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Base camp puja

Everest - that's a big piece of rock

In basecamp

April 20, 2011

basecamp Everest north side

Arrived in Everest basecamp two days ago and have been setting up camp and getting into expedition mode since then.

The drive from Kathmandu was uneventful and it was a pleasant surprise to find that the Chinese Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) have built new hotels in Nyalam and Tingri. Comfy beds, clean rooms and running water sometimes. Great!

The highway has been sealed all the way from the border with Nepal, so once into Tibet it was a smooth and very quick drive. Unfortunately we couldn’t avoid the necessary acclimatisation stops, so spent 2 nights in each town en route and climbed whatever hills were nearby, to push the bodies to adjust.

Basecamp is on the rocky slopes at the base of the Rongbuk Glacier and there are several expeditions already here. Despite being over 20kms away, the massif of Everest’s mighty north face dominates the horizon. She’s an impressive piece of rock, particularly as great plumes of cloud stream from her summit in what must be a rather uncomfortable breeze up top.

Basecamp has been experiencing its own cold wind since we arrived keeping us confined to tents for much of the time. But that didn’t stop us from having our Puja ceremony this morning, as we asked the Gods for safe passage on the hill. After the prayers there was much throwing of rice, flour and the odd beer imbibed to assist the Gods to accept our offerings. By the sounds outside my tent I think the Sherpas are still helping.

Another couple of days acclimatising to the basecamp altitude of 5150 metres, then it will be time for me to set off up the hill with some loads and to acclimatise higher.