Tuesday, April 10, 2007

17,600 - The Magical Everest Base Camp Number

17,600 is the magic number. It is where Everest Base Camp resides and where the trek ends, but the true climbing begins. It is where you move forward in your journey to the top of the world and where there are so many adventure stories written about and a person always wonders about - well Baxter made it there!!

It is Wed, April 11, 2007 in Nepal and Baxter and the climbing team are sleeping snug in their tents at Everest Base Camp. By "snug", I mean, they are listening to the creaks and cracks as the glacier moves and the sound of avalanches through the night remind them where they are. Apart from the noise, its also a searing 16 degrees IN the tent at night, and Baxter said his water bottles froze, even with the wrap-around insulators he got from Backcountry.com. The altitude at EBC is 17,600, so they are once again acclimatizing. Everyone is healthy and moving on, so that's a great start.

While the trekkers who have been following Baxter's climbing team head back to Kathmandu, the climbers will attend a Puja ritual. The puja is a spiritual ceremony where the team asks permission from Chomolungma (the Buddhist term for Everest) to climb her. Also, the llamas bless the climbers, their gear, and their climb. It is great experience because everyone participates from the sherpas, to the climbers, to the Base Camp staff.

The next few days will involve an acclimatization hike up Kala Pattar, where they can enjoy the spectacular views of Everest. They will also begin adjusting to the unusual terrain of the Khumbu Ice Fall and crossing the crevasses with their crampons and the down suits which will be a new experience for most. In the weeks to come, there will be new adventures on a daily basis and it should be exciting to hear all the tales.
More to come as they reach the higher camps and hopefully the summit!

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