November 11, 2007 The Descent Phase 1
After a typical cold night, we awoke this morning to another incredible morning of brilliant (and warm) sunshine close to the top of our world. After breakfast we headed on down to Pheriche. It took us two days of trekking going up to cover the distance that we accomplished in one day on the way down. Along the way, we took a side trip (another Ang Temba shortcut across big rocks blazing a trail for future generations.) One major advantage of this shortcut was that we were higher on the mountain and had a great view of the glacier as we trekked along.
This side trip took us to the High Altitude Research Laboratory, a joint project between the Italian and Nepalese governments. Among the items they are studying is the movement of the Khumbu glacier. When we arrived, the door was locked, but Ang Temba went to find one of his many friends to come and let us in so that we could look around. There were lots of posters describing their work, but you almost need a degree in Geology to understand the subject matter. While most of us were busy visiting the lab, one member of the team was thoroughly enjoying the indoor, heated, piped in music “facilities”. While most members of the team will remember the scientific aspects of the station, this anonymous team member will forever sing the praises of the Italian latrine builders.
We were treated to a full day of sunshine today as the afternoon clouds did not come until we were safely tucked in the lodge, drinking tea, and watching a team of climbers descend from the peak of Ama Dablam (using binoculars of course). The views were just as spectacular and awe inspiring as they were on the way up.
I thought this evening I would explain a little about our daily night time routine. When we come to dinner, we all bring our two Nalgene water bottles. After dinner, the support staff fills them with boiling water. Then, when we head out to bed, we take our two water bottles with us. The first thing that we do when we arrive in our room is toss them into our sleeping bags. There we roll them around a bit trying to take the chill, the cold, out of the sleeping bag.
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