Starting to Make Base Camp Home- Everest!
Well we have been at Base Camp now since Thursday, and slowly but surely it is becoming our home base. It was a weird feeling walking in here and knowing what to expect the next 45 days or so, magical at the same time. I looked up at the ice fall and the mountain and I just thought, “please be kind.” Days are definitely flying by though! At the end of this blog is a photo tour for you all to get a taste of what life up here is like :)
My first night here I looked up at the night sky and saw all the gorgeous mountains lit up by moonlight and all the thousands of stars and just gave thanks for being here and set my intention for the climb and this journey. I had done this on some alone time on one of the stupas in Dingboche, but there was something different about doing it here.
Thursday, I just got settled in and checked in with the EBC docs to get new antibiotics for my cough and ear ache. Nothing to worry about and I am doing better, was just on the wrong meds earlier. I am bundling up with scarfs to keep cold air away from the ears and throat. I also got to see my friend Kevin, which is climbing with the Peak Freaks team and trying to summit Everest and Lhotse without O2!! His camp is next to ours, so nice to have friends nearby. I got to see a few of the Sherpas from my previous team in 2011 as well, which was nice and they are in the camp next to me as well.
Friday, I did laundry, and well it dried for the most part, only some of it froze…lol. I also got a shower which was the best :) Then it was more getting settled in and starting to get info on the mountain and make a plan. Rob arrived to meet up with the team that day and now we were just missing Alison, which arrived on Saturday after getting a tummy bug and having to stay down below.
Saturday, got all my gear sorted and reorganized the tent. I visited with Kevin and some of the Sherpas again, visited the docs again to check on my ear. All good. I got to meet some of the ice fall doctors that were at the clinic tent and found out there are about 30 ladders through the ice fall. The longest set of ladders is about 3 across, which is better than last time, we had a 5 strung ladder set! The ice fall doctors to me are a bit of legend and superhuman. They arrive before anyone else to start fixing the lines up the mountain and then are the last to go as they take all the ladders down throughout the ice fall. They deal with some extremely dangerous situations and sometime lose their life in the process, as the ice fall doctor that passed last week, and we found out had pierced through a snow bridge. Per usual they were smiley, happy to answer questions, which Pasong was able to translate for me :)
The docs at the clinic tent here at EBC are awesome and it was good to chat to them about my previous attempt and my incident with hypoxia. They advised that since I know I can do well without Diamox up to about 27,000 feet that maybe I should start taking it on my summit push at about camp 2 or 3. So basically I would do all of my acclimatization rotations on the mountain without Diamox and only use it on my summit push to help my body deal with the lack of oxygen above 27,500 feet , which is where I had to turn around last time. So I am noodling on it…I typically don’t use Diamox and don’t really care for the side effects, but also want a good chance to reach the top safely and it appears a good recommendation.
Today, Oliver and I went up Kalapatar to get some acclimatization and then came to Gorak Shep to send this blog out and check email....racing against the weather clock as we speak! Tomorrow is our Puja and after that we will practice in the ice fall a bit. Then we will head up to Camp 1 by Thursday I hope! I am so excited to get through the first round of the ice fall, last time it was my favorite section of the climb. A magical maze of snow and ice and unlike anywhere else in the world I think :)
So a picture says a thousand words, below are some photos to give you a tour of Everest Base Camp (EBC). Adventures Global and our Sherpa crew have been amazing and taking really good care of us :) Part of life up here is getting used to being cold, you go to bed warm and sometimes wake up too warm in your tent and other times too cold in your tent. You need to hydrate, but getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, really isn’t the greatest. Our 4 am departure through the ice fall on Wednesday is going to be rough, no doubt! You also get used to hearing avalanches often and even seeing them-not to worry they are not near us! It is a pretty spectacular sight though. By having many little inconveniences, you really appreciate all the comforts of home, and also quickly begin to realize how little we really need. There is simplicity here, of keeping healthy, eating and staying nourished, and listening to your body to see how far it will let you go. A big part of being here, is about letting go and being in the present. Letting go of fears, of worries or woes that you may have left behind at home that start to lose their importance, letting go of control and realizing that nature and the one above are in charge-not you, and basically succumbing to the journey that is taking place. If you don’t let go, then in the end, I feel you lose so much of the true gift of this experience. Of course reaching the top of the world is the goal, but the journey to get there is the gift, that comes with self-awareness and personal growth and experiences unlike any you ever had or could imagine.
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Everest Base Camp Photo Tour :)