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Everest with Mountain Madness

Festival Celebrations on the Everest Base Camp Trek

Our fall Gokyo and Ever­est Base Camp trek is check­ing in from Ding­boche today!

Mani Rim­du! It was­n’t until we arrived in Teng­boche that we knew we had actu­al­ly timed it per­fect­ly. Dawa Sher­pa and I had been get­ting con­flict­ing reports for days on whether or not the Mani Rim­du — Nepal’s most revered and sacred Bud­dhist fes­ti­val that is held each year at Teng­boche Monastery — was still going. My research before I left the states led me to believe that we would miss it, so I did­n’t talk about it much with the group on the out­set of the trip. Dawa had talked to a monk down in Phakd­ing that said it was over. I had asked some Sher­pa in Nam­che and they said, maybe. We just did­n’t know.

(all pho­tos from pre­vi­ous treks)

Teng­boche Monastery. Kay­la Fenske photo

We made the long trek from Nam­che up val­ley, up and down and across the Dudh Kosi Riv­er and few times and then the final hot climb to Teng­boche, which is beau­ti­ful­ly sit­u­at­ed on a small bench below Ama Dablam and the head of the upper Khum­bu. Half the crew imme­di­ate­ly went to the famed Teng­boche Bak­ery to get cof­fee and cake. Chris got two of every­thing, per his nor­mal modus operan­di. Dawa and Kaji scram­bled, and in no time we were in front of the High Lama to receive his bless­ing at sun­set along with a hun­dred or so oth­er folks. It was a spe­cial moment to say the least! Next morn­ing we got to wit­ness the series of rit­u­als and mask danc­ing that makes Mani Rim­du such a sight. The monastery was packed with devo­tees, locals, and trekkers and it was an amaz­ing thing to take part in. We are feel­ing very for­tu­nate to have timed it so.

Sun­rise in Teng­boche. Neil Asa­ba photo

Today is an acclima­ti­za­tion day and then tomor­row we make the long climb to Lobuche under­neath the huge tow­ers of Taboche and Cholatse — home the Himalayan climb­ing hard man. It’s cloud­ing up a bit and we might get a bit of light snow, oth­er­wise skies are sun­ny and cold. We check in again from Gorak Shep in 2 – 3 days.

On the hike to Ding­boche. Kay­la Fenske photo