Monday, May 1, 2017

Everest Base Camp

On Sunday afternoon I finally made it to Everest Base Camp! We got up early and trekked from Lobouche past Gorak Shep and straight into base camp. The elevation gain was approximately 1,400 feet with base camp coming in at 17,600 feet.  I felt strong on the trek but once again felt the elevation. Coming up the last hill I met 2 of the members of the team Audrey and Ingvild, who were going on a short hike to stretch their legs. Shortly after I met most of the rest of the team and the other guides.  It was great to finally feel part of the expedition. 

As I was getting settled in, Garrett, the lead guide and company owner, called an impromptu meeting before dinner. He informed us that there had been an accident on the mountain. Uli Steck, a famous climber and machine in the mountains had fallen and died. He was preparing for an highly aggressive and technical route crossing Everest and Lhotse. Garrett asked us not to share any info out of respect for the family until the news had published the facts. It was a very somber moment. I think most of us climbers did not think twice about what we are doing. For one, what Uli was attempting was a very different thing from our route. We were more worried for our families who heard the news and would be reminded of the risks. 

After getting settled in my tent I made my way to the giant eating/movie tent, which is also heated!  The mood was a mix of the bad news combined with the excitement for most of the team who were preparing to go up the mountain for their second rotation with a 1:30am start. For that our base camp chef prepared T-bone steaks, potato wedges, fried onions, salad and more. I heard the food was good with this company. All companies claim that, but Chef Anthony is the real deal. He goes from gig to gig. Everest base camp one month to serving on a private yacht in Monaco the next. 

Here's a photo of me at the prayer flag covered entrance to Everest Base Camp (EBC). 

A pic overlooking the Khumbu icefall.

A shot of part of our camp. Top two tents are a couple of the guides tents. The climber tents are below. My home for a few weeks is the tent on the left on the bottom row. And the smaller funny shaped tents on the far left are the latrines. These are a major step up from many places I've been which are basically holes in the snow, nothing protecting from the bitter wind.