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Everest with Mountain Madness

Success at Everest Base Camp!

Con­grat­u­la­tions to our first spring trekking group in Nepal for reach­ing Ever­est Base Camp! As the team makes their way back down the val­ley, here’s a great first-account sto­ry from one of our trekkers on the team sev­er­al days before they reached Base Camp. Trekker Krista Means updat­ed us a cou­ple days ago with the team’s progress. 

Arrived in Teng­boche two days ago around 2:30pm after anoth­er pun­ish­ing day of trekking. The first part of the day start­ed out innocu­ous enough with a flat trail con­tour­ing the moun­tain­side. But by lunch we had dropped com­plete­ly down to the riv­er and were begin­ning our ascent again. It’s demor­al­iz­ing when the trail drops down so far, in essence wast­ing all the alti­tude gain we have made. To make mat­ters worse the fore­cast­ed sun­ny weath­er decid­ed to take the day off and windy/​cold weath­er took her place.

Krista Means photo

After arriv­ing in Teng­boche we were freez­ing but need­ed to hur­ry up and walk over to the famous monastery of the chant­i­ng monks. As expect­ed, there would be no heat in the build­ing but we took our place on the floor care­ful to not point the bot­toms of our feet towards the alter. The monks had already start­ed when we arrived and con­tin­ued for anoth­er 10 min­utes or so after our arrival. While lis­ten­ing to them chant the per­son sit­ting next to me, Beat­rice, point­ed out a huge rat under­neath the cab­i­net next to us play­ing with a small bro­ken piece of a ceram­ic bowl. I was­n’t phased and instead chuck­led. If this trip has done only one thing for me, it has stripped me (hope­ful­ly for long past this trip ends) of my pam­pered self. I had hoped for this. The con­di­tions we are cur­rent­ly liv­ing with­in are so far removed from my lux­u­ri­ous life at home. We may have a roof over our head, but we haven’t had heat since Kath­man­du except for the room where we eat din­ner. And it snowed last night so that tells you how cold it is (my moun­tain climb­ing friends are all rolling their eyes right now). As painful as this extend­ed peri­od of dis­com­fort is, it’s weird­ly the best part of the trip. 

Woke up the next morn­ing to a white Nepal…a half inch of snow every­where. It made the morn­ing trek a lit­tle treach­er­ous but the sun was out so it burned off quick­ly. Spent the morn­ing walk­ing to peng­boche so that we could meet and be blessed by Lama Geshu a very famous lama that bless­es all the Ever­est climbers. It was such an emo­tion­al expe­ri­ence and I had a hard time keep­ing it togeth­er. Undoubt­ed­ly one of the best moments of my life. 

Krista Means photo

After our bless­ing we walked anoth­er hour to lunch and then anoth­er two hours to Ding­boche, our home for the next two nights. The alti­tude here is around 14k feet so peo­ple often start to feel very bad. True to form four peo­ple were very sick last night. This is such an inhos­pitable envi­ron­ment that it is tru­ly a won­der any­one makes it to base camp, let alone the top of the moun­tain. (Not to men­tion the amaz­ing peo­ple who live here!!) It’s real­ly one day at a time as ill­ness can befall you at any time. One guy in our group espe­cial­ly is real­ly strug­gling with the alti­tude. He’s young (mid 20’s) and has sum­mit­ed Kil­i­man­jaro before but for some rea­son he’s been hav­ing a hard time. He says he’s feel­ing a lit­tle bet­ter today so I’m hop­ing he’s on the mend. 

Also, every day we see heli­copters going past us. Many of them. I knew the answer to my ques­tion before I asked it, but hop­ing I was wrong I asked our guide, why so many…the climbers haven’t even start­ed climb­ing yet”. They’re res­cu­ing Trekkers” she said. Awe­some. It real­ly dawned on me that this is seri­ous shit. We are not sea­soned alpine climbers used to hos­tile con­di­tions. Instead most Trekkers are peo­ple like me who enjoy hiking. 

Krista Means photo

This is most like­ly my last post until I reach an out­post at a low­er ele­va­tion. Pub­lic Wi-fi is get­ting hard­er to come by. We have tonight in Ding­boche, tomor­row night in Lobuche, next is Gorak Shep and then EBC. Hope­ful­ly all the bless­ings I have been for­tu­nate enough to receive will be enough to car­ry me safe­ly to EBC and back down. But luck­i­ly I am with a guide who hon­ors safe­ty first and in her I trust. 

Sign­ing off from Ding­boche. I’ll post again from Pheriche on the way down.

~ MM Trekker Krista Means