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  Everest 2007:  Alpine Ascents Everest expedition: Base camp


©EverestNews.com

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 lightly here.

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 there.
Dave


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 inside.

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,
Dave


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!

Subbayatri!
Amy


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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