Nov. 5: Pooja day at BAI Ama Dablam base camp

Today is Pooja day at BAI’s Ama Dablam base camp. Many of you know from previous expeditions that we always do a Pooja or a blessing before we go on to the route on a major climb. You might suppose that this is a show for the foreign climber, the trekker or the tourist but actually nothing could be further from the truth. The Sherpas will do this before they climb in every case, whether we’re interested in participating or not. But of course we are. It’s a wonderful, colorful ceremony.

Today at 7:30 a.m., the Lama from Tangboche monestary showed up at base camp. Soon behind the lama was Ang Temba and also Nima Tashi’s wife and his 8-year-old daughter.

As the morning progressed, the Lama sat in front of our chorten or our Buddhist religious shrine at Base Camp and read from sacred text, prayed, chanted and rang a bell.

As the prayers progressed, we later all gathered behind the chorten and sat as offerings to the gods were distributed. We all threw the rice, along with the Sherpas, over our shoulders three times.

Ama Dablam was brilliant above us in the morning sunlight. It was a wonderful time.

At the end of the Pooja, as we finished, all the brightly colored prayer flags were raised. These will stay at the center of our Base Camp, our chorten, as the climb continues. The Sherpas will daily light juniper fires here at the chorten and it will be the center piece of our expedition.

Meagan was with us through the Pooja but now we’re leaving for Advanced Base Camp in the early afternoon and Meagan is off to trek on her own to Everest Base Camp to take a look at the Khumbu Icefall, which of course will be the last part of her ski descent with the Berg Adventures Everest 2003 climb next spring.

We’re going to miss her but it’s been great having her along for a while, dreaming about next spring and having her companionship as we prepare our Ama Dablam climb.

Ama Dablam 2002
BAI team:

Wally Berg,
Canmore, Alberta
Brent Bishop,
Bozeman, Montana
David Burger,
Boulder, Colorado
Garry Porter
Olalla, Washington
Ryland Gardner
Edwards, Colorado
Doug Frost
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Our objective:

22,494 feet
6857 meters

First Ascent:

March 13, 1961
Barry Bishop
Wally Ramanes
Mike Gill
Mike Ward