MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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May 11, 2011

Friends and Fun at Everest Base Camp and Island Peak!

What a great season! As the Spring Everest Base Camp trips come to a close, we are looking ahead to the fall with excitement. Due to popular demand, we have added an additional date to our fall EBC trips. If you didn't have a chance to sign up for the October 8th trip, we now have a trip running on November 5th. Once you visit this intriguing region, you'll want to return! We're expanding our Nepal and Bhutan trips this year, so be sure to check out our Women's Annapurna Trek, climb of Mera Peak, and trekking in the Tsum Valley and Mustang regions!

Below, guide Deana Zabaldo and her trekkers share stories from their wonderful experiences in the Himalayas. Also, check out the videos Deana took at 17,000 feet and at Base Camp!


22 April, 2011

Mountain Madness does it again! (Everest Base Camp, that is!) Our second group of the season is on its way into the high Himalayas. We had an exciting flight from Kathmandu to Lukla on a Twin Otter (instead of the usual Dornier) and have been enjoying sunshine, our first Everest views, and a decadent afternoon in the bakeries of Namche Bazaar.

--Deana Zabaldo, Guide

Today we had a beautiful hike from Namche Bazar to see the spectacular Everest peak (at 11o'clock in this photo) and Lhotse (the world's 4th highest mountain, in the middle at 12 o'clock, with a double spike) among others. We took the shot from ~12,500 ft above sea level!  

--Larry Gross, trekker




25 April, 2011

Best Day On The Mountain

Today we had an acclimatization day in Dingboche at the Hotel Arizona, 14,250 feet. We had the "opportunity" to sleep in until 7am! After breakfast, we took a hike to 15,600 feet. The scenery was beautiful, and we were breathless. (All a part of the acclimatization plan.)


Back at the Arizona, we enjoyed lunch and then the fun started. We pulled out a frisbee and beachball and a two-hour frisbee/volleyball game ensued. Everyone played: the Sherpas, the hotel staff, our guides, and most of the trekkers. We had many Dingboche residents and yaks observing...and a couple of local kids joined in the fun.  

Highlights of our game:

--Frisbees tossed into the neighbor's farm.

--Hotel staff climbing out the second story window with a broom in hand to retrieve errant throws on the roof.

--The amazing loft of a frisbee at 14,250 feet. It goes FAAAAR!

--The laugh of a pink jacketed Nepali woman as she got the hang of throwing a frisbee and then just wouldn't stop!



Later in the afternoon, we had tea with our Nepali staff. Everyone (both foreigners and Nepalis) introduced themselves, told about their families and their homes, and asked questions.(If you happen to know the corn yield per hectare in the US, we have some curious Nepali farmers who would like to know! )

After tea, we played cards and Liar's Dice with our staff. Playing with Mani is worth the price of the trip just for his style and smile.  

He still owes us a song on the trail...



Finally, our Mountain Madness kitchen staff cooked both pizza and an apple pie for dinner. And keep in mind they cook in a tent!

What a great day! We remain breathless and on our way to Everest Base Camp.

--Beth, Cambra, and Pam, EBC Trekkers



Island Peak is more than just the summit...

When I signed up with Mountain Madness for the Everest Base Camp trek and climb of nearby Island Peak, I wasn't quite prepared for the cultural experience and perspective.  It's hard to imagine when sitting back in Chicago what to expect in Kathmandu and during the trek and climb.  What immediately hit me was the spirituality and strength of the Nepali people.

During the trip, I continued to reflect on the culture of our local porters and Sherpa guides and was struck by their friendliness, work ethic, and fascinating lives.  We couldn't have done it without the help of that entire Mountain Madness community and family.  They made the trip and climb such a success.  Our trekking guide, Deana, was wonderful in getting us comfortable with our surroundings and guiding us each day.  At the same time, she enthusiastically mixed in fascinating stories about Nepal history and culture, adding an educational facet to the trip.  

Such a wonderful experience!

--Spider (Jeff Webster), Island Peak Summitter!