Everest – Base Camp

Base Camp in itself was so interesting that I had to devote a whole entry to it!

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First, I should say that the company I went with, Alpine Ascents, went out and beyond to make sure we were comfortable there.  According to the guides, it was imperative that we stay healthy in order to go higher up the mountain, so they spared no cost to ensure our well being, both physical and mental.

Each climber had their own individual tents.  Every one of us was asked to bring two ThermaRests (a blowup mattress), but it turned out that we didn’t need one of them because the company provided us with a body length 2-inch thick soft mattresses already set up in our tents.  We also had a huge dining tent in the middle of our camp, complete with a table, chairs, real china plates, and real silverware.  There was even a plastic tablecloth on the table and some plastic flowers!!!  Right across from the dining tent there was a cooks tent with an American head cook who would serve us mainly American style cuisine (so our poor bellies could fill up on something familiar).

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Andy in front of our Khumbu Icefall and my tent right behind him

DSC_8643typical early snow at base camp

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view of Base Camp from our tents. The white tent with orange triangles in the background is the ‘headquarters’ of Himex (Russell Brice)

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The blue tent is one of the dining tents (ours is that sliver on the left). The dark green/grey one to the left is the cooks’ tent.

The dining tent also had a few thermoses always filled with hot water, as well as hot tea bags, coffee, cocoa powder, and snacks.  It also had a little charging station on which we were allowed to charge our electronic devices for most of the day.  Our base camp manager had 2 huge solar panels off of which he drew power for the generator, off of which we got to charge our devices.  Also, every day, we were allowed to use wi-fi for a few hours a day.  The connection was very slow, only 5MB for our whole group (12 of us plus 4 guides), but hey, it’s better than nothing!!  It allowed me to post short updates on Facebook and let my family and friends know via email that I’m still alive.  At night, after dinner, we were able to watch movies through a computer and projected out on a small screen in the dining room tent.

As far as the bathrooms go, they took care of us too!  Our restroom was composed of a bucket with an actual toilet seat on it, enclosed in a tent.  Supposedly one of the Sherpa porters was responsible for bringing it down the mountain.  Even though he was compensated better than a usual porter, imagine the poor guy carrying this load! (pun intended).  In addition, the company erected a small tall tent over the rocks just for us girls, so we could have some privacy when peeing.  How awesome is that?!!

We also had 2 large tents for showers.  The Sherpas would warm up some water and put it in a bucket.  The tent was divided into 2 areas: one half was a ‘dressing’ area with a chair, and the second half had a huge slab of flat rock (so our tootsies wouldn’t hurt from standing on sharp uneven rocks) and a faucet over us.  The key to taking a shower was to do it in early afternoon when the sun was high and before the clouds would come in.  Sun would warm up the tent so it felt nice and comfortable, but the second the clouds would cover it up, the temperature would drop by at least 40 degrees…  I made that mistake once and got in in late-ish afternoon..  It was the quickest shower ever!!  Brr…  Overall we could take a shower about every 10 days or so.

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two central yellow tents are the shower tents (you can see blue barrels hanging at the corners). To their right, there’s a small dark blue girls’ pee tent, and to the right there’s a small yellow tent for #2

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bottom center there’s one of our shower tents with a hanging barrel with hot water

In case we wanted to hang out in a bigger space than our own tents, Alpine Ascents had a huge dome tent for us.  It was usually filled with snacks and had some mattresses for comfort.

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our hangout dome. We even exercised there on few occasions when we got bored!  it got very comfortable in the sun but also very cold when clouds came in

Right in the middle of Base Camp there was a huge medical tent with 3 doctor volunteers.  It was sort of like a clinic that would treat mild ailments, usually related to high altitude.  There were also two helicopter pads, one in the middle of the camp, and one by the Icefall.

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I kept thinking: if this is what this climb is going to be like, then it will be a piece of cake!!!  Read on my story though to find out! 🙂

DAYS 16 and 17

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