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Dispatches are in reverse chronological order, with the most recent appearing first.
Hello, this is Rob Chang from Everest Base Camp. We apologize it has taken us so long to update, but our journey has been long, but we are happy to report climber John Gray, Base Camp Manager Paula Stout and myself are finally here and are doing well.
A short update.
Sunday, April 10
We awake to high winds and cold temps, but today is Puja day! This is a traditional ceremony where we bring in a Buddhist Llama and spend the morning blessing our gear, burning juniper, throwing rice and flour as offerings to the spirits, as well as eating and offering cookies, sweets, fruits and many other items. The Sherpas have made a stone altar that all these items are presented upon, and then after many chants, they errect a large lodge pole almost 15 feet tall that span many colorful prayer flags in five directions, some spanning over 75 feet in length. It is spiritual to say the least.
And of course I forgot to mention we drink some Chhang, which is Nepali rice millet beer home brewed here in Base Camp and a can of beer for good luck (though we only really sipped a little as being at 17,600 feet definitely isn't a good place to have a happy hour).
Tomorrow we head into the Khumbu Ice Fall for the first time. We have seen a huge avalanche right off the shoulder of one of the passes adjacent to the mountain and are a little self-aware that this will be our first step into the climbing realm.
After the 11th, we plan to rest on the 12th and then plan to head up to Camp One on the 13th. Chuck and Dan are right behind us and will be here this week to join in on the climbing.
Saturday, April 9
We left Lobuche and did the long and hard hike into Base Camp. We pulled in early afternoon and found that Apa and our Sherpa and Cook Staff from Asian Trekking had done a great job in setting up our camp in a great location as well as having our own tents, mess tents, toilet tents, and even our shower tent all set up.
We met our fellow permit sharees, Will Cross and Julie Smith who are sharing our logistics here in Base Camp. They are great company and we have lunch and dinner and talk climbing and trekking into the early evening.
Thursday, April 7 - Friday, April 8
We hiked up a few steep hills and found ourselves at the small outpost called Lobuche at 16,000+ feet. On the way up, we stopped at the Climbers Memorial where there are many stone memorials commemorating the climbers lost to climbing and trekking here in the HImalaya. As climbers, it is a very solemn place as there are very notable names carved here - illustrating truly how mortal we are when we are here attempting to climb the highest peaks on earth.
The small memorial I had left for my sister that the monks at Tengboche had let me leave a few years back, was still in a small pile aftermany seasons. A few tears shed, and I left a very small stone my mother had given me to leave here for her, perhaps for her to find some more grace and peace in her soul in knowing my sister's spirit is truly here - as I have felt it many times trekking.
Wednesday, April 6
We headed to the village of Dingboche where the air definitely got thinner to around 14,000 feet. We have been meeting many other teams that are climbing Everest this year. From Spain, to the Czech Republic to Korea, it appears all corners of the globe are represented.
Tuesday, April 5
We pulled into Tengboche, where the large monastery lies and we toured around and took in the small museum and actually viewed inside the main monastery. It is an amazing view to see such a testament of a living culture and to see how deep Buddhism lies in the Himalaya.
Sunday, April 3 - Tuesday, April 5
After Namche, Paula Stout went out to Thame while Rob and John ventured to Khumjung. We all had a great time basking in the great weather and enjoying the great views of Ama Dablam and the greater Himalaya. Paula had a special time inThame with Apa Sherpa and his wife at their lodge and she was blessed at the monastery there in Thame. John and I had a great few rest days and were getting antsy to just head up higher to get closer to the mountain.
We all have been greatly enjoying staying in tea houses rather than tenting, as being indoors and off the ground has helped our sleep and has kept us healthier and better rested than in past expeditions here. Of course, once we are in Base Camp, the real deal begins.
During the trek, we have all learned to really watch how much we eat on our lunch breaks, at one time, I ate 11 momos, (they are like pot stickers or vegetable type dumplings) and then had only 1/2 an hour to rest before we began hiking again. It was hard to hike on the full stomach to say the least above 10,000 feet.