A successful first rotation. Everyone is back at base camp after spending 2 nights at Camp 1 and hiking up to Camp 2 (6600m). The next 2 days will be a rest to recoup, before beginning round 2. Base camp is getting busier with more friends and teams arriving on a daily basis. The doctors and staff from the Himalayan Rescue Association joined us for dinner this evening. Climbing is only half the expedition experience...gas bagging and socialising is the other.
Our teams have officially started their rotations. Margaret and Warren with Ang Kaji and Dendi are currently resting up at Camp 1 (6100m). They set off early this morning around 3am and reached the top of the icefall at 10am. Meanwhile, Chris and the Canadians with Lakpa and Cherring left a day ahead to Camp 1. Today they climbed across the Western Cwn for lunch at Camp 2, and returned back to Camp 1 for the night. Both teams will be back at base camp on Monday after climbing up to Camp 2.
As we continue to make our preparations for the real climb, we broke out into separate teams yesterday. Margaret, Warren and Chris joined by Carol and Sumit hiked the route behind base camp to Pumori high camp (a stunning 7000m mountain that also stands along the Nepal-Tibet border). It was a slow 2 hr acclimatisation hike to 5500m. Over the next few weeks, the climbers will continue to increase their altitude gain slowly to adapt to the reduced oxygen. If they are to hike that trail again next week, it will take less time and it will feel less difficult as they become more acclimatised. Lakpa accompanied the Canadian team through the icefall to Camp 1, and then returned to base camp. Whilst our guides set off early just after 12am to Camp 1 and then Camp 2 to set up the higher camps. Today is a complete rest day for everyone. We have lots of fun planned for tomorrow.
Our puja or buddhist ceremony was held today under blue skies. We couldn't have asked for a more stunning day. The local lama chanted prayers for 4 hrs, he blessed our equipment presented at the alter, and we finished by throwing tsampa into the air as an offering to the spirits who watch over this land. This ceremony requests protection and success. It's an essential ritual we follow on all major expeditions.
The last few days from Pangboche to Dingbouche to Lobuche have been utterly beautiful. Today we have clear blue skies and serene mountains surrounding us as we trek the last few kilometres from Gorak Shep to our new home at Everest base camp. We're excited to say the least....to reunite with friends at camp, settle into our tents and our home away from home, and importantly, to begin our final mental and physical preparations before tackling the first hurdle, the Khumbu ice fall. For now, we're keen to eat some of Rabin's tasty cooking and have a much anticipated wash at camp. Ah the joys of base camp.
+977 980 840 3862. That's the number you ring to contact us here at base camp. We've set up a regular mobile/cell SIM (ie it's not an expensive satellite line) into a handset antenna for improved reception during bad weather days. Give us a call for a chat! Your regular rates to an international mobile will apply.
We began yesterday by visiting the construction site of the Khumbu Climbing School. Once complete, the school will house aspiring guides training with local and international climbing guides. Lakpa has often volunteered his time as head guide during the winter training sessions.
The excitement is building. Pack bags and drums (tick), last minute errands (tick), fuel up on protein and desserts (tick tick), fly out to Lukla without hiccups (tick tick tick !!). And they are off. The team is a few days behind the Canadian Lhotse team who are already in Namche.