Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ama Dablam: Arrived at Base Camp

Arrived at Base Camp
22 October 2014

Namaste everyone, 
Members of our team gather round the stove while they read

This morning we woke to clear blue skies, the Himalayan air greeting us with a cool confidence. Our crew enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Phutashi's Lodge, in anticipation of our elevation gain to come. We eat quite well in these tea houses, with things like hash browns, fried eggs and cheese on the menu. Of course when it arrives, it has a distinctly Nepali flair to it that does not always resemble our Western expectations, but in ways that has its own charm, which we have grown to enjoy.

We left the lodge around 8am, giving us plenty of time to make our way to Base Camp. Right out of Pangboche, we dropped down to the river before snaking our way up a steep glacial moraine. It can be slightly disheartening going down when our ultimate goal is going up, but in the coming weeks we will be doing a lot of that as it helps with our acclimatisation. We followed a yak train and their handler up the hill, motivated by the bells on their neck singing a joyous song.

The trail to Base Camp took us through another glorious alpine meadow, with new peaks becoming visible as our vantage shifted throughout the day. Pumori's pointed summit off to our left presented itself with classic fluted snow spines streaking down its steep faces. As we trekked higher, patches of snow became more common, remnants of last weeks storm. Overall however, our hike was on dry trail with sunny skies.

We arrived here at our Base Camp lodge just before 11am, a speedy but comfortable ascent. Afternoon tea in the sun was a must, as we waited for the porters to arrive with the rest of our gear. The team has fallen into a usual routine now, with orders of masala, lemon, mint, and ginger tea being placed with specific individuals in mind. The lodge gave us rooms on the south side of the building, a nice treat as it receives the most sun throughout the day.

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the hills and boulders scattered around Base Camp, and as the clouds moved in, gathering around the stove in the center of the dining room. The beautiful thing of more rustic living is that the cold brings us together in a communal way, something so undervalued in today's busy and segmented world.

We remain around the stove, reading our respective books as we await another delicious meal. Tomorrow we anticipate good weather, and plan to make use of it by practicing our fixed line techniques.

Until then, we'll stay warm and hope you do as well.

Andrew Yasso

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