This post was meant to highlight our successes of the past few months on Cho Oyu and Mera. However, a recent event has forever marred our happiness in the death of Dendi Sherpa. Early morning on November 3rd, Dendi was guiding a strong Swiss team of three on their summit bid on Ama Dablam. They started from Camp 2 at midnight and had passed Camp 3 by 3am. Shortly after this time, the team was hit by falling ice.
Fortunately another window has opened so the Makalu team are presently climbing to camp 4. Once they get there, they'll rest in preparation for their summit bid starting tonight. It's a bit busy up there with lots of teams also climbing on the same schedule. Go team!
After days of uncertainty and unrest at Everest base camp, the Himalayan Ascent team can finally officially announcement that they're going home. Our guides had already decided to quit the expedition following the loss of our friends and teammates last Friday, but due to the growing movement to demand more protection and rights from the government, we waited it out to support our fellow guides.
With heavy hearts, today we farewell our friend and brother, Ankaji Sherpa. Today his spirits will soar to heights above Everest to a new world I know that will welcome him with love. See you in our next life brother.
Ankaji Sherpa (1978-2014) Loving father of six and Himalayan Ascent Senior Guide When Ankaji participated in the rescue operation for the 2012 Manaslu avalanche, I recall how torn up he was emotionally when he saw the avalanche debris. As I write this, I can't believe this has also become his fate during his 8th Everest expedition and 14th year of guiding. It was Ankaji's decision this year to take the responsibility of head guide rather than client personal guide, even though the position is less lucrative and holds no personal glory. With five Everest summits already under his belt, Ankaji wasn't a guy ever interested in personal glory. He always prioritised safety, particularly client's safety, and the team before his own personal ambitions. Ankaji was on what was meant to be a routine rotation to set up Camp 1 and 2 when the avalanche struck and took him from us. In fact, Ankaji was just being Ankaji at the time of the accident as he accompanied his brother-in-law slowly through the icefall instead of thinking of his own safety.
As we continue to make our preparations for the real climb, we broke out into separate teams yesterday. Margaret, Warren and Chris joined by Carol and Sumit hiked the route behind base camp to Pumori high camp (a stunning 7000m mountain that also stands along the Nepal-Tibet border). It was a slow 2 hr acclimatisation hike to 5500m. Over the next few weeks, the climbers will continue to increase their altitude gain slowly to adapt to the reduced oxygen. If they are to hike that trail again next week, it will take less time and it will feel less difficult as they become more acclimatised. Lakpa accompanied the Canadian team through the icefall to Camp 1, and then returned to base camp. Whilst our guides set off early just after 12am to Camp 1 and then Camp 2 to set up the higher camps. Today is a complete rest day for everyone. We have lots of fun planned for tomorrow.
Our puja or buddhist ceremony was held today under blue skies. We couldn't have asked for a more stunning day. The local lama chanted prayers for 4 hrs, he blessed our equipment presented at the alter, and we finished by throwing tsampa into the air as an offering to the spirits who watch over this land. This ceremony requests protection and success. It's an essential ritual we follow on all major expeditions.
+977 980 840 3862. That's the number you ring to contact us here at base camp. We've set up a regular mobile/cell SIM (ie it's not an expensive satellite line) into a handset antenna for improved reception during bad weather days. Give us a call for a chat! Your regular rates to an international mobile will apply.
The last few days from Pangboche to Dingbouche to Lobuche have been utterly beautiful. Today we have clear blue skies and serene mountains surrounding us as we trek the last few kilometres from Gorak Shep to our new home at Everest base camp. We're excited to say the least....to reunite with friends at camp, settle into our tents and our home away from home, and importantly, to begin our final mental and physical preparations before tackling the first hurdle, the Khumbu ice fall. For now, we're keen to eat some of Rabin's tasty cooking and have a much anticipated wash at camp. Ah the joys of base camp.