Two new updates below...
Report No2 - Friday 9 April
2004 from Mike Brennan at Base Camp
After all meeting up at
Heathrow on the 29th, we had an uneventful trip through to Kathmandu, and were
smoothly transferred to the comfortable Hotel Vajra. A great evening meal
followed at Rum Doodle's...(Dave, being a summiteer gets free meals there. How
we would love to share the privilege....). Surprisingly good food on the warm
roof-top terrace, good company, no biting insects...what more could we ask
Three days in Kathmandu
followed, with everyone buying last minute things, and lots of really cheap,
but good quality, gear from "Shona's". Dave was sorting the formalities, and
then off we went to the border by coach. The transfer there across the border
went smoothly enough, and our hotel in Zhangmu was adequate. The Chinese food
sequence began thereafter, good quality, lots of it, but every meal????
The journey from Zhangmu was
in Toyota Land-Cruisers. Speedy and comfortable, just an hour to Nyalam, much
improved lodge there since my last visit in '98, and there was a very
modern-looking Internet Cafe!!! The team continued to bond over the next 24
hours, and we had a decent acclimatisation walk above the town, in good
weather, up to 4200m.
The next day saw another
drive through superb Tibetan scenery to Tingri, more Tibetan than Chinese in
appearance, and little changed to my eye from the past visits. We managed a
good walk next day up towards 4800m, a few feeling the height by now, but no
serious problems. Everest was visible, though in mostly greyish skies, and far
from dominant, except perhaps in our thoughts. The Sherpas set off a day
before us to try and set up camp.
Yesterday, a stunning 4 hour
drive through small communities scratching a living in harsh surroundings
finally brought us to the famed Rongbuk monastery, with the even more famous
view of mighty Everest towering over us all. Beautiful to those who notice
these things, and very, very big! Some of us seemed quiet, and there were
definitely a few watery eyes.....maybe the dusty wind?
Then the last few kilometres
to the Base Camp at 5200m, where few groups seemed to have arrived. The tents
were all up and well secured with stones, the gear was laid out in orderly
lines, the large mess-tent for 16 was ready for our meal, and here we are.
What a superb team of Sherpas! No missing gear, excellent food under our belts
(better than at home was heard at the table), and linked, somewhat
temperamentally, by sat phone to the world again. We are all in decent health,
spirits are high, and we are all very happy to be here. We do not
underestimate what may lie ahead, and look forward to moving up to ABC,
probably on Thursday. Four Sherpas have set off today to begin establishing
ABC, which will be similar in almost every way to BC, but at 6200m it will be
Tuesday 13 April 2004 from
Tom Clowes at Base Camp
On the 11th April we had the
Puja Ceremony where a lama came up from the Rongbuk Monastery to bless all of
us and our gear before moving any further up the mountain. The Sherpas made an
altar out of surrounding stones and strung up prayer flags all to give good
luck and to keep the mountain gods happy! Juniper was burnt and we all threw
rice and tsampa into the air and over each other! Tibetan tea was drunk and
the Lama tied bits of string around our necks to keep us safe! It was an
interesting morning for us all as several of us had never experienced a Puja
Over the last few days we
have been acclimatising by walking up the valley sides. The scale of the
mountains here is vast and the views are spectacular. Today (13th April) we
tried to gain as much height as possible before we move on up to Advanced Base
Camp (ABC). Rick and Ray got to 6,000m while the rest of us reached heights of
Serena and Paul joined us
yesterday. Its good to have the whole team together again.
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