Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Ama Dablam: Into the Clouds with a Blessing
Into the clouds with a blessing
24 October, 2014
This morning we woke to another clear blue sky and intense himalayan sun. The paintings in frost on our windows melted quickly as the air warmed. The plan for the morning was to participate in a Puja, a blessing to safeguard our travel on the mountain.
A lama from Pangboche trekked up to perform the Puja for us, which started with chanting of prayers and throwing of rice around a beautiful altar the sherpa had built. Our ice axes and helmets were blessed as the Sherpa team erected a wooden structure to support a pyramid of prayer flags. The hour long ceremony concluded with a small amount of wine and tossing of tempeh flour in the air, as well as spreading of the flour all over my face. Not sure what that was about, but the sherpas laughed and seemed to enjoy it so I will take it as a good sign.
In the afternoon we trekked up to Yak camp, or advanced base camp, for acclimatisation purposes. Much of the trail was covered in a thin layer of snow, packed down by yak and climbers alike. The fresh snow on our sides glittered in the afternoon sun, as the rays of light caught the sharp angles of large feathery facets created by clear cold nights. The clouds rolled in and out, creating dramatic windows into to the stark peaks that surrounded us.
As I sit here writing this in Yak camp, the clouds continue to stroll in while the rest of the team saunters on down the trail. I'm actually above the clouds now, a surreal experience that I sincerely hope everyone gets to enjoy one day. Regardless of the higher altitude and diminished oxygen, I always struggle to convey the majesty of these extraordinary moments.
The team did great today, and certainly deserve the rest day we have planned for tomorrow. We are thankful for the blessing of safe passage, and look forward to being in position to plan our attempt on Ama Dablam.