MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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April 13, 2009

Update from Everest Base Camp! Photos coming soon!

April 9

We woke up at Gorak Shep to what looked like questionable weather. However, as we got on the trail towards the destination we have all dreamed about for some time now, the weather improved and we had a pleasant trip to Everest Base Camp--which is far different than any of us could have imagined. Base camp itself is spread out over a long distance up and down over a glacial moraine into self-sufficient little communities of adventure seekers and their support teams Upon arrival we walked out to the amazing Khumbu Icefall. We've been resting in our cozy tents in the middle of this inexplicably amazing place. We're looking forward to a delicious dinner and warm night's sleep. Hope everyone follows his or her dreams because today we
 achieved one of ours!

--Richard Kelliher and Amanda Berndt


April 10-12

As we descend from Base Camp's moonscape to an alpine valley and beyond, everyone's chipper in what now feels like oxygen-rich air. We have said goodbye to Winson (who is staying to climb the Khumbu Icefall) and Richard (who is heading out to climb Island Peak). Since we are retracing our steps, I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you about our support staff, without whom we could never make this trip. 

Ang-bai, though only 24 years old, heads up our team. His father was a trekking guide, which is perhaps where he gets his confidence and his organizational skill. He is hard-working and always thinking ahead. Whether it's arranging meals or being sure porters have sunglasses to prevent snow blindness, he effectively stays on top of everything. We work closely together to ensure a smooth trip. Ang-bai speaks Nepali, English, Hindi, and Sherpa--and he's learning Korean and French!

Santosh is our assistant--he helps out with meals, hikes with clients (often leading the way), and pretty much does anything we need with a smile on his face. In the off-season he's studying to finish high school. Our porters are Elmay, Gopal, Pemba, and Bal Kumar. Everyday they carry our bags and amaze us with how strong they really are. They carry similar loads working in their fields and enjoy trekking--both for the opportunity to earn money and for the chance to do something new. We've spent time drinking tea together and getting to know them, with me translating jokes and questions back and forth. They all live in Everest region villages and come to Lukla for portering work during the trekking season. Only one of them has studied through high school. Two of them are married (one an arranged marriage and one a love marriage)--and the other two got shy when we asked about girlfriends! All of them are working to earn money to support their families (which means parents, siblings, and children), to improve their homes, and to provide education for children and siblings. During our trip, they've tried some new food (green peppers! --which they liked) and are going to be surprised to see their photo on the internet before we part. We've grown pretty fond of them. Amanda loves 
Pemba's smile, and we are all happy to know that our being here creates jobs for them. In a country where the annual per capita income is only $300, the money they making trekking will go a long way in their villages. Sharing in their lives is a great part of our experience. Thank you, guys!!

--Deana Zabaldo, group leader