A brief update on our last 5 days here at Base Camp at 17,600 feet. It's much easier for us to breathe now than when we first walked into "town". We've spent some time in the lower part of the Khumbu Icefall practicing our ice climbing and rope skills and feel good & ready to tackle the big crevasses and ladders that are already set up through this ice labyrinth!
In the Sherpa culture, an important prerequisite before entering this dangerous place, is to hold a Puja ceremony. This 1/2 day ritual was completed today and consisted of making offerings to Sagamartha (Mt. Everest) Mother Goddess of the Earth, in addition to blessing our entire team's ice axes, crampons, and climbing harnesses. With the Puja now complete we are ready to enter the Khumbu Icefall and climb up to Camp 1 at 20,000 feet. We plan to begin this next major step of our journey on Friday the 23rd, very early in the morning while the icefall is at its coldest and least susceptible to collapses & avalanches. Avalanches are quite frequent here and it is not uncommon to experience four or so during the day like the one pictured here taken from the door of our tent. Our camp is situated a safe distance away from these avalanches although we did get blanketed by a layer of snow from one last night.
Well, that's the latest from Paul & Denise at Base Camp. If you would like a sneak peak of the camps ahead, please visit our website here: http://www.everybodytoeverest.com/Beyond_Base_Camp.html and click on the map for descriptions. Also, since we last left you, our Everybody to Everest Team flew into Lukla on schedule (with their guide Heidi Kloos watching over from the heavens above) and all 23 members are now in Namche Bazaar. If you would like to see their path to Base Camp, their itinerary and separate blog can be found here: http://www.everybodytoeverest.com/About_the_Trek.html