31st March 2004 | Arriving at Basecamp

Posted on March 31, 2004

Rongphu monastery

Rongphu monastery / Copyright : Ethan Lutske

Started for Base Camp by 1000hrs. Another flat, right at the hotel, delayed the start by 30 mins. In the same Toyota Land Cruisers, mostly through shortcut passages. Saved us an hour. A little while into the drive, realized that the drivers (both!) had taken a route that they have never attempted before! We asked for directions from shepherds and villagers.Everest came into view on and off as we skirted hills.

The drive was great – like a desert safari, with many a rough patch, twists and turns, streams to be crossed, a couple of ice patches added to the excitement through vast expanses of dry terrain, framed by high hills. Stopped at Rongbuk Monastery for offering prayers. Immediately after leaving, realized that one of the shock absorbers that was giving trouble had fallen off!

The lumpy ride thereupon was bearable as it was only 10 miles from Base camp. Reached by 1400 hrs ( China Time) – we are at 5080 metres now. Our camp had been set up by the Sherpas at a place presumably because it shielded from high winds.Near our camp is a set of tents by the locals who sell various items and run small restaurants/ shops. Amazing to find entrepreneurs at Everest Base Camp ! Russians have set up camp ahead. Tents are ready for us. Separate dining tent too.

Two sets of latrines – horrible would be an understatement. Worse than the ones at Tingri. Day time is comfortable.Cushioned mattresses have been provided by Asian Trekking. Took rest. Bright Night. Had a bad time going to take leaks. ( 4 times). Intermittent sleep. Sufficient though. Reverted to Nepali time.

Mount Everest from the Monastery.

Posted in: The Journal, Week 2