Island Peak & Everest Base Camp Cybercast

10/28/09
We have just concluded our final dinner celebration where we enjoyed another amazing meal together at t tradional Nepal restaurant.   The food just kept on coming and each courswe was accompanied by a dance with different music and customs from accross Nepal. 

I would like to give a special congratulations to the members of this trip for making this one to remember forever with great memories and friendships.  Joan and Harry, John, Shawn, Boddy and of course John and Kate (We miss ya!) have smiled and endured even though there were a few challenges of the Khumbu!  You have influenced and been influences in a positive way!

Thanks to all our listeners too!  We are on our way home tomorrow!  This is our final cybercast, until the next big adventure!  Namaste!

Winslow Passey


The Yeti


Wonderful Dinner Celebration


Peacock


Cultural Dance at the Nepali Chulo

10/27/09
We finally made it back to Kathmandu after waiting all day at the airport in Lukla.  Our plane was turned around due to wind, and was not able to return until around 4pm back to Lukla.  Just when it was looking like we were going to have to stay another night the planes came in.  We are all enjoyed the hot shower at the Yak and Yeti, as well as the delicious buffet.  We are looking forward to a good nights sleep and a fun filled day of shopping, climbing on the rock wall, and a farewell dinner together tomorrow!

Namaste!

10/25/09
We journey back to Namche today stopping at the bakery in Tengboche where we enjoyed chocolate cake and beautiful views.  We were entertained watching a horse drink from someones coffee mug, and then open the door to the bakery with his nose.  Upon leaving Harry spotted a large ice fall avalanche just as it broke off on Kantega which then created a massive plume of snow billowing into the air.  Everyone felt strong climbing the up and down hills at the lower altitudes.  The shower in Namche was coveted and the group could not stop talking about how good it felt.  We have one more long day of hiking to reach Lukla tomorrow!

10/24/09
Greetings from Kathmandu,
Jon and Kate, or otherwise known as Pasangs Pair, sending our final cybercast. The flight from Lukla was uneventful and rather quick. We arrived in Kathmandu shortly after 9am and spent the rest of the day shopping with Pasang. We shared a final meal at the Everest Steak House and thoroughly enjoyed the feast.

Today Pasang took us to Patan Durbar Square where we toured and learned more of the storied history of Kathmandu. Tomorrow we begin our journey back to the states and we would like to thank all those who supported us in our dream and those that made this possible. Without all of you this would not have become reality. We look forward to hearing the stories of Island Peak and the happenings with the remainder of our posse in the near future. Have a great day and Namaste!

10/24/09
The first thing Winslow had to deal with was insurrection by the Posse, which objected to a 6 AM breakfast, even though most had turned in by 7 PM the night before.  Having compromised on 6:30 AM, we enjoyed omlets and rice pudding, and a game of hacky sack before leaving Imja Tse base camp on our three day descent to Lukla.  (Twenty minutes of hacky sack has become a tradition before hitting the trail).  Day after comments about the climb included "it was the hardest thing I have ever done", and "Island Peak seems more achievable now".

Retracing our steps to Dingboche to pick up gear stashed there after our trek, we enjoyed sweeping views of the Imja Khola valley in thicker air, and stopped at open fields to play a little football.  Attempts to play on the trail met with limited success because of the dangerously uneven footing.  After lunch at Dingboche, which included a sampling of Seabuckthorn juice, we struck out for Pangboche, where everyone toyed with the idea of a hot shower, but elected to put it off another day - after a reaching a certain level of grime, a little more seems not to matter.  We wrapped up the day with an abbreviated game of Phase 10 and some Pigs.  More later......


Tengboche Monastery


Returning to Namche


Kantenga and Thamserku


Group on the Summit!


Shawn and John on the Summit Ridge


John at the top of the Fixed Line


Group just reaching the Glacier at 19,000 feet


Bobby With Island Peak Behind

10/23/09
Namaste, this is Winslow with Passang's Posse. We made it to the summit! Island Peak 20,300 feet. We had a great breakfast of pancakes and eggs this morning and got to hiking by 3am. The night sky was unreal and we enjoyed seeing shooting stars. We also saw the Orion constellation, unseen at earlier times in the evening from here. Around 5:30 we were blessed with a beautiful sunrise over Kantenga and Ama Dablam. It's a bout a 4-hour hike/scramble to the glacier, which some of the members were glad to do in the dark as it seemed less exposed at that time in the morning and on the way down. The approach to the headwall had an uncharacteristically steep and icy section that was exciting, as well as a 3-foot step across a pretty deep crevasse. (Transmission break) the team ascending the headwall tody, the fixed line section that's about 45 degrees and 400 feet long and being intimidated by it but overcoming the challenge.

Also looking down the impressive summit ridge was the highlight of the day. In the only available rest spot on the ridge, we stopped and waited for half an hour or so for other teams to descend so we could have the small summit to ourselves. It was a pretty windy day up there, sometimes testing our patience. John commented that it was one of the greatest accomplishments of his life, everyone was elated. Tomorrow we begin our three day descent back to Lukla, Namaste.

10/22/09
Hi this is Winslow with Passang's Posse. We had another leisurely day today, we headed from Chukkung up to Island Peak Base Camp. Started the morning with a little hacky sack and stretching before we started our hike. Played some games along the trail, got to the base camp at about 1 or so int he afternoon. Had a great lunch. Norbu brought his kite up, so we spent some time flying the kite. We also walked up above camp a little bit to get a good look at the Imja-Tse Lake, which is a very long lake, sandwiched between the mountains. The top of the lake has a glacier icefall that feeds into it, all very beautiful, lots of Himalayan snow cocks up here. We also met soemone from Bhutan who has a remote control boat that measures temperature, and he is going to take that down to the lake and make a temperature graph of the lake to detect the warming patterns.

Now we are all packed and ready to go to the summit and are heading to bed. We are going to get up at 1:30 in the morning and head up to the summit. So we will call tomorrow when we get down and let you know how the journey goes, we are very excited and looking forward to the trip. Thanks, Namaste.

10/21/09
Namaste, this is Winslow with Passang's Posse. We had a lovely day today, we moved from Dinboche up to Chukkung, it was a leisurely stroll up a beautiful valley, speckled with red bushes all over and a beautiful stream running through it. We took a couple of naps along the way and just enjoyed our day. The afternoon was spent practicing and reviewing crevasse rescue and we really enjoyed that. Tomorrow we're going to move up to Island Peak Base Camp, where we will go to bed early and willb e getting up at about 2 in the morning and heading to the summit at aobut 3. It will probably be about a 12 hour journey, looking forward to it and doing pretty well. Its a beautiful starry night up here in the Himalayas. Thanks for tuning in, Namaste.

10/20/09
Greetings from Namche! Passang's Pair, Jon and Kate, the lone trekkers here. We parted ways with our new friends yesterday as they head towards Island Peak and we make our way back to Lukla. It was an exciting yet long trek from Dengboche to Namche as we descended roughly 3,000 feet. We arrived in Namche around 4:30 p.m. and shared a feast of yak steak, mashed potatoes, boiled vegetables, and apple pie. Today we are heading to Phakding then on to Lukla tomorrow. We would like to wish our friends good weather and success on Island Peak and we're sure our trails will cross again someday. We'll update you again from Kathmandu. Namaste!

10/19/09

Pasang's Posse

Namaste! 

We have descended today from Gorak Shep to Dingboche!  It was absolutely gorgeous hiking down and seeing the views from the other direction.  We stopped at the Italian Research Center which is a glass pyramid reflecting Lobuche Peak behind.  It was clear and windy today as we traversed the high plateau absorbing all the Himalayan granduer.  We will enjoy one more night all together celebrating before Kate and Jon descend and the climbers head up to the town of Chukkung.  We are definitely sad to say goodbye to them.  They will head down to Namche tomorrow with Pasang.  We will have a short hike and then review skills for our climb.  We have had amazing weather so far, so we hope it holds up!  Lots of Love to our friends and family!

Winslow


Summit of Kala Pattar with Everest in the Background.


Jon Giving our Friend Kala Some Love.


Himalayan Thar


Everest Base Camp, Pumori in the Background


The group at the Khumbu Ice Fall


Everest at Sunset


Group at the Climber's Memorial

10/16/09
Namaste from Passang's Posse. Well day 9, we hiked from Pheriche to Lobuche today. We're at a bout 16,000 feet here. We're getting higher and it's getting colder. The yaks have frost on their backs this morning. Winslow warmed us up with our daily workout, push ups, abs and yoga before breakfast. Another beautiful day on the trial. We keep thinking "it just doesn't get any better than this" and yet it does get better. The views keep getting more spectacular the higher we go. We wnjoyed lunch in Duggla and acended up the hill to the Climber's Memorial, where we had a nice little nap and enjoyed throwing the football with some Sherpa. The Climber's Memorial was a very moving experience for us all. Tomorrow Gorak Shep and our ascent of Kala Pattar, 18.200 fee. if the weather is good. We are all feeling well and ready as the incredible journey continues. Thanks to Bobby for preparing the cybercast today Namaste.

10/15/09
Greetings from Passang's Posse up at Pheriche, 13,900 feet. We had an easy acclimatization day today, sleeping in until 7. Morning workout crew enjoyed some push ups and sit ups in the sun room this morning followed by a breakfast of french toast and eggs, then we went for a day hike where we had sweeping views above Pheriche, of the Lobuche Valley, Cholatse, Island Peak and snow blowing off the roof of Lhotse Ridge. We stopped at a warm, sunny uninhabited hermitage, to enjoy a restful acclimatization break. Winslow, Harry and Chicago John did a little bouldering while the rest of us had a snickers bar, then finished the hike at 15,800 feet and tried running down the hill to Pheriche. After a hot lunch and some kite flying, we attended a lecture on acute mountain sickness, where Winslow volunteered to try out the Gamov Bag.

After dinner it was more cards, Phase 10 and Pass the Pig. We're getting killed by Passang and Ang Norbu, probably because they got extra blessings from Lama Geche. Hello to all of our loved ones and more to come. We want to thank John for preparing the cybercast this evening and would like to say happy birthday to Brett, from Winslow, Namaste.

10/14/09
Hello and Namaste from Pheriche, it's Sean writing today's cybercast, with team Passang's Posse. Today we awoke in Deboche to a bluebird day and Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Everest waiting. Big John nearly froze to death in the sunrise over these amazing peaks. Still hard to believe we are actually here.

After a great meal of eggs and toast, we started our journey to Pheriche. Our first stop was a Deboche nunnery for female Buddhist monks. We sat with and were treated to the meditative chants of three of the nuns. Words cannot describe how special it is to be in the Khumbu and surrounded by such peaceful and kind people. After our morning meditation, provided by the nuns, we hiked with our jaws dragging on the ground in awe of the beauty of the 'mother jewel' Ama Dablam. Just when we thought the day couldn't get any more special, westopped at the home of hte Lama Geshe, who is very well known to trekkers and climbers. Lama Geshe is a teacher of lamas and an incredible presence. We each brought prayer flags and personal items to be blessed by the lama. Like most things in the Khumbu words cannot describe how special this experience was. The Lama Geshe blessed each person and blessed our journey. We'll be safe from worry as we travel with open hearts and open minds as long as we keep our promise to be kind to man and animals. Wow.

After a great cup of tea with the Lama, we said our goodbyes and left his home and continued up the trail. With uplifted spirits we made our way to Shmarray for a great lunch of rice and potato soup. I provided the soundtrack for today's lunch on Winslow's iPod speakers. Railroad Earth and Zero 7, had us all smiling. We moved towards Pheriche, the clouds moved in, but everyone was laughing and feeling great. We are all settled into Pheriche resort, our home for the next two days. Thankfully, the 'Shiva the Destroyer' stomach bug has left us and everyone is back to 100%. with that I'd like to say a quick hi to Jenny and Finn, love to you both. John and Kate, Bobby and John, Harry and Joan and Winslow say a big hello to friends and loved ones, Namaste.


10/13/09
Today has been a spectacular day!  We started with morning yoga before breakfast, and then visited the Khumjung school with a bit oof morning football with some of the local kids.  We had a lovely picnic beside the Dudh Koshi river and then headed up the 2000 foot hill to the Tengboche Monastery.  Everyone was feeling great today, and we enjoyed basking in the sun when it came out at lunch.  Upon arriving at the Monastery we had a view of Everest framed by the clouds, before it totally disapeared.  We entered the Monastery in time to experience the chanting of Tibetian prayers with the drums, cymbols, and horns.  It was truely moving to listen in person to this beautiful practice.  The Monastery holds a large golden Buddha, and many painting and colorful hanging.  Next we warmed up and enjoyed tea and cake at the highest bakery in the world.  Now folks are enjoying showers at the Rivendale lodge which is one of the nicest in the Khumbu!  We just witness Everest and Lhotse poding out of the clouds with a gorgeous orange glow of the sunset!  It is easy to be happy around here!

Namaste from Pasang's Posse!


Sunset on Everest


Bobbie tries out the local jewelry


The Group at Tengboche Monastery


John Pelz Started this whole experiment as he stole the 12-year
old kid's Dokka

10/12/09
I'd like to thank John Evans for preparing this cybercast. Greetings from Khumjung, (elevation 12,300). Passang's Posse had another fabulous day visiting and trekking. After breakfast we visited the Thame Monastery and recieved blessings from the Rinpoche Lama. After a quick walk down the hill, we visited Passang's family home. Afterwards we visited Lakpa Rita Sherpa's home, an experience we felt very fortunate about. As we left Thame, everyone felt warm and happy. (transmission breaks)

Khumde is a very special village in the Khumbu Valley because the Hillary Hospital is located there.  For those who don't know who the late Sir Edmund Hillary was feel free to do some research.  The doctor at the hospital gave us a full tour.  Once complete we headed to Khumjung to our nights odging!  The evening was filled with card trick and jokes, from Mr. Evans who kept us all entertained!

As always, our sherpas and guide should be thanked for seeing to our needs and the invaluable history lessons.  With that Pasangs' Posse wishes everone well.
Namaste!


Group at Pasang's Parent's house


Joan getting a blessing from the Lama Rinpoche

10/11/09

Pasangs' Posse!

Namaste!

Thanks to Harry for preparing today's cybercast. About half of the posse (at least the Western half) have been visited by Shiva the Destroyer with a little stomach problem. All seem to be responding to antibiotics more or less, but some are more energetic than others on the way up to Thame. Our first stop offered views of the Bode Khosi Valley and the Kusung Kanguru as well as the holy mountain Kumbyila, which is not open to climbing. It is believed that if you don't pay respect to Kumyila that someone in your family could become ill. Continuing NW, high above the Bode Khosi, we pass through many small villages bedecked with colorful prayer flags, and stupas. Above us, our Sherpas were able to spot a couple of Himalayan tarn on the rocks above, just long enough for us to get pictures.

Lunchtime found us in Thamo, where we enjoyed the hospitality of Chawang Nima Sherpa, who told us of his experiences of 17 summits of Everest. Chawang presented each of us with a khata (blessed silk scarf) to bless our journey and keep us safe. Crossing the Bode Khosi Gorge, before we climbed up to Thame, we stopped for pictures of the rock murals of the Green Tara, who symbolizes fertility, Padmassambhava, who is the guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism to Tibet, and Thangdang Gyalpo, the angel who guides you to heaven.

On entering the picturesque village of Thame, we were greeted by Passang's mother, before heading to our accomodations at the sunshine lodge, where we enjoyed pizza, spring rolls and momos for dinner.

Winslow


Everest Poking out of the Clouds


Market in Namche


Group above Namche

10/10/09

Team:   Pasang's Posse!

Namaste (This is the greeting that means seeing the best in each person!)!

We had a great day today!    We then had breakfast (derai metho cha! =very delicious) followed by a nepali word of the day!  These guys and gals are picking it up quickly! 

Greeting from Namche!  Today was an early day for team Pasang's Posse as we took a pre-breakfast hike to catch glimpes of Thamserku, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, and Everest.  First we arose at 6am to hike up and see the views of Ama Dablam, Everest and Lhotse!  Just as we reached the lookout the clouds parted and we were able to soak in our first views of the big one!  Clouds challenged our picture taking , but we got a few shots.

after a fabulous breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and apple pie we took a day hike up to Shangboche ascending to 12,500 feet.  We enjoyed a picnic lunch of Tibetan bread, apples, cheese and a boiled egg.  Pasang tought us how to blow the shell off the egg which was good entertainment.  We relaxed here and soaked up as much of the scentery as we could.

Our journey also took us through the marketplace here in Namche.  The market only runs until about noon and vendors come from below Lukla.  One of the highlights was the Sherpa museum which included traditional Sherpa tools, clothes, equipment and even a prayer room.  Complete with a slideshow and pictorial history we are all better educated about our gracious host.

Just before dinner we did yoga on a nice grassy lawn with about 10 local kids who were so cute and loved the whole thing!  It was really special to share this with them!

With that team Pasangs' Posse is signing off so everyone at home goodbye and Namaste!

Special Thanks to Jon Evans for writing most of todays cybercast!


Kantenga


Joan and Harry Relaxing after lunch


Group Crossing a bridge

10/9/09

 Namaste!

We now have a team name!  We are Pasang's Posse!  Pasang is our sidar (lead Sherpa), and he is bringing us all many smiles.  We are in good hands!  Today we  hiked from Phakding to Namche!  The Namche hill is a gain of about 2000 feet reaching an altitude of 11,300 at the lovely Panarama lodge!  One member says, " It was a swift kick in my teeth!".   
We were interested to read the park rules as we entered the Sagamartha park entrance.  It went something like this:
1. refrain from harming any living being  
2.  refrain from anger  
3. refrain from jealousy
4. refrain from stealing
5.  do good
So we thought these sounded like good park rules! 

Everyone is doing well with little altitude illness, though a few stomach problems have been going around.  It has not slowed anyone down too much.  As we entered town, the market was bustling with many fruits, vegetables, and spices for sale, and we got to squeeze through the busyness of it all.  We had Yak steak, veggies and potatoes for dinner!  We are not feeling like we are roughing it too much! We will spend the day playing in Namche tomorrow! 

Namaste!

Prayers and Flowers aboutnd


Chickens of the Khumbu


Children from the Khumbu

10/8/09
Namaste from Nepal!

We are feeling pretty lucky that we are now in the lovely mountain town of Lukla.  It was raining all morning in Katmandu though we were still planning to fly.  We then sat for a few hours on the runway with a bit of a communication troubles.  Finally we took off through the rain and clouds.  Just before Lukla the clouds lifted and we safely touched ground to a serene landscape all around.  We are now headed to the village of Phakding where we will stay this evening.  Everyone is healthy and happy.  We are looking forward to a great journey through the Himalayas.  It is very lush here with and abundance of trees, waterfalls and prayer flags through the hillsides!  Thanks for following our trip!
Namaste!
Winslow


The Group at Bodnath Monastery


Mandala Thanka Paintings


Monkey eats an offering at Pashupatinath


Priest offering a blessing to the goddess who helps children


The Temples to Shiva

10/7/09
Namaste from  Nepal!

This is Winslow with the Everest Base Camp trek and Island Peak climbing group.   We are all here and enjoying Kathmandu as we prepare to fly into the Khumbu region tomorrow morning.  Today we immersed ourselves into the bustling local culture visiting three of the most fascinating World Heritage sites of the Kathmandu valley.  We first went to the Pashupatinath Hindu temple where the locals go to cremate the dead on the Holy Bagimati river.  As we climbed up the hill, we where able to soak in the beauty of the architecture where temples from the 17th century are called new. All the temples here are created to honer Shiva, the destroyer of evil, who is represented by rows of Shiva ligams on one side of the river.   Each of these has a bull in front as his protector and vehicle (his mode of transportation in the afterlife).  Sahdus, holy men, paint themselves white, with perhaps a few red and yellow stripes, and wear little clothing.  They greatfully offer to be in your picture for a small fee.  Here they are known as tourist Sahdus. 

Next we visited the Buddhist Stupa at Bodnath.  This is the largest stupa in Nepal, and is known for Tibetian Buddhism.  There are many Thanka painting schools here, and we were happy to listen the stories of these amazing paintings.  We saw many students hard at work with the very delicate job of reconstructing these ancient Buddhist designs.  We did a bit of shopping here as they are too captivating to pass up.  

Finally we visited the Swayambunath Buddist stupa perched high above the valley on the hilltop.  It is said that Kathmandu once under water with this stupa floating above the surface, therfore it is known as "self- existing" with no known date of creation.  We hiked 356 steps to the top, in a rather heavy rainfall, to reach a colorfully adorned stupa with pray flags and prayer wheels all around.  In Kathmandu there is a playful mixture of Hindu and Buddhist traditions that is well represented here as there is a Hindu temple right beside the stupa.  We watched a Hindu priest giving offering and prayers to the Hindu goddess here who helps heal sick children.  She is credited with irradicating small pox in this area.  Many monkeys hang out here so it has become known by tourist as the money temple.

It has been raining much of the day, so we are hoping it will clear up for tomorrowso we can partake in the lovely flight to Lukla landing on the short uphill runway perched on the side of the cliff well above the Dudh Kohsi river.  From Lukla, 9000 feet, we will hike downhill to Phakding at 8500 feet, where we will stay in a lodge right on this raging glacier river.  

Everyone is feeling well, though we are still adjusting to the time change.   We look forward to sharing our journey with you!  Keep tuning in!

Namaste!
Winslow

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