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