May 11 - Acclimatizing at 14,000 Feet

It’s the 11th of May and I’m calling you from well over 14,000 feet (4,267m) on a ridge between the village of Pheriche where we are staying and the village of Pangboche. FSunrise on Ama Dablamrom this amazing vantage point we can see the fourth, fifth and sixth highest peaks in the world, which are Lotse at fourth, Makalu at fifth and Cho Oyu at 6th. Around the corner and just out of sight of course is Mount Everest.

Yesterday I left Khunde after having put Lee on a helicopter back to Kathmandu. Lee arrived here in Kathmandu some days ago directly from England with an unexplained pain in his back and quite a bit of nausea. He was seen at the Ciwec clinic in Kathmandu and encouraged to give it a try, meaning the trek, which he did. He still felt bad two days ago so he and I went back to see the Canadian doctor at the village of Khunde, near where we had camped the night before.

Lee at Sagarmatha National Park MuseumThe doctor told Lee that he needed to be further examined, even though he was fine here for the time being, he needed to find out what his pain was about. So at 8:05 yesterday morning on the tenth, Lee flew out in a helicopter. Lee is into aviation, studying to be a pilot, or will be soon and I think even though we were sorry that his back hurt, we were happy for him to experience sitting up front with the pilot in this helicopter, headphones in place as the two of them flew off to Kathmandu..

He said he had never been in a helicopter before. By now he is probably back home in England and he can find out what those back pains were about. We miss him but we are happy he had the experiences he had when he was still with us.

Will and Amy We camped next to the Himalayan Rescue Association Clinic and by the time I caught up to the rest of the group they had all been over to see the doctors there for the lecture. We got the good news that their oxygen saturation in each member of this group was between 83 and 86 percent which is good for the first night in Pheriche at 14,000 feet, so we have that encouragement. The group looks entirely healthy as I said we are all up here together on a high ridge above town which is Bob, Amy, Maggie, Fiona and myself plus four sherpas.

Back down at the lodge we had one of the Everest teams spend the night there last night; they came down from Base Camp and were recuperating in the thick air. They are planning on going to the summit on May 26th. Will who as you know was with us for a night or two is already back at Base Camp and he had reported back to the BAI office that he intends to try and summit between the 15th and the 18th of May. It sounded a bit soon to me, they may not be quite that fast but we wish him luck when he does get started.

Banana Pie at 14,000'Of course we are on our way up and plan on being at Everest Base Camp if we can get acclimatized and stay healthy by May 15th. We will keep reporting to you about our progress, we are having great fun in these lodges down here. Maggie took an amazing picture of the sunrise coming up over Ama Dablam from Ang Temba’s lodge in Pangboche. Last night we had the sherpa cook staff prepare a beautiful banana pie for us which we enjoyed here at 14,000 feet in Pheriche. Good times in the Khumbu, we are looking forward to moving closer to Base Camp.

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