The Khumbu ice fall this season is a nasty place (maybe due to the
global warming as well). The time spent in the base camp and on the
mountain proved the hazard of the place to be total. It's not the
seracs are collapsing but they can do so, night or day, regardless the
hour and you can accept this or not and choose to go up or not and
it's as simple as that.
My experience and my instinct told me to postpone the climb, at least
for the moment. And during the long time I spent into the mountains I
have learned to cherrish the things gained due to experience and to
follow my instinct.
I just did not have a good feeling about the ice fall. Could not make
any educated guesses.
Here's a clip recorded by Keith Cowing last Friday and showing a huge
avalanche from the West side of Everest covering a significant part of
the Khumbu icefall (and the route from Base Camp to Camp 1).
one, although big enough to speed up my pulse occurred while I was in
the ice fall descending from Camp 2.
I wished I had a chance this time to go to the top of Everest. And
perhaps the chance was there and maybe I could have done it to the
summit but it would have meant to rely too much on luck (as for my
standards of risk taking) while crossing the ice fall.
Each time I plunge into the thin air above 7500m is actually also
about taking chances. Big chances. Calculated chances. And this is
what keeps me alive and I go up there to live not to die.
I think real adventure means crossing the border and coming back
safely. Adventure without taking responsability for own actions is
madness. Summit at any price is plain stupidity.
Small happy man, big mountain arena.
...happy... you know... I feel a huge drive while thinking that I am doing what I love to do. I AM DOING WHAT I LOVE TO DO. And I think this means a lot. Actually it's truly a luxury. But I simply have no other option than doing what I love and loving what I do. Life's too short for not giving your best and getting involved with things that have no meaning...
These were some of the thoughts passing trough my mind two days ago while trekking from the monastery of Tengboche to the Sherpa village of Dingboche, at 4400m altitude, my next stop for acclimatization in the way to the Everest Base Camp. I was busy all morning speaking on my satellite phone between Tengboche, Lukla and Kathmandu, trying to get all the equipment on the way to BC (Base Camp). Leaving Tengboche in a light snowfall I was making good progress...
...It's not the first time I am writing about the magic power of the encounters, being people or things, encounters that helps you go further, “hitting” you when you need them most. Many times this encounters don't necessary teach you something new but rather are just a reminder of things that you already know but are somehow forgotten. They just need a trigger to get to the surface.
For me it was one of those moments when I was half an hour short of Dingboche, without any notice (as it usually happens) the clouds parted totally and I could see Ama Dablam, Kangtega and Thamserku in all their beauty. The view was the trigger now and it made me aware of my environment and the way I was relating to it. It was that fine tuning I was lacking and the feeling of the moment “now”. There was no past, nor future, only myself in the present, totally focused on the goal. Among others, it was this mind-set of “being here and now” that got me to the summits of Cho Oyu, Gasherbrum 1 and Makalu ( and brought me safely back as well) and hopefully the same will get me to the top of Everest in the next month or so.
I'm still trying to figure out a pattern into the weather.
In two days I will hopefully set up my base camp.
An approach trek for some base camp to one of the mountains into the Khumbu area it's a quite comfortable thing to do (giving that you are acclimatizing properly or you don't get any stomach problems). You can almost every day sleep in a different lodge for the length of the trek. Quite the opposite is trying the same thing into the Karakoram, where you can even trek for two weeks from the last village to the base camp.
In Tengboche I checked in one of the lodges belonging to the monastery. For a short moment (as it usually happens), there was a gap into the clouds and right from my window I could see in the distance, for the first time in this expedition, the summit of Everest. It was HIGH. Strange enough, I felt like I was entering a special mood of calmness and connection with the mountain. I could even see the way from the South Summit to the top and envisioning myself on that ridge, cinematographically, breathing hard due to the lack of oxygen, tired, making the last steps to the highest point of the world.
You can be the best planner in the world but you can't go against the
Himalayan weather combined with the air controllers (are there any?:) of
in Lukla, the starting point sherpa village of the expeditions to the
south side of Everest. Everything there related with flying is subject to
proper visual contact.
During the last week there have only been few
flights in the very morning when the sky was relatively clear and there is
already a huge waiting list. The passengers have priority over the cargo
so the bulk of my equipment is still in Kathmandu. But it can be worse: a
South Koreean expedition is waiting for the luggage for already ten full
Yesterday afternoon, turning around all the prayer wheels I met in
the way, I went up in a light rain from Lukla to Namche Bazar to help
with my acclimatisation process.
Hopefully tomorrow I will have everything
in Lukla and from there Kumar and Lhakpa will come with fully loaded yaks
and meet me in Dingboche (44120m) where I will spent two nights for
acclimatisation. I hope we will together reach the Base Camp by Sunday.