Phil, Margaret, Milos and I arrived at Everest Base Camp (EBC) yesterday while the other members of the Altitude Junkies expedition stayed in Lobuche for a second night to acclimatise. Phil decided the four of us were OK to go to EBC, as we are regular climbers and have been at EBC a few times.
It was nice to leave the crowded Mother Earth lodge in Lobuche and come to EBC earlier, before the whole group arrived. We were greeted by the Sherpa team, who’ve been at EBC for almost two weeks, setting up the Altitude Junkies camp and preparing for the expedition. As I was walking through the camp and looking for the Junkies’ tents, I could see a site, neatly set up on the hill, right in the middle of base camp. It looked great – right beside the Khumbu Icefall and surrounded by dozens of beautiful peaks. You can’t see Everest’s peak from EBC, only if you walk up to Pumori base camp or further away from the camp.
I was greeted by the Sherpa team as soon as I arrived at the camp. I saw Kami (we call him Mad Dog) first. Tarki, my Sherpa from Everest and my Sherpa for Lhotse, came out to greet me as well. Here was Sangye and others outside, shaking my hand and giving hugs. This is my 4th expedition with Altitude Junkies, and coming back to EBC feels like coming home.
Da Pasang, our amazing cook (I think he is the best cook in base camp!) greeted me with a smile and hot drinks. His kitchen tent is always shiny and organized, and was already set up and ready to serve.
My camping and climbing gear was already here, brought by porters from Lukla. I happily settled into the tent I will be living in for the next 6-8 weeks. I am extremely excited I will be climbing Lhotse! Lhotse is the fourth highest peak in the world peak, 8,516m – very technical. I will be using my technical tools – two ice tools and tibloc for safety – for climbing the steeper sections, but I will still have my jumar to use on the fixed ropes in places like the Lhotse Couloir.
We will have our Puja (religious Buddhist ceremony that we have at the beginning of each expedition to ask mountain gods for safe passage) on Monday, 13th April. Our Sherpas will start setting up camp 1 and 2 right after that. We will start our acclimatisation walks shortly afterwards. At this altitude (EBC is 5,364m), the body needs to take time to acclimatise. Going up too soon could end up in altitude sickness or even death.
Stay tuned for more updates in the next couple of days!