April 9, Lobuche 16,110′ (4910m)

April 9, Lobuche 16,110′ (4910m)

After two days in Dingboche we hiked up to Lobuche this morning. The views continue to be incredible! We turned into the valley that leads to Everest base camp with Ama Dablam behind us. We hiked up with the very impressive Cholatse (6335m, 20,778′) to our left and we reached the moraine below the Khumbu glacier.

As we made our way past the little village (more of a seasonal post really) of Thukla we came around a spectacular corner with prayer flags and the incredible and steep north face of Cholatse. I began shooting some footage with the GoPro camera as I turned the corner and I came to the climbers cemetery. It is set at a truly spectacular place at 4830m (15,842′) with awe-inspiring glaciated peaks all around. The cemetery consists of rock mounts (or chortens, which are essentially large rock cairns) with prayer flags and inscribed plaques. One of the first obvious ones is Scott Fisher’s who is now world famous because of the book Into thin Air that chronicles the tragedy of 2006 on Everest. There are dozens and dozens of tombstones from people from all over the world. I filmed all this, and the incredible natural setting, in silence until the end, when I shared some of my views on this subject which If some of you are interested I am sharing here at the end of my dispatch.

That place has to be the most beautiful setting for a cemetery I have ever seen. It is truly inspiring. Out of all the ways I can imagine dying, climbing Everest is not the worst one. Having said that I have no intention of risking my life for that summit. My goal is to summit Everest if possible while maintaining a safety margin that I am comfortable with. Read my postscript for a lot more on this.

As I climbed past the cemetery I reached the Khumbu glacier which extends something like 10 to 15 miles all the way into the heart of the Western Cwm (pronounced “Coom”) at the base of the Lhotse face and the summits of Everest and Lhotse. I could not see the actual glacier because of the huge moraine between me and the glacier. A moraine is the mount of debris a glacier leaves on its sides as its mass of ice grinds the rocks it moves over. In this case the glacier is (and has been in the past) so huge that the moraine here is about 80 meters ( or about 270′ high).

As I progressed my way to Lobuche I saw the incredible 7165m (23,501′) peak known as “the K2 of Nepal”: the giant pyramid of Pumori which is the west neighbor (along with two 6000m peaks) of Everest.

I don’t want to sound redundant but I don’t have the words to describe to you all the incredibly majestic views of these giant mountains! They are unreal! You will have to see the photos and video I am shooting for you all!

I am writing now from Lobuche which is at 4910m (16,105′). Being at almost 5000 meters we can really feel the altitude now any time we walk or go up the stairs to our rooms. The rooms are very cold so we hang at the main dining room of the lodge where they have a stove to warm the room. It is cold up here!

Lobuche is not a permanent settlement anymore. It’s too high and too cold. These buildings are used on the seasons that climbers and trekkers come. There is almost no vegetation anymore, we are now surrounded by glaciers, rock, snow and ice.

Lobuche lacks the beauty of the lower villages but the scenery around is amazing.

Lobuche has just 4 or 5 buildings and it’s a stop for trekkers, climbers,porters and yaks going to and from Everest base camp. The stove that now is starting to warm this cold room burns yak dung since there is nothing else to burn. They bring up some fuel like kerosene for other uses. Possibly (hopefully!) for cooking.

We are now all antsy to move to base camp because there we will have all our gear that was sent on April 2 including clean clothes and other things we miss but more importantly because our set up in base camp will be pretty luxurious compared to these, now spartan and primitive lodges. We will each have our own tent. base camp will have a heated mess tent, as well as a heated bathroom, and a hot water shower! The food will be luxurious compared to these high lodges. And the environment will be much safer since we have to be careful not to get sick here with a lot of trekkers around that could potentially bring viruses and with yak dung in the air! Looking forward to base camp,

Also I am dying to finally see Everest base camp and the famous view of The Khumbu ice fall from base camp. To be in that historic place where so many everest expeditions were based out of. The most famous base camp in the world!

But we have to be patient! We need to be here at 16,100′ two nights before moving up to 17,500′ to let our bodies acclimatize to the now extreme altitude. We are now higher than all the mountains in the US (not counting Alaska), and higher than all mountains in Mexico except Orizaba, Popo and Izta (we’ll be LIVING higher than Izta’s summit at base camp!) and for my South American friends we are now higher than Aconcagua’s base camp. Almost the same altitude as camp 1 on Aconcagua.

Patience is the name of this game…

I took a walk from the lodge to the top of the moraine which proved to be 5000m high or 16,500′. It was very cold up there but the Khumbu glacier looked impressive!

I hear one of the lodges here has wifi for $2 per 10 mins. I hope it works and I hope it doesn’t take me half an hour to send this dispatch today or tomorrow.

My best to you all!




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