Monday, April 14, 2014

Finally at Base Camp!

Monday the 14th at noon we pulled into base camp!! Now the real expedition can begin. 
Just before Everest Base Camp
Here is a picture of base camp as seen from 15 minutes outside. We, Asian Trekking (Eco-Everest 2014) are the lowest camp on the glacier. That means less climbers going past us in the night, potentially more tourists stopping in our dining tent, and a slightly longer walk to the crampon point where the real climbing begins.

Personally, I'm not acclimated at all. In the space of one week I went from basically Denver to 17,300 feet. That takes it out of a person. Going back in time:
April 5th - 4200 ft Kathmandu
April 6th - 4200 ft Kathmandu
April 7th - 6500 ft I forget the name...
April 8th - 11,000 ft Namche Bazaar
April 9th - 11,000 ft Namche Bazaar
April 10th - 12,600 ft Tengboche
April 11th - 14,100 ft Dingboche (I tried to Tweet a picture of the inside of the lodge, but I'm bandwidth limited at the moment.)
April 12th - 14,100 ft Dingboche
April 13th - 16,100 ft Lobuche
Lobuche, 16,100 ft. 
April 14th - 17,300 ft Base Camp

That's a fast ascent in my book. That being said, aside from lethargy of acclimating, and a couple very minor headaches, probably more due to caffeine withdraw than the altitude.

I am just amazed how well things are set up here in the Everest region in Nepal. I totally did things backwards. I have not had to sleep in a tent until tonight, at base camp. This place is way more luxurious than Pakistan. I'm guessing it's more luxurious than Alaska and Argentina as well. Yet for some reason, I went to the most rugged place for my first expedition, Pakistan.

The plan is to have Ncell 3G service in base camp, however, it must have been a rough winter, and the tower is down. The rumor is 3-4 days until they fix it, so a week or so most likely. Since today is the free pass over satellite Internet day, it maybe be a week before I log another blog post. It will be just be Tweets from my inReach SE.

Tentatively, our Puja is scheduled for April 17th, which means no climbing for climbers from our expedition above BC until at least the 18th. Our Sherpas had a Puja a few days ago so they are approved to climb above BC. It's worth noting, we went to a Lama, in a town I can't remember between Tengboche and Dingboche, and I was the only one of our entire expedition not to get blessed by the Lama. I consider myself a Christian, and while the "rules" for conduct for being a Christian might be interpreted differently by people, the first commandment is "You shall have no other gods before me." I didn't feel like paying $5 to be blessed by the Lama. So, I suppose, I'm being a little different in that respect. It's not enough for me to want to climb without supplemental oxygen, I'm not getting blessed by the Lama either.

I've got lots of great pictures and videos, but of course using satellite Internet, and a dozen people using it means no more pictures. When they get the cell tower back working I'll get more media uploaded because I have plenty of GB of data, but until then, settle for text messages.

I realize I'm changing subjects frequently, Sherpas are not invincible. One died already this year, like I mentioned before, my guess is he ascended too quickly and there was some other pulmonary issue going on. The air quality, specifically in Kathmandu, is not good at all. Aside from that incident, I hiked a fair amount of time with a 27 year old Sherpa with four Everest summits to his name and while he was carrying 50 lbs. to my 8 lbs., at the same pace he was breathing like he was running a race. Same for a 39 year old Sherpa with two summits. I will hold off on more opinions for now, suffice to say, I was expecting, naively, super athletes, but the reality is something different.

Other than that, I met some really nice young ladies from Australia and the UK. It's funny, people expect that since I'm climbing Mt. Everest, that I would have everything in my life together. I'm still intimidated talking to attractive women. I've been rejected so many times, that so often I feel, 'what's the point?' It's the same with the rest of my life, I have plenty of student loans, a falling apart van, and I really struggle to give my existing relationships the attention they deserve. How's that for philosophy from 17,000 feet?

Overall, things are going really really well! I uploaded my hiking to Strava (the temperature is messed up it was in the 40s not the 100s) and my position is updated on the Delmore page. Only 10k worth of hiking and climbing to go! I'm healthy, I'm fit, and it's not best to compare to other people I realize, but wow, I am so ready for this!

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