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Peru with Mountain Madness

Everest Base Camp Dispatch: Meet the Team!

Here’s the lat­est from Deana Zabal­do, who is lead­ing our sec­ond Ever­est Base Camp Trek of the sea­son. Deana is joined by Pem­ba Gyal­je Sher­pa, who will be tak­ing four mem­bers of our team up to Camp 2 on Mount Ever­est for our Khum­bu Ice­fall Exten­sion. We wel­come you to fol­low Deana, who will be lead­ing our fall Bhutan trip as well, and enjoy her reports from high in the Himalayas!

Deana Zabal­do photo

It does­n’t take any­one very long to real­ize that with­out our sup­port team, we would­n’t get very far. After the first day watch­ing porters car­ry their loads up hours of stone stair­cas­es, we are all in appre­cia­tive awe of their strength and endurance. 

Deana Zabal­do photo

Reg­u­la­tions for fair treat­ment of porters means that porters with our trek groups car­ry 75 – 100lbs each, which includes kitchen and food sup­plies as well as emer­gency sup­port like oxy­gen and a gam­mow bag. We also ensure they have warm clothes, good shoes, and are cov­ered by emer­gency insur­ance. Local porters who serve EBC, the tea­hous­es, and local vil­lages along the way don’t have these ben­e­fits. They will also choose to car­ry more weight to earn more mon­ey. The strongest will car­ry up to 220 lbs. each – for hours uphill at high altitude!

This can also present a prob­lem when expe­di­tion porters are giv­en suf­fi­cient time for acclima­ti­za­tion to car­ry heavy loads to base camp, but they dis­re­gard the rules in order to save their mon­ey. Every year, some porter fall sick because they car­ry extreme­ly heavy loads too far, too fast. For­tu­nate­ly, porters with our group trav­el at our pace – and we take good care of them.

Head­ing up our porters and staff are two key individuals:

Deana Zabal­do photo

Six-time Ever­est sum­mit­ter Pem­ba Gyal­je Sher­pa is an expert inter­na­tion­al climber. He was named Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Adven­ture Magazine’s 2008 Adven­tur­er of the Year for a coura­geous res­cue dur­ing the sum­mer dis­as­ter on K2 in Pak­istan that year. In addi­tion to co-guid­ing the first half of the trek, Pem­ba will guide climb­ing clients on exten­sions to the Khum­bu Ice­fall, Ever­est Camp 2, and/​or near­by trekking peaks like Island Peak. Accom­plished yet down-to-earth, Pem­ba is heav­i­ly involved in the pro­fes­sion­al­iza­tion of Nepal’s climb­ing indus­try and is help­ing to train Nepal’s first batch of IFM­GA-cer­ti­fied moun­tain guides.

Deana Zabal­do photo

Dawa Nuru Sher­pa has 10 years expe­ri­ence in the trekking indus­try. He has been Moun­tain Mad­ness’ sir­dar for the last six, which means that he over­sees any­where from 15 to 80 sup­port staff includ­ing client escorts, porters, yak dri­vers, and the camp kitchen. Dawa qui­et­ly watch­es EVERY­THING, patient­ly hikes with strug­gling trekkers, and and eas­i­ly breaks into a grin as we laugh and joke on the trail.

~ MM Guide Deana Zabaldo

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