September 11 - Renovations and reunions at Base Camp
It’s the 11th of September and it has been a very big day, a very rewarding day for members of the Berg Adventures Everest 2003 climbing team and the support trekkers.
Our day began at 4:30 am at Gorak Shep when we awoke to climb up Kala Patar and get views in the early morning light of Everest and the other great peaks in the area. We were treated to perfectly clear skies and we stood on the summit of Kala Patar at 18, 200 feet at about 7:30 in the morning.
The climbers, David Burger, Maegan, Garry and myself, in particular enjoyed looking up at Base Camp and seeing some yellow dots which are our tents. And of course, looking up at the South Col. There is snow all over the mountain this year. It looks excellent for Maegan’s ski project and for us on our climbing as well.
We had a really exciting time on Kala Patar together. Trekkers Kevin, Dennis and Steve joined us as well. Karen and Becky turned back at about 17,400 feet. But everyone had beautiful views in the early morning light from Kala Patar.
Then, of course, we moved up to Base Camp. We walked up the Khumbu Glacier and walked into Base Camp in the early afternoon. Nima Tashi and the other Sherpas have been busy up here moving in. In particular, there’s been beautiful work that was done over the last days on the rock wall for our kitchen area and our dining area. It’s hard to describe I’ll send photographs.
The Sherpas told me that from the very beginning this year that the moraine, the glacier, had moved and broken up a surprising amount in the short weeks since the teams left in May. I was really struck by that as I walked into Base Camp today. There is virtually no sign of all the tent platforms from the 24 teams they were erased. And the guys we’ve had up here recently have had to level and rebuild a complete new camp.
As I’ve been saying for years, the last time I walked into a new or non-occupied Base Camp, or visited one after teams had left, and saw any trash was 1992. I know that’s not the perception most people have. But it’s still true there’s no trash at Everest Base Camp.
One notable exception this year, however, is that Russian helicopter that many of you know crashed near the end of the climbing season last May. It’s still here and there are plans to get it cut up and removed eventually. But as you first walk into the lower part of Base Camp, that’s the first thing you see the crashed Russian helicopter.
I would like to send you photographs today but we’re still getting all our equipment unpacked. I’ll have to put that off until tomorrow. For the time being, you’ll just have to know that there are no archived photos from Berg Adventures or from anyone else that really show you what our Base Camp looks like because we are the only ones here.
This afternoon was a very powerful and moving time for all the climbers and the trekkers. Two of the highlights were seeing Nima Tashi and Garry excitedly reunited and talking about getting back on the mountain together, having climbed Ama Dablam together last fall.
And probably the highlight was seeing Maegan reunited with her skis, which had been flown from France of course, and transported via yak all the way to Base Camp. And when she unpacked her skis, she was pleased to see that they are still in excellent condition and it was quite a happy time for her as she got her equipment in order and began preparing for all the adventure we are going to have in the up-coming weeks.
We know we’ll be here living together, the climbers, for at the least the next four to six weeks. It feels like home already. As I mentioned, this is an exceptionally compatible team. And we’re happy to be here, happy to still have the trekkers with us for a few more days.
We’ll report to you and begin to send photographs tomorrow as the pooja happens and we get more moved into Base Camp.