Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mt. Everest Base Camp

Wednesday, May 7
It took two hours to reach Base Camp from Gorak Shep. To get there we continued along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier with spectacular views of the Khumbu Ice Fall, Mt. Everest, and Base Camp as we proceeded. Base Camp looked like a small village comprised of an expanse of various colored tents. As we approached we got a much better vantage point of the Ice Fall which falls between Mt. Nuptse on the right and Diamond Peak on the left.

We trekked through Base Camp to first go touch the bottom of the Ice Fall. It is much larger than one could imagine with bottomless crevasses and towering ice columns. Clearly a very technical challenge to maneuver through. As we looked up the Ice Fall we could see climbers (very small figures) throughout heading up and down.

Scott Parazynski found us there and it was very good to see him. He was very excited to see us too and explained his ascents up through the Ice Fall as well as climbs to Camp I and Camp II.

As we were about to head back to Base Camp (merely 3 minutes away) a large portion of a glacier caved on a mountain ledge adjacent and to the left of the Ice Fall creating an avalanche that lasted about 2 minutes. Within seconds the snow plume created by the ground impact drifted over us giving the appearance of a light snowfall. This was a very unique experience to see, being so close to a large avalanche, but Scott mentioned it is a common occurrence here at Base Camp.

Back in the Base Camp we first went to the Indian Army tent as one of our trekking guides, Baldev, is good friends of the Indian Army Colonel who is leading an expedition of the Savehs, a wing of the Army. They were very accommodating and happy to talk to us. We sat in their tent for coffee and popcorn. Shortly afterwards we went to Scott Parazynski's location, the IMG (International Mountain Guides) camp. They have 20 climbers and around 40 Sherpas in their expedition, and their camp was very large with many tents. Scott showed us his personal tent as well as the gear he is using during this expedition. Scott mentioned that he has already been up and down through the Ice Fall four times and has reached as high as just above Camp 2 for his acclimatization climbs. He is looking forward to continuing his routines and eventual bid for the summit. We wish him luck.

After vising the IMG Camp, we went to a bakery tent. It was hard to believe, but this tent creates comfort foods such as apple pies, cookies, and cinnamon buns right in the heart of Base Camp. We sat in the tent talking with with Scott some more and enjoyed a few baked goods before we headed back out.

The day was getting late and we had a long hike back to Lobuche ahead of us, so unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Scott. I think all of us could have stayed much longer enjoying the impressive views of the Ice Fall and Mt. Everest right in front of us.



Suzanne said...

Chris - This might be a silly question, but how did you recognize Scott? I am imagining that everyone at base camp is wearing huge parkas with big furry hoods and maybe even facemasks to keep warm. How can you tell who anyone is? Or isn't it that cold?

NASA Everest Trek said...

Suzanne - when the sun is out (as it was most of the days) the temperature can get to a very comfortable 50 degrees. The day we were at Base Camp we had wonderful weather and many were only wearing a fleece jacket over a long sleeve shirt. No facemasks necessary. If were were to travel in the evening where the temperature can reach below freezing, we would likely want to be wearing facemasks to keep warm.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

my dream, or is going to mount everest
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