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Khumbu with Mountain Madness

Birthday in the Khumbu

Khum­bu Valley.

Our team of 14 trekkers hail from Cal­gary, to Flori­da, to Aus­tralia and Scot­land, North Car­oli­na, Maine, Indi­ana, Chica­go and Seat­tle ‑all brought togeth­er for the same goal- trek to Ever­est Base Camp! I have already enjoyed great­ly the com­pa­ny of Neil A, Simona P, Mike P, Joan­na Y, Cather­ine W, Wendy H, Pam L, JD W, Eric R, Mark C, Chris C, Dana R and my mom, Marla!

The team began bond­ing over our city tour of Kath­man­du fol­lowed by metic­u­lous repack­ing to pre­pare for the next day’s jour­ney ahead! Many would say that our luck start­ed out beau­ti­ful­ly as, after sev­er­al days of storms, our flight to Luk­la took off bright and ear­ly as planned! The view from our 16-seater prop plane had the whole team hoot­ing and hol­ler­ing as the Himalaya came into view, and then as we watched through the cock­pit win­dow as the run­way came up quick and smooth! For some­one who is afraid of com­mer­cial flights — that land­ing was amaz­ing. I can’t believe the approach!” Says Chris C from Flori­da who got a front row seat for the whole thing!

Nam­che Bazaar. Kay­la Fenske photo

Our first easy trekking day to Phakd­ing was topped off won­der­ful­ly with a birth­day cel­e­bra­tion! We all got a great intro­duc­tion to our cook staff’s amaz­ing abil­i­ties that night with a deli­cious meal. As they made their rounds to ask if any­one want­ed any­thing else, Eric joked that he would love some choco­late cake. Our serv­er, Sila, was some­what con­fused by this out­burst because, lit­tle did Eric know, choco­late cake was just around the cor­ner, with can­dles and a hap­py birth­day to Neil! Cheers and singing all around, and Neil was adorned with beau­ti­ful Nepali prayer scarves and giv­en a birth­day card sent all the way from Scot­land from his daughter.

Ama Dablam. Cather­ine Wells photo

Tham Serku. Cather­ine Wells photo

The next day start­ed off with cool sun­shine as we crossed the many sus­pen­sion bridges along the Dudh Kosi riv­er — a milky riv­er from glacial runoff. We passed through the gates of Sagar­matha Nation­al Park — a sig­nif­i­cant land­mark on our jour­ney! After a deli­cious lunch — the rain began to pour. As many before us know, the stretch after lunch to Nam­che Bazaar is near­ly 3,000 feet… UP! Lat­er Pam L reflect­ed i was amazed at the porters run­ning down the mud­dy hills in bare feet and flip flops or crocs!” Porters here are tru­ly incred­i­ble to watch- car­ry­ing loads 3 times their size in bat­tered shoes on uneven ter­rain- still mov­ing 5 times faster than us!

Moun­tain Mad­ness Sher­pa crew. Kaji, Dawa, Mani, Om Kumar and Nan­ga. Kay­la Fenske photo

Relax­ing in our com­fort­able Camp de Base tea house here in Nam­che, many of us are start­ing to feel the effects of alti­tude. So hap­py, then, that we get two nights here! This morn­ing we woke up lat­er than usu­al, had a deli­cious break­fast of pan­cakes, eggs and rice por­ridge, and we head­ed up the hill behind Nam­che anoth­er 1,000 feet to the Ever­est View Hotel. You can say that the team got a spec­tac­u­lar reminder of why we are all here — Ever­est, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and Tham Serku tow­er­ing over us! We just made it ear­ly enough to get our glimpse of the great Chomol­ung­ma, the Nepali name for Ever­est, before the after­noon clouds enshroud­ed the peaks. Feel­ing much more full of air on the way down, we were treat­ed to an after­noon of rest for shop­ping, check­ing email and, for some of us, an hour-long full body mas­sage by Dr. Tashi Tser­ing Sher­pa as the cows moo sooth­ing­ly next door.

Off to Teng­boche tomor­row! Stay tuned!!

~ MM Oper­a­tions Man­ag­er Kay­la Fenske

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