MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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April 26, 2017

Ups and Downs on the Everest Base Camp Trek

Big greetings from team Mountain Madness here above 14,000 feet. It feels like we've lived four lifetimes in the span of the last week we've had here in Nepal.

We started out ingloriously our first night in the Khumbu with several trekkers experiencing some gastrointestinal challenges. Shy and myself zipped around doling out electrolyte powder and Imodium tabs This made our climb into Namche the following day, a 2500 foot ascent, possibly the crux of our whole trip. Our arrival into the cozy lodge just above the town center was full of cheers and tears. 

Soggy but happy to be "home" for the day.

But these first two wet and challenging days were rewarded on our rest day, when the sun peeked out for our acclimatizing hike up above 12,000 feet. We had a stunning afternoon chilling out on the old airstrip and laughing with the head lama at the Namche monastery. The afternoon was spent shopping, mostly for local down jackets, since our forecast now showed some colder days up high. Maryna, Michael, Jessica, and myself are excited for the photoshoot at base camp in our matching layers!

 

Pointing the way to Tengboche.

Next was the climb into the heart of upper Khumbu at Tengboche. A magical day for the whole team. Jolene and Jay wanted to solidify their union with the blessings of a Buddhist monk. We all gathered in the monastery at the top of the hill. We received blessings as a group for good luck and safe travels through the Khumbu. Then it was time to honor the union of these two special people. They both knelt before the monk and he began chanting many prayers while we tossed rice. He adorned them with khatas, and they walked out gleefully holding hands. We then bound their hands with scarves for the short walk back to the tea house, where we celebrated with an improvised wedding cake prepared by our wonderful cook team. 

 

Our group after the blessing ceremony.

And just to complete the day, the clouds finally broke and we had our very first views of the Himalayan giants all around us that evening: Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Nuptse, and the tiniest sliver of the Everest summit. 

 

Cook staff with warm drinks.

From here we are headed up the valley for our next mission: Dingboche. More updates soon!

~Mountain Madness Guide Mara Larson - words and photos