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We have our puja then we are spending 5 days on the mountain, out of contact.
15 Sept Puja at ABC 5640m
If you climb a lot you are running risks that gradually build up. Climbers deal with these in different ways; the climbing sherpas make a puja to show respect for the mountain. The crampons and ice tools are blessed, or another way of looking at it, they are forgiven, as they will be putting holes in the mountain.
Dawa Gyalgen studied as a monk when he was younger and so is often asked to officiate at pujas, especially handy for us. We held our puja this morning.
Dawa Gyalgen reads from some prayers given to him by a high lama who lives in Baudha, Kathmandu.
Other tools of the trade; flowers to make holy water.
Dawa always says that it is most auspicious if we get all types of weather during the puja, and during the last seven or so we have had wind, snow, rain and fine weather. This time as we began the puja the mountain top clouded over and at the end cleared again.
Our crew made the tormas, from tsampa (roasted barley flour) and the white discs are butter.
Our prayer flags, and each of us has tied a kata with blessed rice onto the lines.
At the end of the puja we feast on the blessed food and drink; the birds do the same!
In the afternoon we tested ourselves, some trekking to Depot camp to drop off gear, others climbing nearby hills. It seems that everyone is coping well with the altitude. It was Corinne's birthday so another excuse for a cake.
16 Sept - Depot camp
Finally we will step on the mountain soon. Jamie's team (Clive, Walter and Hans) are staying at Depot Camp tonight then on the 17th and 18th will stay at Camp 1 (6400m), and probably on the 19th and 20th, at Camp 1.5 (6900m) or Camp 2 (~7000m). We will NOT be sending dispatches from the mountain, so don't expect any new dispatches until the 20th or 21st...
Other members of our ABC support team have different plans. Everyone is feeling good.
Montarosa's mixed teams totalling somewhere around 19 climbers are not doing as well. Four people passed our camp this morning, returning to BC today and then on to Kathmandu, all with various not too serious injuries, and apparently another two are going down later today. They already have at least one person at BC recovering from altitude sickness as well.
Phurba Tashi, the climbing sirdar for Himalayan Experience (ie Mark Whetu and Dean Staple's team) called in this morning and said he had arranged with every team for them to drop 200m of fixed rope and some snow bars at Camp 3, so as to make fixing the route easier. This sounds good in theory; lets see if it works in practice.
Last year we fixed all the rope on the mountain, apart from a short section over the crevasse between C1 and C1.5. This year as some other teams are ahead of us it looks like we won't have to work as hard.
That is all for now, I will be in touch when we are back at ABC and I have had a chance to sort thru photos...all rights reserved -- frozen in time 2006