Finishing Rest at Pangboche 1.45PM

Life down the valley at Pangboche. Sumit, Raul, Allan, Sharon and Chris (me)(accompanied by Rabin, our trusted cook) are today finishing our rest down the valley at Pangboche, a village not far from the base of the beloved Ama Dablam (6,812m).As we look out our windows of the lodge each morning, Ama Dablam greets us, with open arms.The team has been in Pangboche for 4 nights / 5 days and with the increased oxygenation at this altitude (3,850m) we have noticed our appetites increase dramatically and sleep has come with ease. This is important preparation for the work ahead. Carbohydrates have been consumed aplenty and apple ?felters? (fritters) have been a big hit with the team.The weather here in Pangboche has been changeable, somewhat wet and cold at times, so the team has taken advantage of the lodgings and spent time listening to music, watching DVDs and drinking beverages and eating ? a lot. Rabin walked to Namche Bazaar yesterday to collect some supplies and returned in the evening with some extra treats ? chocolate from Namche and cake from Tengboche Bakery!With the weather being changeable and us being somewhat confined to the lodge, we have all been a bit ?hyper?. Raul, however, is ?Mr Laidback? and is happy watching DVDs.

Nothing fazes Raul. Allan has been also watching DVDs, and after many tries there is still hope he will get to watch Babel before we leave Pangboche. Sharon is ?Little Miss Chatterbox? and she entertains trekkers who come into the lodge with her wit and really ?good? jokes (honest). As for Chris (me), I?ve been watching DVDs but also playing on my Nintendo DS each day doing brain training and Sudoku (if I don?t do it daily, Dr Kawashima tells me off).Sharon and Chris have at times gone down to the Internet café together to check emails and the news around the world. Not sure why but yesterday we found ourselves walking back howling Justin Beiber?s ?Baby? song. For the record, Sharon knew MANY words and Chris knew about seven? and they were all ?Baby?.Last night, Sharon and Allan practiced a few 70?s and 80?s disco moves in the lodge, in readiness for our end of trip party. Lucky for Sumit, Raul and Rabin, they did not have to witness the moves as they had already retired to bed. With the passing of days, the original Raul is emerging from behind the sunburn he experienced in the Western CWM.Early this morning, the sun came out thankfully and the team set off up the hill to the Pangboche Monastery for a ?puja? ceremony with the local lama, Lama Chirring Dorje, who is a reincarnated lama. He is part of the family at whose lodge we are staying in Pangboche and we were fortunate today to receive further blessings for our climb. We also attended with Lama Geshi, the most senior local lama, and he blessed us all, and from both lamas we left with the traditional ?khatas? around our necks.

Our afternoon will likely be spent with music, more DVDs, resting, and packing our duffels ready to head back up the valley to Everest Base Camp tomorrow morning (6th), stopping first at Lobuche overnight and then heading onward to EBC (7th).Whilst we have been down the valley, the Sherpa guides have been working between Everest Base Camp (EBC) and South Col (Camp 4) ferrying loads of supplies to higher camps in readiness for our summit push. Their working days have also been peppered with important rest days. These guys and their counterparts in other teams are the true heroes of the mountain. Their strength is incredible and their commitment to the task before them cannot be described in words alone.

We are in awe of them. We are all one big team together, and nothing is lost on us as to how much the Sherpa guides do for the expedition and us generally. We are looking forward to returning to Everest Base Camp (EBC) to see them.Once we return to Everest Base Camp (EBC), we anticipate we will have a minimum of 1-2 rest days and on these days we will also be checking our gear and readying any other supplies that need to be taken up the mountain. We will also be watching the weather and looking for the weather window that works for our team (stable weather and a reduction in the jetstream winds up high) to start making our way up the mountain for our summit push. Our team is healthy, we are feeling strong, we are in good spirits and we all hope that the weather and conditions ahead are good to us. Most of all, we offer total respect to Chomolungma and trust that she will be good to us. Hello to all family and friends of the team.

We are thinking of you.