Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: 18:00, May 11
Weather: 14C Max, Fine, except for some afternoon snow.
Hi, it’s Mary here and Paul and Fiona have asked me to write about my trek in. It has been so hard to condense it all – my diary (thanks kids for the diary) is many, many pages long…but here goes!
Seeing Paul and Fiona
The most exciting part of the trek was seeing Paul and Fiona after nearly six weeks! When I arrived, they were still up at Camp 2 (after coming down from Camp 3) so I still had to wait another few days to see them.
What a challenge
It isn’t until you are here that you realise the enormity of what they (and the others here) are doing. While you can’t see Everest from Base Camp, (I saw it on the way in…..it is ENORMOUS and MAGNIFICENT!) you can see the Khumbu Icefall as it stretches up very high in front of you- and that is only the beginning of their climb. I watched them coming down the glacier yesterday morning. They looked so tiny as they and their sherpas walked down to Base Camp. I met them at the bottom and they looked fantastic. I was thrilled to be finally able to see them.
All the problems had settled by the time I got into Kathmandu and the day after I arrived, I flew into Lukla in a small plane. The landing strip is cut into the side of a mountain and the pilots fly in without instrumentation. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be but nevertheless the ground did seem to come up very quickly!
The trek took twelve days as it is really important to acclimatise. They say it is not the distance here that you have to worry about, it is the altitude. Lukla is approx 2.500 metres above sea level and BC is about 5.500 metres – so that’s why it takes so long to get there.
My guide Phu Tashi was very attentive and always made sure that I was ok. All my luggage went off each day with the porter who carried it in a basket on his back. He was always waiting at the lodges when we got there.
I took two days to get to Namche (up the steepest hill you can imagine!) and then had a rest day there. The Namche Bazaar was on – a fascinating market selling mainly fresh vegs/meat and local produce. The lodge I stayed in was the same one Jimmy Carter had a few years ago. It had a hot shower and charging facilities – oh such luxuries. The next day I further acclimatised by walking up to the Sherpa villages of Khunde and Khumjung. We had lunch with Tashi’s mother in their home – I felt really privileged. We visited the Edmund Hillary Hospital and school. He has done so much for the people of this area and they regard him as a saint.
The next day it was on to Tengboche and another rest day. It was there that I visited the monastery and received the blessings from the head lama for Paul and Fiona and their sherpas. The weather was starting to get cold now with occasional snow falls in the afternoon. The bedrooms are not heated and they only light the pot belly stoves at night. There is a scarcity of timber and they burn dried yak dung which gives off some warmth.
Dingboche and onto Base Camp
From there it was on to Dingboche for 3 days where we stayed at Tashi’s lodge. We hiked over to Periche and heard the doctors talk about Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) – a really interesting talk with lots of advice re the importance of acclimatisation. While at Tashi’s place, I was invited to a special puja (religious ceremony) which was conducted by a lama and went for over 4 hours! (they served food throughout) – a very special experience.
On to Dukla, Lobuche and Gorak Shep (where Edmund Hillary’s Base Camp was) before finally getting into BC absolutely exhausted!!
Everest Base Camp
BC is a site of tents which have been put up on rocks which are part of the glacier (and it is melting under the rocks). It is surrounded by mountains and you hear rock slides constantly from one side and some avalanches on the other side. Paul and Fiona had fixed my tent for me – complete with my stretcher. It was wonderful to lie down when I finally arrived.
I was here for a few days before they got back and so now have only just begun to read some of the messages people have posted on the site. (I will be able to read the rest tomorrow) Thank you so much family and friends who have posted them; Roberta, I am so sorry to hear of your illness. It is so special to hear everyone’s news.
Paul and Fiona are resting here for about a week or so and I am really enjoying my time here with them and meeting the rest of the team.
Bye for now and love to all,