prayer flags blowing in the wind, this is another way of saying prayers
without having to do anything The Tengboche hill was the business section of
the day and went by slowly and easily in just a couple of hours. In
Tengboche we went to the bakery, visitors center and monastery. At the
Monastary the trekkers and climbers were treated to a meeting with the
Tengboche Lama before dropping a couple of hundred feet down to Deboche.
Enjoying the oxygen at 12.000 feet tonight!
April 9 – Pheriche
Today we trekked from Deboche which is situated in the Birch and
Rhododendron forest to above tree line and a few Juniper shrubs in Pheriche.
Pheriche is also the base for a high altitude medical clinic. Today was
perhaps one of the most important days of our expedition because we got
blessed in Pangoche by Lama Geshe, the most revered teacher of Buddhism in
the Khumbu Valley. He met with the trekkers for a full hour and then blessed
the climbers and gave us each a postcard of the Chomolungma deity to bring
to the summit of Everest. He has given fifty hand written postcards out and
every one that has gone to the summit has made it home. It was a beautiful
and meaningful experience and has helped us to cultivate our minds for being
ready to climb on the mountain we are heading for. After our blessing we had
a delicious lunch in Shomare and then walked up to Ang Nuru’s Himalayan
lodge in Pheriche. Everyone is feeling well in Pheriche and most of us are
enjoying another hot shower here. Looking forward to a day of rest…
Tashi Delek! Amy
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