Expedition Living

Everest Base Camp (EBC) is on a glacier at 17,500 feet.  Our campsite consists of North Face VE 25 tents for sleeping in, a dining tent, a communications tent  (which is not fully functional yet so I am hiking  down to Gorak Shep to jump on the internet), a gear storage tent, a cooking tent and a domed bubble tent for relaxing in (the Yoga lounge).

Our tent platforms are hacked out of the glacier ice and for further fun, the glacier has rocks spewed all over it so rocks have to be moved and made into paths and steps to make getting around camp more reasonable.   Crowning the camp is our Chorten with strings of prayer flags strung over the camp in five directions.

On the 8th we preformed our Puja ceremony blessing the climbers and asking the mountain permission to climb it. (This needs to be done before you can start climbing for each team). For a little over an hour our climbing Sherpa’s, the western climbers, a Llama and our co-expedition leaders  Ang Timba Sherpa and Wally Berg  participated in the ceremony by praying, tossing rice and white flour when required.  Chants of “Om Mani Padme Hum”  filled the air along with many other prayers I was unable to distinguish.

All things considered life at base camp is not too bad.  Our cooks prepare amazing food considering the environment, (Mo – Mo’s are excellent!) and if you are brave you can clean up with a sponge bath from time to time (although it is a rather brisk experience).  There has been snow several days and the temperature drops well below freezing at night.

Despite the rosy description above one must consider one irrefutable fact.  The body deteriorates over 16,000 feet,  and base camp is at 17,500 feet.  Just moving around camp takes your breath away.  With less oxygen your are hypoxic and it is hard to stay warm, my base camp sleeping bag is rated for -18 and I still wake up cold;  last night I even wore my down jacket to bed!

Today we are still waiting for the weather to improve to move up, most likely we will be amongst the first Western Climbers to reach the Western Cym.  Our plan is to move to Camp I and then Camp II for a total of five nights in the Western Cym.  We will be higher and it will be colder with less oxygen. Currently we are acclimatized to 17,500 feet, I guarantee when we return to EBC from our first rotation up high, despite my complaints EBC will feel like Club Med.  I sure hope so…

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3 Comments

  1. Lanny Mann
    Apr 15, 2013

    Living vicariously through ya, Steve! Get high and stay safe.

  2. Bob / Myrna Barrow
    Apr 15, 2013

    Way to go Steve! Proud of you! Great luck on your summit attempt!!

    Go Thompson!!!

  3. Bruce Whittington
    Apr 17, 2013

    Good luck Steve. You are a brave lad and I hope all goes well. I would skip the baths for now if I were you.

    p.s. These days its all I can do to go up a step ladder!!

    your Uncle Bruce

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