Namchee Bazaar to Everest BC

Namchee Bazaar to BC 5,364

The last 7 days have taken us through Rhododendron forests, above the tree line where the bushes aren’t just wind blown they’re wind blasted, to the region below the glacier where lichen clings to the rocks. The teahouses have varied mainly in the state of their toilets! The menus are identical though not necessarily the product produced.

The final teahouse provided a little unexpected entertainment. I was sitting across from a gentleman who looked to be in a rather sorry state. I was sure it wasn’t the usual travellers’ ills. Our Dr Rick came to the rescue. Heart condition. Kenton hopped to it miraculously an oxygen cylinder and mask appeared. Bonnie from her experience on Manaslu got the set up right while Kenton organised the chopper though that was very dependent on the weather. I told Brian he was going to feature in all our blogs and diaries and was it with an i or a y? He managed a smile.

The weather held off and the chopper pilot did an amazing job to just clear the rocks on take-off. Brian was sent off to Kathmandu hospital with Rick’s medical notes and I figure Rick now gets hero status and can wear his undies on the outside!!

If one helicopter wasn’t enough, while I was brushing my teeth before departure the next morning another chopper arrived but we’d had 5cm of snow overnight. You know how you can’t land in fog, well he was creating his own fog!. So he hovered around swinging back and forth until most of the snow was blown clear that’s one serious leaf blower!!

The hike to Gorek Shep for a cuppa and then on to basecamp was far less eventful but just as spectacular. We were serenaded all the way by a bird who’s call was so familiar. It’s on one of my world music tracks. Will look it up when my ipod’s no longer MIA! It’s in my tent somewhere. The only English bird name my Sherpa friend could give me was eagle but I’m guessing short, squat, rock hopper doesn’t match the description of a majestic eagle.

The first views of BC and the icefall brought mixed feelings. My first reaction was “It’s not that big in the photos. Can I climb the one in the photos? Please?”
I had no idea how spread out BC was. It’s quite long up the Glacier. Russell Brice first with his distinctive Dome tent, then IMG, around the rocks and there was Hermant waiting to guide me in to our camp and to a welcome cuppa and lunch.

Energy restored, time to look around and get my bearings and more importantly choose carefully the tent that is to be my home until late April.

Tent not too far from the toot tent but not too close. Short walk to the dining tent and easy walk to the comms tent. Pleasant surprise, the floor is covered in foam underlay, then a foam sleeping mat covered with a woven wool mat. Very cosy. Nothing for it but to empty out the 40kgs of contents of my bags and start to regain some semblance of order in the tent. Important to know where everything is in the dark. Great in theory but didn’t quite get it all sorted before tea.

Bim our head cook excelled himself. A delicious steak in an almost pepper like sauce with veg and rice.

All early to bed. It’s cold and we’re all exhausted.

I was going to say that waking up this morning at BC reality hit but it was actually at 1am peeing into a bottle in a freezing tent! Better than traversing the treacherous 20 metres to the pee tent. We have a ladies pee tent and a unisex poo tent. One goes onto the glacier the other into a barrel that a porter gets paid a huge sum to carry out! The boys just stand out on the “balcony” because they can!

6.30am I “entertained” the camp with my chat to the Bald Brothers in sunny Adelaide. The wonders of modern technology.

8.00am breakfast and then time to grab the iceaxes and crampons for the pujar. A lama blesses our climb, the team and for a small donation your own personal blessing. Lots of food & drink, juniper smoke and rice & flour throwing involved. The prayer flags are raised above camp. My Aussie flag attached just below the Nepali flag.

Exhausting business this blessing stuff, time for a cuppa. Not before an orthopedic surgeon on the Maltese team checked out my ankle. It’s healing nicely. And then lunch, olives, chips and salad. No complaints from me.

We expect to have our first foray into the icefall tomorrow and sometime after that head for camp 2. But there are no hard fast timetables in mountaineering.

Now I’ve really got to go get my tent in order. There’s an ipod in there somewhere and I’ve got to improve my storage arrangement after awaking to frozen not so wet wipes this morning!

Namaste

Trotty

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