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17 AI0416 EBC Group2 FB

Ups and Downs on the Everest Base Camp Trek

Big greet­ings from team Moun­tain Mad­ness here above 14,000 feet. It feels like we’ve lived four life­times in the span of the last week we’ve had here in Nepal.

We start­ed out inglo­ri­ous­ly our first night in the Khum­bu with sev­er­al trekkers expe­ri­enc­ing some gas­troin­testi­nal chal­lenges. Shy and myself zipped around dol­ing out elec­trolyte pow­der and Imod­i­um tabs This made our climb into Nam­che the fol­low­ing day, a 2500 foot ascent, pos­si­bly the crux of our whole trip. Our arrival into the cozy lodge just above the town cen­ter was full of cheers and tears. 

Sog­gy but hap­py to be home” for the day.

But these first two wet and chal­leng­ing days were reward­ed on our rest day, when the sun peeked out for our accli­ma­tiz­ing hike up above 12,000 feet. We had a stun­ning after­noon chill­ing out on the old airstrip and laugh­ing with the head lama at the Nam­che monastery. The after­noon was spent shop­ping, most­ly for local down jack­ets, since our fore­cast now showed some cold­er days up high. Mary­na, Michael, Jes­si­ca, and myself are excit­ed for the pho­to­shoot at base camp in our match­ing layers!

Point­ing the way to Tengboche.

Next was the climb into the heart of upper Khum­bu at Teng­boche. A mag­i­cal day for the whole team. Jolene and Jay want­ed to solid­i­fy their union with the bless­ings of a Bud­dhist monk. We all gath­ered in the monastery at the top of the hill. We received bless­ings as a group for good luck and safe trav­els through the Khum­bu. Then it was time to hon­or the union of these two spe­cial peo­ple. They both knelt before the monk and he began chant­i­ng many prayers while we tossed rice. He adorned them with khatas, and they walked out glee­ful­ly hold­ing hands. We then bound their hands with scarves for the short walk back to the tea house, where we cel­e­brat­ed with an impro­vised wed­ding cake pre­pared by our won­der­ful cook team. 

Our group after the bless­ing ceremony.

And just to com­plete the day, the clouds final­ly broke and we had our very first views of the Himalayan giants all around us that evening: Ama Dablam, Tham­serku, Nuptse, and the tini­est sliv­er of the Ever­est summit. 

Cook staff with warm drinks.

From here we are head­ed up the val­ley for our next mis­sion: Ding­boche. More updates soon!

~Moun­tain Mad­ness Guide Mara Lar­son — words and photos