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Day 6. The Snow Leopard (September 6, 2010)

Current Position
Position Date: 2010-09-07 03:00:03
Position Latitude: 27.8047
Position Longitude: 86.711

Tshering and Ang Rita a.k.a. the Snow Leopard.I'm not saying that I've turned waiting into an art form, but over time, I've definitely refined skills of patience and managing expectations. Realistically here, my serenity is due more to the fact that I don't have another choice. But, after three days in Namche Bazar, it would be very easy to be frustrated and anxious about our situation.

'It is good that it is raining now,' Tshering told me after asking to talk to me about logistics the other day. 'Then, the weather will be good later.'

Catching a flight to Lukla last Thursday seems nothing short of a small miracle. The weather has been so poor that there has not been another flight since. This is fairly problematic as some of our supplies and two team members - Tshering and Nima are still in Kathmandu. It also turns out that the ice fall doctors - a separate group of Sherpas hired by myself and the only other climber on the mountain will not start fixing the Khumbu Ice Fall until they have a special Puja ceremony. To make a long story short, another day in Namche will be more beneficial in the long run.

The positive aspect of the weather is the fact that there are not a lot of tourists around right now. Actually, none. Everyone is stuck in Kathmandu.

I have been having an increasingly weirder and weirder dreams. Last night was I what I took for an anxiety dream, I was climbing Everest but didn't have the right clothes. I shared this with Ujjuwal and Tshering.

'If you dream that you are climbing, then you will have good luck,' Ujjuwal said. 'If you see blood in your dream, then you will soon be receiving some money.'

We had a relaxing morning and then heading down another valley to the village of Thamo. With the clouds lifting slightly, we were able to see a small corner of Ama Dablam. I was once again amazed at the scale of the mountains. I realized my ignorance at guessing the source of the many rivers falling down cliff faces.

In Thamo, we visited a women's Monastery - a beautiful temple perched high above town that was still under construction. The main building was mostly completed as were the colorful carvings and paintings along under awnings and trim. 'These nun's came from Tibet,' Tshering said. The river we had been hiking above all morning also came from Tibet.

There we had a tea with Tshering's great aunt - a tiny wrinkled 79 year old woman. Tshering told me about how he had grown up in this village and pointed to the house where his father was born. Sadly, he did not know his father as he died on an Everest expedition only five months after he was born.

When a nun came by to refill my tea cup, I thought I was being polite by respectfully declining. 'You should have another cup of tea,' Tshering advised. Just as we were about to leave, we were led into a small room to receive a blessing. It was dark but peering inside I could see a nun sitting in one corner surrounded by pictures, paintings, intricate carvings and plates stacked with an odd assortment of what I assumed to be offerings. We took our shoes off and entered, Tshering instructing me on the finer points of the appropriate etiquette and protocol.

'Put your hands like this,' Tshering translated cupping his hands. A nun then poured water into my hands. 'Now take a sip of water, rub it on your eyes and forehead.' Later, Tshering added, 'They will pray for us on Everest.'

On our way back to Namche, Tshering suggested we stop and see a very famous Sherpa who had summited Everest 10 times without supplemental oxygen. 'They call him the Snow Leopard,' Tshering said and smiled.

STP Everest - Day 1: In Lukla

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