Position Date: 2010-09-11 00:20:02
Position Latitude: 27.9488
Position Longitude: 86.8105
The lama book must be right as we have seen a distinct change in the weather. While afternoons are still overcast and misty, stunning blue morning skies fill the gaps between the steep white surrounding peaks. Would I be repeating myself if I said it was breathtaking? I still have yet to actually see Everest, the reason why I am here, due to weather, but it's just a matter of time now.
I have been studying the lines of Ama Dablam for the past few days. It is a beautiful mountain with snow covered slopes. We have long passed the trail to the normal route but I still can't help but look up at the steep face and long ridgelines with both shock and awe. I keep having to remind myself of what a friend and mentor used to say on long bicycle rides, 'the hills always look worse from far away.'
It was with a bit of regret that we left Periche and the hospitality of another of Tshering's friends, but every step forward is a step closer to our goal. The trail to Lobuche was noticeably less maintained and I think I liked it more because of it. We weaved our way around and up eventually passing Thukla which in Sherpa language means 'poison hills.'
'Even the yaks get altitude sickness,' joked Tshering.
We climbed for another hour or so eventually reaching almost 16,000 feet. Here we took a short break and paid our respects to several memorials (more than I care to count) to Everest climbers who had died on the mountain. Scott Fischer. Another American. Tshering's best friend. It was sad to think about how and why these people died. Or so many others who have died because of accidents, politics, money or religion. With the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I couldn't help but wonder about the lessons that need to be learned from these tragedies. We walked on silently for quite some time.
I can feel the pull of base camp now. We are close and depending on the weather (and a Puja ceremony) we might be there tomorrow. The higher up and more desolate the landscape becomes, the more at ease I feel. The big open spaces, huge rocks and glacier scraped terrain tug at something deep inside me which I still have yet to define.
Most impressive from Lobuche was the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. It looked like some giant bulldozer had pushed huge truck-sized rocks down the valley and then stopped suddenly. A sloping wall of rocks clearly defined where the glacier's forward progress had stopped. It is easy to see that the glacier is retreating. The terminus is much farther up the valley.
'It used to be much farther down' remarked Tshering.