Dear Family & Friends,
In the Himalaya it is customary not to set foot on a mountain until you’ve had your Puja ceremony; this usually involves a blessing from a Lama who is seeking safe passage on the mountain for all members of the expedition.
According to people in the know April 12th was an auspicious date to have our BC Puja and the ceremony began just before 9am.
The altar, Lhaptso, was prepared with photos of the Dalai Lama, ceremonial cloth and objects to be blessed (including our climbing gear, boots, ice-axes etc.). Incense was burning while the Lama chanted the Buddhists scriptures.
A flagpole was placed in the centre of the Lhaptso and 5 long strands of prayer flags tied to it.
At the end of the ceremony rice and flour is thrown in the air as an offering to the Gods (any leftovers are then smeared on our faces….)
Events concluded after a couple of hours with the consumption of offerings; an assortment of biscuits, nuts, chocolate, frozen (& exploding) beer and a healthy measure of whisky!
Feeling confident we thought it prudent to have a quick explore of the Icefall before our planned load carry on the 13th and made it approximately half way before returning to EBC and a late lunch.
The icefall is a maze of ice towers and crevasses that are linked with ropes and ladders for a safe as possible route. It is quite a surreal place but not a place to linger, as you never know when things want to fall over.
In the afternoon we loaded our backpacks with tents, stoves, gas, food and oxygen bottles (approx 25kgs each) – ready for our 3.30am start!
Well it’s fair to say that we both felt rather weary (understatement) at the end of April 13th! It was a bit of a wake up call for what we have ahead of us.
The round trip to C1 @ 6100m took longer than we expected and we were both hungry and dehydrated when we finally staggered back in to EBC after 2pm. We dumped our gear in C1 and caught our first glimpse of the Everest South Col, the Geneva Spur, the Lhotse West Face and Everest South Summit. Didn’t look that far…… Getting through the icefall was tough going, but once we got to C1 and saw the awe inspiring view further up the valley, we were both keen to get those other loads up to C1 and establish our first camp in the Western Cwm.
Anyway, today is a rest day and no doubt Robin will cook up a storm.
We’re both feeling well and have settled in to the rest day @ Base Camp routine without too much trouble; watching movies on the iTouch/iPhone is a great way to pass time in between meals….! We may even decide to have a wash/shower sometime in the not too distant future. (Until then we highly recommend baby wipes)
Matt & Soren