Friday, April 25, 2014
Life in Lobuche at 16,000 feet
After our last report, we waived goodbye to the monks at the Tengboche Monastery and headed upwards with our kata scarfs in our backpacks and special blessings from the Lama in our souls. Our destination was the quaint Sherpa village of Dingboche at 14,250 feet. After apprx. six hours of hiking our team arrived at the Snow Lion Lodge in varied degrees of exhaustion and relief that the following day would be a rest and acclimatization day. Denise and I greeted Mingma (the proprietor of the lodge) with an enthusiastic and warm hug that was reciprocated with an equal amount of excitement on her part. It had been four years since we last saw Mingma and spent Mother's Day with her in Dingboche as our "stand-in" mom during our two months away from home. So needless to say she took extra special care of our team during our two day stay, which included needed showers for most of us.
As we got settled in at the Snow Lion we learned of some concerning news about one of the guests. Apparently a Czech trekker went out for a day hike by himself four days prior and never returned. He left all of his belongings behind including his stove, sleeping bag, phone, and wallet with identification and money. By the time we arrived the Nepalese government and park officials organized search parties and were going through his backpack and personal items looking for clues to his possible whereabouts and family contact information.
Our second night at Dingboche included a storm that left several inches of fresh snow, transforming the landscape with a beautiful blanket of white illuminated by the sunlight of clear skies in the morning.
In other local news we learned that the Prime Minister of Nepal flew to Base Camp by helicopter for a big meeting yesterday. He was discussing with expedition leaders and head Sherpas the current situation on the mountain post avalanche and the debate to resume climbing or not. We're not sure what the media back home may or may not be reporting about this, but we just learned that climbing from Nepal is officially over for the season. We suspected this was going to be the case as we have certainly seen plenty of climbers and expedition gear heading down the trail from Base Camp as we are heading up. All of our team is doing well, John and Mark are reaching new personal high altitudes each day, and we are all very excited for our hike to Base Camp tomorrow morning. We have a special treat for our team that we will share with you next time we are able....