Then we hiked a leisurely 2 hr stroll transversing the valley to Lama Gheshi's house. Pangboche is the highest permanent settlement in the Khumbu, the last established village before reaching Everest base camp. The lamas residing in the monastery here are some of the most respected in the area. Hence, we came to Lama Gheshi to receive blessings for our expedition. He conducted a special ceremony for us, which included reading some prayers to provide us safe passage and success, and then he honoured us each with a kata (white scarf) and an evil warding necklace. For our climbers and guides (who also make a point to visit a lama before beginning an expedition), this is an important ritual.
Buddhist locals believe that the mountains are inhabited and controlled by mountain spirits. Sherpas are able to live in harmony amongst the biggest mountains in the world by paying respect to the mountain spirits. We follow an unwritten climbing code to climb according to local customs.