November 2, 2015
Burke-Khang Base Camp
Namaste Family & Friends:
On October 30, we all arrived at Burke-Khang Base Camp in fine form. We celebrated Halloween in even finer form, as you can see from the photos.
In the afternoon, we had our Puja, which is a prayer ceremony led by a Lama, or Buddhist Priest. The Lama prays for safe passage on the mountain. This ceremony is considered sacred by the Sherpas, who will not sleep on the mountains they climb until the Puja has been completed.
The Sherpa who performed the Puja was a former Lama whom I am guessing is in his mid-50’s. He calls himself “Mickey Mouse.” He is now devoting himself primarily to high altitude mountaineering. He has climbed Everest 15 times and summitted 9 times.
Guess what? My Sherpa is Mickey Mouse. So, I’m climbing Burke-Khang with Mickey Mouse! How cool is that?
Our Base Camp is situated on a large plateau with a stunning view of Mt. Everest. We have single person sleeping tents, a dining tent, a cook tent, a shower tent and a toilet.
Burke-Khang Base Camp is located at the junction of the Ngozumba Glacier and the Guanara Glacier. These massive, powerful glaciers are breathtaking to view. From here, we will split off the Ngozumba and move up the Guanara Glacier to Advanced Base Camp.
On the morning of October 31, we bid a sad farewell to our trekkers Rebecca York, Daniel Powell & Martha Levin. They moved down the mountain to begin their own adventure up to Everest Base Camp and then down the Everest Trekking Trail to Lukla. On November 1, they rested in Dzonglha. Their destination today is Gorak Shep. After Gorak Shep, they will trek up to Everest Base Camp. The trek to EBC and back down to Lukla is fun, easy and beautiful, especially this time of the year.
We will miss our friends greatly, and I know they will miss us too. In a future post, I will line out their itinerary.
I had the saddest of news yesterday morning when my dear friend John Dahlem (“Coach”) informed me that a bulging disc in his back has become inflamed, and he has to end his trip. He was in a lot of pain and flew off the mountain in a helicopter in the afternoon. He will need an epidural when he returns home, but he will be fine. It has happened to him before. Of course, he was devastated to leave us, and we felt the same way.
That leaves 5 of us to finish the climb. Kathy has decided to stay with the team, which is good news for us.
The cooks here are the very best. On October 31, they brought in sizzling plates of pasta, chicken, vegetables and fries. For breakfast yesterday morning, we had blueberry pancakes, ham & fried eggs. Our lunch yesterday was homemade vegetarian pizza. Last night, we had fresh, homemade tomato soup and dal bhat.
We also had good news last night when we received a report that Sid and the Sherpas have fixed the lines up the East Buttress of Butke- Khang, almost to Camp 1 on the ridgeline. They report that the mountain looks to be in good condition for our climb. Yippee!
We will be staying here at Base Camp for a couple of days doing daily acclimatization hikes to prepare our bodies for the assault on Burke-Khang. I’ll send out a report with our schedule tomorrow or the next day.
The vistas are blowing everyone away. This is Heaven on Earth. The weather is also holding up well.
Did I mention that everyone on the climbing team is doing GREAT?