Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Everest 2008- Basecamp

Hello from Everest Base Camp. I swung into basecamp, fit, well and acclimatised, on Sunday after completing the trek with nights in Chukung, Loboche and Gorak Shep. We have only just got the Comms Tent up and running hence the delay between dispatches. It's great to finally get here and get into my individual spacious 4 man tent after the nomadic existence of the last 2 weeks. Its quite a change from the tea houses we have been staying in with -15 degrees Celsius temperatures measured on the last few nights and avalanches going off like jet aircraft flying over the tents during the night. I've also managed to enjoy my first shower in 2 weeks!..yeah I know what what your thinking..and your right..tad smelly..but that's expedition life.!!.


That's pretty much chapter 1 closed and I now focus on climbing on the mountain proper with the first leg climbing to camp 1. This involves negotiating the Khumbu Icefall, which is the most dangerous place on the whole mountain. A mass jumble of ice with gaping crevasses and overhanging seracs as big as houses. The ice fall is constantly moving which makes this place so dangerous. In order to forge a safe passageway through, each team, pays a group of sherpas called the Icefall Doctors a fee, to set aluminium ladders across the crevasses (sometimes 3 in length), fix ropes and anchors and maintain all these safety features throughout the climbing season. At this time only half of the icefall has been fixed so we are on rest days for a while.


The other thing we must do before going on the mountain is have our Puja. The Puja is a sherpa tradition where prayers and offerings are given to the mountain in order to ask for safe passage. The ceremony is led by a Local Lama, goes on for a couple of hours and will see our climbing equipment, crampons, ice axes, harnesses etc also being blessed as well as a few cheeky wee beers and a chang chaser. It all cumilates in the central flag pole resplendent in prayer flags being raised on our Puja stone where it will fly till the end of the expedition.


So not much climbing to report at this stage but hopefully by the weekend we will be into the icefall. Sorry for the lack of pics but is just prooving too costly and difficult at this time.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great to know you have arrived at base camp. All the best for the next stage of the expedition. Mum x

Colin said...

I hope this comment finds you safe and well Mr McFlee.

All the best to you in the next stages of the expedition, and get yourself back down safe and well.

There is talk of throwing our desks out in your absence and making a full kitchen area, so haste ye back!

And remember......Going up is optional, getting back down is compulsary!

God speed.

Colin

dave casey said...

Hey Marty,

great news that you have arrived at base camp and with permits too - sweet!
i bet your itching to get up there! but...., before you do, best to tell you that Celtic got beaten by Motherwell 1-0 and then the Gers drew with Utd 3-3 (coming from behind 3 times) - so not quite over yet but you're nearly there!
we lost at the weekend 3-1 and i am getting shin splints (ouch).
you'll sleep better tonight now.
take care buddy

dave

ColinT said...

Great news man , Everythings back in nic over here! haha. Quite Nice!

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin, great to hear you've now reached base camp - that in itself must give you a good feeling. Your tent and pitch sounds like luxury - at least it thought it did at first read, i thought you said 15 degrees (was thinking that's bloody hotter than it is here :-) And a shower eh, luxury indeed!

When you say a Lama will bless your climbing equipment are you meaning one of the 4 legged variety, and what exactly do they do to bless it (better not get it mixed up with the beer)!

The Icefall Doctors sound reassuring, but am sure you won't be needing them to use their Doctorate skills, have every faith in you.

All the best for your next stage to Camp 1.

Take Care, C x

Anonymous said...

Alright Big Man, Glad to hear you have got set up at base camp and everything is going well.
I and everyone else are really enjoying your progress reports so keep up the good work.
You will be amused to know I've missed all three gym trips since you left but in my defence I have been out on the MTB.
Millie and Carla want to know if you have seen Diego or Dora on the mountain yet?
Take care and best wishes
Crawford Family

Alyson R-S said...

Hi Martin

So glad to read you had got the permit and made it up to basecamp! (I have to admit I had a wee bag packed for a sharp exit out the back door for a bit....)

Awwrabest o luck with the rest of the expedition, they tell me its a wee bit bigger than goat fell but I am sure your wee sparrow legs will get you there!

Take care

Alyson

Kerry said...

Hello there

Fantastic news that you've reached base camp complete with all mod cons....lucky guy!!

Wishing you all the very best for the next phase.

Take care
Kerry