2002 Everest Base Camp Trek Cybercast
Winning Entry in the "Name the Khumbu Dog" Contest: "Prittie Boy"
April 11, 2002, Kathmandu, Nepal
Todd Burleson: "Hello everybody, we are all here in Kathmandu after having arrived this morning from Lukla. We all just had a gigantic meal and many have headed off to sleep. We had great weather coming back and all had a chance to take our first long hot showers after many days in the Khumbu. It was a great trek back and everybody had an incredible time but all are eager to return home to their family and loved ones. I'm headed back to Alaska to kick off our school and Denali season. If you want to follow Willi and our climbing team, stay tuned at the MountainZone.com for our 2002 Everest Climb Cybercast. Goodbye everyone and thanks for following us on the Alpine Ascents Spring 2002 Everest Base Camp Trek."
April 9, 2002, Namche, Nepal
We had long hike down from Pheriche. It was raining much of the way, but we all settled down for a great dinner back in Namche. We will have another day here for shopping and relaxing before heading to Lukla for the flight back to Katmandu.
We will give you a final cybercast from Lukla or Kathmandu.
Best to all,
April 8, 2002, Pheriche, Nepal
Well good morning from the Khumbu. This is Willi Prittie reporting from Pheriche at 14,041 feet. And believe me that 3,000 foot descent did very well for everyone's sleep last night. Everybody's recovering nicely with the increasing oxygen pressure, increasing humidity, and increasing warmth also down here. A very very sound night's sleep for most everybody in the party. This is kind of a bittersweet day for me because we actually meet Todd and Ruth, and they will take over the trek while I transfer over to lead the Mt. Everest climbing team this season. So I'm excited to actually continue on to that challenge, but at the same time it's always a sad thing to part from many newly made friends that we've spent so much time and gone through very intense experiences the last couple of weeks in the Khumbu.
At any rate this will be the last report from me for the Base Camp Trek, the cybercast will continue, done by Todd and Ruth until the trek is over, and I'm sure there will be more adventures and misadventures to come, so stay tuned for that. Also feel free to check out MountainZone.com for the exploits of our Mt. Everest expedition in this the 2002 Spring season. So from the Khumbu for the trek season, in the spring, that's all from Willi Prittie.
April 7, 2002, Gorak Shep, Nepal
Top of the morning to everybody out there in cyberland from Gorak Shep in the Khumbu. Well we've managed to survive our final night here at high altitude, almost 17,000 feet. There are a few coughs going around and other things. I tried to convince them all that increasing air pressure as we go down will make everything better, but I'm not quite sure if they believe me at this point.
At any rate we had a quite long day yesterday, going into Everest Base Camp, for a few hours, we actually saw Base Camp, and we hung out for a while there and we were treated to some Sherpa hospitality at our Base Camp that is set up for our 2002 Everest Expedition. And then the long trip back. Again we were really blessed with perfect weather, absolutely stunning views going in there, and I think Base Camp was a surprise for a lot of people too, there are some people who discovered that yes, you are walking on thinly covered ice at times, and ice does get slippery. I think it was also a surprise for a lot of people to realize that it's nothing but a huge jumble of boulders rocks and sand up there. It's a very inhospitable looking place, and I think coming back to Gorak Shep made this place look much more desirable than Base Camp. A very challenging walk for most everybody, including yours truly who was having a few problems in his own right yesterday.
In any case we're actually heading out today and we'll be spending tonight in Pheriche, and that means a 3,000 foot descent for a lot thicker air down there, and I think everybody's going to be feeling that, and an increase in temperature, so we won't be huddled up in down jackets and everything quite so much as we were. In any case once again, we enjoyed absolutely perfect weather, it's been a great trip, great people and we will be continuing to bring you updates on our adventures.
April 5, 2002, Gorak Shep, Nepal
Greetings once again from the Khumbu, this time from just about 17,000 feet. All party members made it to out high camp here today. This afternoon, most people actually hiked up to Kala Pattar and we were blessed with absolutely beautiful weather today again. Superb views from the top.
Very tired people coming back, it involves fair amount of elevation gain, being that Kala Pattar is at about 18.2 18.4, depending on who's map you believe. At any rate we're heading down and looking forward to hitting Base Camp tomorrow and checking it out and seeing what it's like. We were actually able to see the tents at Base Camp from the top of Kala Pattar, so that was an interesting taste of what we're going to see tomorrow. Talk to you then.
April 5, 2002, Lobuche, Nepal
Greetings to all from the Khumbu yet again. We didn't do a cybercast last night because we couldn't get a satellite lock in the little valley where we were spending the night at the Italian Research center. So, to catch up on you this morning, we actually had a very, I think, well-deserved weather change yesterday, the wind shifted 180 degrees and there was very little cloud build up, so on our long trip between Dingboche and Lobuche, we had nearly perfect visibility conditions. Couldn't have happened at a better time, given the scenery that we're in in this part of the Khumbu now. Pretty much 360 degree views of the giant snow mountains of the Himalayas every place we look. everybody's is of course taking every opportunity to snap lots of photos for this as well they should
As I said it was a long trip here to Lobuche, here at the Italian Research Center yesterday, There was some pretty tired people, that said, everybody did very well in my judgment. Even a lot of the snuffly noses and minor intestinal ailments and whatnot, we seem to be licking all those as well. But today we're looking into actually getting to our highest camp on the trek, which would be at Gorak Shep at just a squeak under 17,000 feet.
16,000 feet last night was a bit of a challenge for sleeping, we did get a lot of rest. most people probably didn't sleep to well due to the combined effects of altitude and something that can happen to your breathing, called Cheyne-Stokes respiration, that actually creates an irregular breathing pattern because of blood chemistry changes, so you go back and forth between not breathing and gasping and it greatly interferes with sleep. So that's a very normal aspect of going up to altitude everybody goes through it in one way shape or form. I do however have to mention that member Dennis, gets a special award for doing Cheyne-Stokes snoring overnight. Now that's a particular honor for him, I don't know about the rest of us.
In any case today we're enjoying another absolutely perfect day here in the Khumbu. All the mountains around us are on a ridge at about 16,500 feet or so, above the Italian Research Center and everything is clearing so we can literally reach out and touch them this morning. So we're psyched, really looking forward to gain high camp and maybe if we have clear weather this afternoon, hiking up to the hill of Kala Pattar for our great viewpoint of Everest. So we'll keep you all posted and all family members and friends here are certainly missing those loved ones at home but having a great time here anyway. So that's all until later.
April 3, 2002, Dingboche, Nepal
Greetings once again from Dingboche in the Khumbu. Today was a rest and acclimation day so we're spending a second night here in Dingboche at about 14,300 feet elevation. We walked up towards a little village near the base of Island Peak also know as Imja Tse. Most of the group came to slightly over 15,000 feet in elevation, which should greatly enhance our acclimation tomorrow. The weather still continues in the same pattern we have seen the entire time up here pretty much: very clear mornings, with quickly building clouds, and very cloudy afternoons, and snowfall in the afternoon and then clearing at night again.
So it looks like we're going to have to work around this kind of weather condition and try to time our walk up to Kala Pattar so we get there probably in the morning instead of the afternoon, so we have a fighting chance for clear conditions. At any rate, everyone is doing very well. There's the usual assorted minor intestinal upsets and snuffly noses that you always seem to get whenever you are in Asia here, but people are getting over them either on their own or with a little help from modern pharmacology. In general I think everybody's got a pretty good shot at doing base Camp and also Kala Pattar, but we will see.
So tomorrow we actually do pull out of Dingboche, and we're going to take a high level trail which is a very very pretty traverse and begin our climb to Lobuche, which will be the first time we press 16,000 feet here on this trip. So we're all looking forward to that, although with a little trepidation because of the newness of everything and the altitude but I think everything will go well and we'll check in all from Lobuche of course tomorrow.
We've had some this afternoon, in particular, but also yesterday, some rather vicious rounds of Hearts, Cribbage and Chess. Now the jury's still out on all that, it's been mixed reviews and coming and going in terms of who's champion. The one thing that I can unequivocally say however, is that Harris and Clara seem to be dueling it out for who's the Hearts champion and yours truly is putting in a very distant third performance. Mind you I must say that I am saying this under total and complete duress.
I've got a couple of quick messages here: A message from Ricky to Rivers: "Have a safe trip to China, I will see you when you get back." And also a message from Harris/Ricky to the Grove group: "We will be at base Camp when Eli's coming. Hotty Toddy." So that's all from Dingboche, on this beautiful clear and very cold evening at 14,3400 feet and we'll talk to you soon morning.
April 2, 2002, Dingboche, Nepal
Greetings from all of us in the Khumbu, at 14,300 feet. Well, you guys probably already figured out by now that the April Fool's cybercast was only for you April Fools out there. So what we really did that day, is we walked from Kunde to Deboche and we had a very very beautiful morning with very impressive snow-covered mountains, that's going to be sounding very stereotypical because we're getting that pretty much daily at this point. But it really was a very beautiful walk.
We managed to survive, with a little bit of camel groaning amongst some members, the steep climb up to Tengboche, from where we had our lunch and then we spent a little bit of time visiting the monastery grounds at Tengboche. The monastery now has a new visitor's center which has some interesting displays in it, and also they have a video informational program that runs every half an hour. So they're getting a little higher tech there than in previous years. Anyway we all enjoyed that, and then hightailed it down to camp in Deboche because it was snowing.
Today's leg actually again started out clear, and we were fortunate enough to get some views of Everest on and off behind some early morning clouds, and as we hiked during the day, we had a very comfortable hike, but a very large lenticular cloud was forming over the Everest Massif. So it will be very interesting, what kind of weather we get tomorrow. But the end result is it doesn't really matter because we have a rest day tomorrow here in Dingboche, so we'll just go with it whatever happens.
We have a couple of things we need to catch up on, here. Number one is there was a little oral surgery attempted a few days ago, and one of our members, Harris, actually had a tooth that had a root canal break on him. So it was determined after the oral surgery procedure was finished by yours truly, (the guy who isn't actually a very good dentist) that Harris's real dentist over the phone told him "That's okay, go enjoy it and we'll deal with it when you get home."
The other things is, we have a request for all of you out there in cyber land: please email the Alpine Ascents office and tell Gordon what we should name our mascot stray dog that has taken up with us. [The winning name is Prittie Boy] That's all from the Khumbu for this day.
April 1, 2002, Somewhere in the Khumbu
Somewhere in the Rhododendron Forests above Tengboche in the Khumbu, they cast fast they came furious and they came with intent. An entire tribe of Yetis Swept out of the forest, captured the trekking group and made off with them. Luckily, I made it away with my life. Status unknown, but I do have all of their gear. Note to office: please send email address for eBay so I can sell all of this stuff...
March 31, 2002, Kunde, Nepal
Greetings to all from about 12,500 feet in the Khumbu from all on the Alpine Ascents Mount Everest base Camp Trek. We had a very good day today, the high point of today was definitely the visit to the Thame monastery after overnighting in the small village of Thame. We went up early morning with spectacular mountain views all around, and had an audience with the Rinpoche of the monastery himself. A Rinpoche is a high lama, (A lama being like a priest) who Buddhists believe is a reincarnation of previous lamas, and he is usually a head of an important monastery. In the Khumbu region of Nepal here, there are actually two monasteries of most importance, One in Thame and one in Tengboche. So it was a very big high point for everybody to have a personal audience with this Rinpoche and we were all presented Khatas by the Rinpoche, which is a type of scarf that is made of silk and is blessed and presented to a person in the interests of providing them with safe journeys safe travels, that sort of thing. And also we were presented with Frungis (sic) which is similar to a little red cord that a Rinpoche or lama will tie around your neck, and that's also pretty much the same purpose that the Khatas were, and so this was a very high point of the trip. Myself, I was actually presented with some very strong blessed rice, that I was instructed to take up the mountain with me when I go on my summit climb after the base Camp Trek.
So we all greatly enjoyed that, definitely a look into some of the Buddhist religion itself and seeing the beautifully decorated inside of the monastery and all. We then proceeded to retrace our steps back to Namche, and then cut off just short of Namche on a very pretty forest trail and stopped off in Kunde, where I am calling you from tonight.
We also had a little tooth episode. One of the members here, Harris, broke a tooth that had a root canal done a few years back. We attempted unsuccessfully to super glue the tooth back together. I guess yours truly is not as good of a dentist as could be perhaps as someone officially trained. In any case, Harris actually retraced his steps with Tenji, one of our Sherpas, down to Namche and had them look at it at the Dental Clinic and the end result of it all was they told him, "Go on up and enjoy, it will probably fall out, and so what."
So that's the status, everybody's in good spirits, we have a few little minor stomach upsets and a few snuffly noses, which is kind of normal as you're traveling in Asia, but all in all I think we are doing much better than average and we are all definitely enjoying ourselves. Looking forward to trek tomorrow, we will be hiking through some pretty forests and also end up at the very famous monastery at Tengboche. So that be all from Kunde in the Khumbu.
March 30, 2002, Thame, Nepal
Good evening and greetings from Thame. We had a very good walk today, getting up valley towards the historic Nangpa-La Pass, so we were able to walk part of the route that has for centuries been a trade route with yak caravans between Tibet and India. We started out with beautiful spectacular weather this morning. Things cleared off last night, so we were treated to gorgeous mountain views with kind of a nice dusting of fresh snow on top of everything, it was a very beautiful morning. Part way through the morning things clouded up as per normal now, and we finished the day out in light snow getting to Thame.
Everybody's doing very well the acclimation is definitely kicking in, we're at about 12,500 feet here roughly and everybody is feeling even much better than they were at 11,300 feet the first day at Namche Bazaar. So we're laying a very good groundwork of acclimation here today and the next few days before we actually start up the towards Everest Base Camp and climbing the hill up to Kala Pattar. We really look forward to tomorrow, being able to go up and have an audience with the Rinpoche at the Thame monastery, just above Thame. This is a little off the beaten track fro most parties, it's a bit unusual that people actually visit here, so that's going to be a real high point of the trip for me, and certainly for I think most of the other people as well.
I have note here also, quick message today, from Brett & Heather they send their love to Francis, there will be some editorial comment on that one tomorrow. Also I have to say that we're going to have to do a better job of screening some of these people. I've been getting lots of complaints about bad jokes, bad puns and everything else, and I just don't know where all this is coming from, but we'll have to get back on that one later too. So for now this is the Alpine Ascents Trekking group, enjoying ourselves much more than possible at Thame.
March 29, 2002, Namche Bazaar, Nepal
Greetings again from Namche Bazaar, Willi Prittie reporting again for the Everest Base Camp Trek. We spent the day today here in Namche Bazaar today, acclimating, that is adjusting to the increasing altitude as we go up deeper into the Khumbu. Today we went up and visited as a group, the Sherpa museum which is a cultural exhibit here at the top of Namche, which is a very interesting view into traditional Sherpa life. And after that we were planning on visiting the Sagarmatha National Park visitor's center, but we found that it's actually been taken over by the army with their increased presence here in Namche Bazaar. Whatever problems might exist elsewhere in Nepal, things actually are very peaceful and pretty much normal here in the Khumbu. The only real exception to that is just a few less people perhaps than the normal trekking this time of year because other parts of Nepal have been getting a lot of bad publicity.
Also, Clara Diane and Alison visited the Tsiri Himalaya Primary School here in Namche Bazaar today. This is a school that some previous people on treks in previous years had actually sent supplies to to help things out and those have actually gotten here in the past and Clara actually was very generous in purchasing a number of notebooks and pens and pencils to equip 70 students there at the school. Diane also contributed numerous toys for them. The headmaster was actually very thrilled to get all of this, they work with very very limited budgets here, so it was a great boon to them and they were very pleased with this.
We actually had a visit today here in Namche as well. We were visited by Pasang Lhamu and Pasang Phuti. Pasang Lhamu is the newest student that is going to be supported by the Alpine Ascents Foundation. This is a Foundation to promote Sherpa education amongst children, who have had one or both parents who have died. Pasang Lhamu, is the daughter of Gyaltsen who has actually worked for us on many Everest expeditions, but about a year or so ago, succumbed to a sudden heart attack. So it's going to be be very good to be a part of her education and the betterment of her entire family by getting her enrolled in boarding school in Kathmandu. It was a real high point to visit Pasang Lhamu, and especially so, being as Alison and Bill are being her sponsors. So it was a very high point for them to meet the little girl that they will be sponsoring for her education and realize that they will be making a real positive difference in her life.
It was a good day to have a rest day here in Namche Bazaar. We had heavy cloud cover all day, and it actually ended up snowing from about noon, continuously throughout the afternoon and it's early evening here, it's just let up a little bit at this point, so we're hoping that it's got that out of it's system and we'll maybe look for some good views here tomorrow. It's been very cloudy with a lot of precipitation here the last few days especially all day today.
As an end note I have a quick message: "Namaste, this is Carroll from Colorado. To all my family and friends who are following along, just want you to know that I am safe, having a fantastic experience and I'll see you soon." And I think that those sentiments are shared by all, everyone is having a great time here. And all family and friends who are watching as well, I would definitely assure everyone, that once again despite what you have been hearing in the news about problems in Nepal, that definitely does not apply to this part of Nepal at all. So that's the wrap-up for tonight, Willi Prittie reporting and we'll talk to you tomorrow.
March 29, 2002, Namche Bazaar, Nepal
Batta Namche Bazaar Namaste! Greetings from Namche Bazaar! We had a really good day yesterday, I'm calling from early in the morning. It's a very cloudy and misty here today in Namche, and we're suspecting it's going to be snowing a good part of the day. Yesterday however we had a very beautiful morning to start out, we actually hiked through the last of the lowland farms and the valley down where Lukla is. A very very beautiful walk in the sun early morning. We were able to enjoy a lot of impressive high suspension bridges in that lower valley, that was a little pucker factor for some people in our party. These bridges are cable suspension bridges, foot bridges for foot traffic and pack animals and they tend to span 250-300 yards and be from one to four hundred feet above the river below. Of course there is a latticework of steel that you're walking on so you can actually look down every step that you are taking, so one can imagine the high pucker factor this creates sometimes. The valley was soon behind and we spent a great deal of time walking through really pretty Himalayan Forests, and the infamous long hill up to Namche Bazaar here from the lower valley.
It's been very beautiful in terms of this being spring. Many of the Rhododendron trees are in full blossom, and they are in fact full trees here, often times eight or ten inches in diameter at the base and up to thirty feet high, Also many other trees are in full blossom here, and many other wildflowers starting to bloom. So that part has been very very pretty. We've just been getting tantalizing glimpses of mountains here and in the lower valley and like I say up here it's been very cloudy up here so no views at all here, they'll be suddenly and spectacularly revealed when it clears, and I believe everyone will be quite impressed.
yaks are not so much used down in the lower valley but they use a cross-breed between yak and cattle called dzo. They still have big horns and they have wide loads and one needs to be a bit careful on some of the narrow sections of steep trail that you don't meet a pack animal at the wrong time. Some of these sections of trail may be only a meter or three feet wide and there may be one to several hundred feet drop on one side. So that's always an interesting thing hiking the trails here in the Khumbu region.
The weather slowly clouded up yesterday afternoon and we actually made the Panorama lodge, overlooking Namche Bazaar here where we are staying, just before it started to snow here in Namche, so our timing was really good yesterday. Today we are actually going to be here in Namche, just enjoying the sounds and the sights, checking out the markets, there's a couple of interesting museums and places to visit here, so we'll be spending our time doing that and also acclimatizing. In closing, I do have one message: Ricky wishes Rivers a happy birthday from Namche Bazaar. So that's all from Nepal for now and we'll give you continuing updates and thing unfold in this very beautiful exotic part of the world for us.
March 28, 2002, Phakding, Nepal
Hello and greetings from the Khumbu again. This is Willi Prittie reporting for the Everest base Camp Trek. We are starting out on our on the second day at Phakding after doing the first leg from Lukla down here yesterday. We had a beautiful sunny day's walk through very scenic Sherpa Villages here in the lower river valley region and got camp set just in time for thunder showers to come through, but that was okay we were nice and comfortable and out of the weather when it came through.
Just want to do a quick message to Ritesh Patel's family. he said he would like them to know that due to his Hindu heritage he actually was able to get into Pashupatineth in Kathmandu and it was a real high point of the trip for him.
So this morning we have a spectacular day with a little dusting of fresh snow here in the mountains, it's going to be very nice and sunny again and we're looking forward to enjoying more of the same of the very scenic Sherpa villages and beautiful fresh green agricultural plots that are coming up in this early Spring in the Khumbu. So that's all for now.
March 27, 2002, Lukla, Nepal
Willi Prittie: Greetings from the 2002 Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek. Everybody got to Kathmandu with all luggage intact, so that was good, and spent a couple of nights in Kathmandu, mainly getting over jet lag, so we're all really psyched, excited and set to go. Yesterday we visited three very famous temples in Kathmandu, Bodnath and Swyambonath, both very ancient Buddhist sites, and also Pashupatineth, which is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. Saw a few of the sights in some of the cities and pretty much got packed and ready to go and this morning, we actually got out of Kathmandu just fine. There was some question whether wind would cancel the flights and we had a very bumpy ride over the mountains to get here, it was definitely worth the price of a carnival ride, but we're all here safe and sound, all the luggage is here safe and sound and everybody is set to go.
Just to introduce the team we have: Dennis Comfort, Harris Powers, Ritesh Patel, Dan "Chebanse" Crone, Diane Crone, David Kahan, Clara Marks, Heather Leal, Brett Schuman, Carroll Mai, Roger Skemp, Alison Gardner Shelby and Bill Shelby in addition to Ellie and myself leading the trek in.
So like I say we're all psyched to be in Lukla, we're actually breakfasting because we got a very early morning flight out of Kathmandu given the climactic conditions. A couple of quick things: Heather would like to say happy birthday and hello to her mother. And also Clara Marks asks of Ron Marks: she's decided she's going to go for the summit, so please send the rest of the summit climb money in so that she can get on the summit team. (Just kidding).
Anyway we're psyched to be here, we'll be doing daily updates, and we're starting our walk actually in the magical Khumbu region of Nepal here this morning and we'll be talking to everybody soon.