MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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October 17, 2009

Everest Base Camp Trek Underway

Mountain Madness Everest Base Camp Trek is well on its way! After climbing to the top of the Monkey Temple for views of the city, watching the funeral rituals at Pashupatinath, sitting beneath the eyes of the Buddha at peaceful Bouddhanath Stupa, and meandering through monasteries, we packed up and headed for the mountains! A few days in chaotic Kathmandu, fascinating though it is, makes me long for the fresh breeze and quiet jangling of yak bells that we find on the trail.

Our flight into Lukla is always a thrill, but even more so this trip! The weather was extremely clear and we had sweeping views of the Himalayas before sliding into the airstrip. These Nepali pilots are accustomed to flying several flights a day into Lukla, and they navigate the looming mountains with professional ease. We sped in for a fast landing, the uphill runway immediately slowing us down. Stepping out onto the tarmac in the cool wind of morning, everyone was elated with the views, the village, and the start of our adventure!



In Nepal, however, everything starts with tea. So we made our way over to a sunny courtyard and sat down to enjoy tea, while our sherpas and portering team assembled our bags into even loads. After introductions, we all set off for a few hours of hiking along the Dudh Kosi, or Milk River, and a night in Phakding.

The following day we began to see waterfalls and snowy peaks, even as we hiked through forest and small villages. Crossing the Hillary suspension bridge high above the river, we made a steep climb for the rest of the afternoon until we arrived in Namche Bazaar. An old trading town, it's now filled with lodges, shops, and bakeries. Our whole group hiked strongly and is looking good!



Our group continues to be amazed by the magical and mystical scenery, constantly surprised that every turn is a more beautiful panorama than the last. This morning's acclimatization hike brought us to the famous Everest View Hotel. Aptly named, we could see a long way up the valley that we will trek through and staring us in the face were Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, and Taboche. Stunning!

We've also been getting to know each other and our Nepali staff, from the 6-time Everest Summiter to the Everest Marathon runner, from the Sherpa studying to be a Buddhist monk to the local village boy saving money for his family. We have a great group? Americans, Brazilians, and Nepali staff, and we're climbing higher tomorrow!

~ Deana Zabaldo, Team Leader