Apr 5th – 8th, 2010
With the ultimate goal in mind, our group hiked at a very conservative pace, with an extra rest day at each stop to allow for sufficient acclimatization. Apr 5th and 6th, we hiked to Deboche/Tengboche with a day of rest, then on Apr. 7th we hiked from Deboche (3700m) to Periche (4200m) in about 4 hours, with more than an hour’s stop at the Pangboche monastery to get blessed by the Lama and an hour’s lunch break at Syamore.
My spiritual journey
The most important thing during the past few days is getting the blessing from Lamas. Yesterday, Apr 6th, we got blessed at Tengboche, and on Apr 7th at Pangboche. During each blessing, we put on a Khaddar that was blessed by the Lama, and the Lama also tied a red string around our neck that we will keep on us during the whole trip. Everyone carefully retied the string afterwards to make sure it wouldn’t fall off by accident. Some Sherpa also brought some sacred items they would bring to Everest Base Camp and to get the blessing from the Pangboche Lama. Everyone takes it seriously.
We also did some questions and answers with the Lama. Nothing complicated, just simple philosophy about life. The most important lesson is positive thinking and peace. Not only peace from within, but doing good deeds to create peace in the surroundings. The whole journey to Everest is not just an adventure, but more of a spiritual journey for me and many others.
During the past few years, my life has been through several transforming stages. At each critical point, it is with the help of many kind friends that I overcame some of the most difficult moments of my life and grew out of it. The little sailboat finally broke through the stormy wave and arrived at this serene land surrounded by peace. The hectic past seems to be distant when you can look at the world with a peaceful heart, and life moves on to a different level of understanding. I’m grateful for the good wishes and kind help from all friends that allow me to embark on this trip with peace of mind.
Himalaya is truly a special destination, and I truly believe that the right attitude is the most important thing to enjoy this wonderful place. Khumbu valley, where most Sherpa come from, is a Buddhism valley. It’s not only manifested in the temples, various Buddhist symbols, and prayer flags, but also in the kindness of the people and peaceful spirit everywhere. In this spiritual journey, I’m glad to have the company of a like- spirited team. This is a very capable team. Some have previously summited Everest or reached high on the mountain; several climbed Cho-Oyu or other high peaks; some have been extreme athletes that went through some of the most rigorous training/competition in the world in their past lives. Everyone has a lot that’s worth bragging about, yet everyone is so humble and brings calm and kindness.
Though each of us is going to climb with our own Sherpa, we still take care of each other just like a traditional climbing team. Our guides are all so tall (6’5”), yet they deliberately set such a slow pace during hiking to keep the team at a very conservative pace because they are focusing on the big picture and the ultimate goal. We need to stay in the best shape we can, and this is not a race. Our guides look out for every detail like a dutiful guardian, from enforcing sanitizing practice to keeping track of everyone’s drinking/eating/ sleeping conditions. Our Sherpa works so diligently to take care of the drinking/eating logistics of such a big team at a high sanitary standard.
The whole climbing team is so focused on Everest that few people can name or care to know other lesser- known mountains along the way. I think I’m the most knowledgeable one thanks my trekking last week and the education from Ted and Dawa.
The trail between Namche and Deboche was very similar to the one I was familiar with— Ama Dablam to the southeast; Peak 38, Lhotse Shar, Lhotse, Everest to the east; Thamserku, Kantega to the south; Cholatse and Taboche to the north; Nuptse ridge so very distinguishable that it hides Everest behind it.
After Deboche, the scenery starts to change. We gradually walked to the east side of Taboche and Cholatse. We also went around Ama Dalbam until I couldn’t recognize it easily anymore; when we crossed the river near Periche, Island Peak started to show up, while Everest completely hid behind Nuptse ridge.
With spring comes the cold virus!
There’s some cold virus circulating among the team. Several members including our guide are catching colds. The sound of coughing is not rare anymore. I started to feel very dry at the upper part of my throat in the afternoon, and felt super sleepy while waiting for dinner. I suspect it is the early symptom of the cold, if not any virus worse than that. Altitude wise, I was feeling almost perfect.
Finally, I couldn’t wait to hit the sack after dessert while most people were still excited with the concert going on in the dining room. It was strange— despite the extremely noisy footsteps upstairs, I fell asleep like a dead log! I felt as if I was on a heavy anesthesia! Once I lay down, my dry throat became so unbearably irritable (itching) that I had to keep a cough drop in my throat through the night while sleeping. I got up once in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but then fell back to sleep immediately with the help of another cough drop.
By breakfast, I still didn’t feel like getting up— not because of tiredness, but the gravity towards the pillow. I felt like I was still on a sleeping pill. I was concerned. I knew I was fighting a cold virus that was circulating among the team. I deliberately chose to sleep hot by closing my already very hot sleeping bag. I sweat quite a lot, and I think that helps to fight off the virus.
I got up with trepidation. It’s a weird feeling— my head still feels heavy, though no signs of headache. I felt like I had an alien inside me! Not sure if I was over the threat of cold or not, I decided to be conservative for today. So while most of the group went for a short hike up the hill to Dingboche, I only took a flat walk near Pheriche with some other members who also preferred to take it easy. From my previous experience, I know my body is sensitive to virus circulating around me and alerts me with those early irritations so my immune system will kick in immediately to fight off the invaders. So I know it’s important to take the opportunity of the rest day today to win the battle against the virus. Tomorrow will be a big day, as we will be moving up to nearly 4900m at Lobuche. Not only is it a day of significant altitude gain (700m), 4900m is also a serious altitude level.
After the flat walk, I felt more like myself again. I do have a little running nose, but not serious. My sore throat seems to have relieved a lot. I don’t feel wired anymore. I feel the frontier of the virus has passed and I’m already on my way to recovery. Hopefully, with another night’s warm sleep, the virus will pass through my system.
News from EBC
Icefall route has been finished well ahead of schedule. Route fixed all the way to camp 1 already.