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Everest Base Camp 2014

April 23, 2014

in Nepal

ama dablam after lunch

Tomorrow I begin my second trek of the season, my 20th trip to Everest Base Camp. This year, the mountains are no less spectacular than when I first saw them, but I am bereft of new description. The extreme geography is comfortingly familiar, the dirt trails well-worn in my memory. The mountains fill my soul with an unsuppressable joy. I hike easily, greeting friends and former staff along the way, describing gods and history, relishing the fresh air after days in the particulate mass enshrouding Kathmandu.

The tragic deaths of 16 Sherpas (13 dead, 3 missing) in an Icefall avalanche this week means summit expeditions are likely canceling their whole season. Out of respect for the dead, coping with their loss, and concerns about it being a “black year” for climbing, Sherpa support staff don’t want to climb this season. It underscores for me a major difference between Sherpas and foreign climbers. For most Sherpas, climbing Everest is not a hobby nor a passion. It’s a dangerous job that most do to support their families in the lack of a better opportunity. Sherpas are the backbone of Everest expeditions, and I honor their strength and courage in such dangerous work. My heart is saddened by the loss, and by the grief of the families they left behind.

Trekking is an entirely different experience. We walk every day as the landscape changes from lush and green, to high alpine scrub, and then to rock, ice, and sky. We absorb the culture, the sunshine or snow, and the smiles of our Nepali staff (who are also incredibly hard working!). As negotiations continue between summit teams and Sherpas, we make our way lightly among the mountains, unsure of what we’ll find when we reach Everest Base Camp. Regardless, the journey is where the magic resides.

by dennis severt

This photo compliments of Dennis Severt.

 

 

dawa and temba

Sherpas Dawa (our trekking sirdar) and Temba (2-time summitter, carrying poles to make an antenna at base camp).

 

kitchen staff

Our hard-working trekking kitchen staff.

 

captain morgan

Fun with Group 1

 

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