Everest Base Camp, 5330m

We arrived yesterday to Everest Base Camp (EBC or simply BC). It is a rocky resting place for us surrounded on all sides by sheer mountains. Only the way we came from is lower, and the way we’re going, up the Khumbu ice fall, is not a sheer wall.
We have long since left behind the greenery of the lower towns on the trek to BC. Here there are only three colors: rock, snow, and sky, with a smattering of colorful tents here and there, but those are just temporary. In what was a bit of a surprise to me, you cannot actually see the summit of Everest from this camp. We saw it a few times on the hike in, a giant rock very high above, with barely any snow on it; the constant winds of the jet stream don’t allow much snow to collect.

Today is a rest day, and tomorrow most likely as well. We all need it. Last night’s dinner conversation was non-existent. People are not feeling their best. We’re all taking it differently, some are suffering silently while others talk about going down and home. But this is normal. In fact, everyone that was sick in some way on the hike to BC has gotten over it, myself included, so while we are not feeling good due to having to adjust to the altitude, at least we’re not sick. So all in all, things are progressing about as planned.

Ama Dablam

On the hike to Everest Base Camp, the mountain is Ama Dablam, a very beautiful looking mountain and a good technical climb; there's always eyes watching us on the trail.

The hike to BC took us 9 days, only two of which were rest days. And the last 5 days were all spent walking, so the rest days we will be taking now are much deserved, some would say overdue. During the hike in we walked about 54 km and ascended over 2500m. The air at BC is only 53% as thick as what you find at sea level. We are now at an altitude where our bodies are not able to regenerate; any cuts we get will stop bleeding but will not heal until we descend; the muscle mass we use by exercising (acclimatizing by walking up and down) will not be regenerated at this altitude; our bodies (and some would say our minds as well) are in a constant state of degradation. It is for this reason that we have planned a trip to some of the lower towns before going for the summit. The idea is to go lower where our bodies are able to regenerate, eat well for a couple of days, stockpile some energy in our bodies before we go for the summit. That is not possible at BC.

A little bit about how I’m feeling. Stomach issues went away thanks to probiotic tablets. I still haven’t been able to get rid of my sore throat, and I’m starting to think that won’t happen until I arrive home. I have a runny nose and when I clean it there’s traces of blood. From my experience on Cho Oyu that won’t go away either. Walking from the dining tent to my sleeping tent is absolutely exhausting! I have to lay in my tent and rest before doing anything. Just writing this post is an effort in itself. So all in all, things are pretty normal!

What else to say. Tomorrow we will be having a puja, a Buddhist ceremony to appease the gods of the mountain to allow us safe passage. The Sherpas all need to take part in one before they will go any higher on the mountain, and so we are all invited to take part. Other things about life in BC: we are accompanied by the thunderous sounds of seracs falling around us, turning into powdery avalanches as they break up and descend. We heard a bunch of them last night, and this morning caught sight of a pretty big serac falling.

Khumbu Glacier

Here we see the Khumbu glacier, as it turns to the right it goes up into the Khumbu ice fall, on the outside of that turn you might make out some tents of our base camp. And above it all the rock of Everest peeks out over everything.

So far we’ve been taking things one day at a time, trying to pace ourselves and enjoy the hike to BC. Now that we’re here, there’s no reason to do any different, but I find it hard not to look ahead and realize we will be at BC for the next 7 weeks. That’s a long time to be putting up with crap. But we’ll see how it goes. And remember, I’m not complaining. While things here aren’t perfect, they’re exactly the way they’re supposed to be. There’s not many things I would trade this experience for.

Hope everyone is well back home, enjoying their spring and all the wonderful things that normal everyday life has to offer. I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to write blog posts, as our expedition has no internet connection whatsoever, not even via satellite phone. To send this out I’m going to go beg, mooch, or pay some other expedition to let me use their internet. Same with Twitter, doubtful about being able to update that. Just keep on top of our dispatches at Summit Climb, and assume no news is good news.

Anyways, take care and see you later!

Leave a Reply