Dear Friends and Colleagues,
At 8:30 this morning, we departed from Lobuje where we stayed overnight at a spartan tea hut. The skies were cloudless today as we hiked among the Himalyan giants. The day would be a long one, over six hours. Each of us carried more than the typical day pack that our climbing colleagues had. We didn’t trust that the Yaks would take care of our electronic equipment, laptop computers, medical hardware and cameras so we each carried our share. We could feel the altitude as we hiked above 5000m. Too many steps, too quickly, and we were reminded of the rarified air. We plodded along slowly, stopped for frequent rests and drank in the high snow covered peaks so beloved and respected by the Nepalese people that we are traveling with and others we meet along the way. After a few hours of hiking we stopped for lunch at Kalupatar, a small three hut way point offering up Cokes, Pringles and local fare. Despite our lack of inertia post-lunch, we were spurred on by the anticipation of arriving at Everest base camp. Several Yak trains passed us as we hiked higher. We hope to make the video available on the website in the coming weeks. We especially liked the rhythmic tones of the Yak bells as they carried their burdensome loads past us. Two hours past lunch, the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier and the tiny tents at Everest base camp came into view. Even more impressive was the upper bulk and summit ridge of Chomolongma, Mt. Everest, rising above the surrounding peaks, like the grand protector of the Himalaya.
Approaching Everest and Khumbu Icefall. Everest is the tall peak peeking out at the top, Icefall lower right
As we gained the terminal moraine and grew ever closer to base camp, the intricate detail of the Khumbu Icefall became frighteningly apparent. The Khumbu is one of the great dangers of Everest’s South Col route.
Approaching Everest base camp, seen lower portion of picture at terminal morraine of Khumbu glacier
Despite political disruptions, the closure of our Tibet route, constant threats of not receiving a permit for the Nepalese route, uncooperative airline personnel, constant bouts of diarrhea, some with vomiting, and altitude headache, we finally arrived at Everest base camp at around 3:00 pm.
Unfortunately, we are short one member as Dr. Stephen Masselink turned around on Day 6 for medical reasons and headed back to Kathmandu.
We will rest for the next few days and sort gear. Tomorrow we will have our Puja Ceremony.