Day 11 – Advanced Base Camp (5006m)
Edwin, Raymond, Wei Zhen and I met with the guides last night to discuss the schedule. We were one day behind schedule as we stayed an extra day at Base Camp to allow Yi Qian to acclimatise. That extra day did him good as he was feeling a lot of better after that. All of us seemed to acclimatise well and we agreed that we could skip one cycle of acclimatisation hike from Advanced Base Camp (5006m) to Camp 1 (5256m) and back to Advanced Base Camp (5006m). We were back on schedule.
Wei Zhen took this beautiful photo last night
Taking a look at the schedule
We also needed to rope up for the subsequent climbs beyond Camp 1 (this turned out to be unnecessary in the end as there were no major crevasses). We arranged the three different rope teams and they are as follows: Yi Qian, Javier, Daniel will be a team; Andrew, Yong Siang, Ozgun the other; Raymond, Wei Zhen, Edwin and myself the final team. We took into considerations their personality when arranging the groups. We know that Yi Qian might have trouble and will be slower and thus arranged the more patient and caring people with him. We wanted a 100% summit rate and we didn’t want him to feel pressured.
We had a full day of rest at ABC today and started our days’ activities by praying to the Mountain God. It is a tradition that is always upheld by the locals. We gathered round a makeshift altar of stone with a picture of a “God”. Edwin has been using that picture since his 1997 Everest Expedition. I thought that was interesting. This picture has probably travelled to many other peaks.
Vinod setting up the altar
Anil doing some ritual
You can see vaguely see the picture Edwin brought leaning against the altar
The guides, porters, kitchen crew, and us all gathered round the altar with a cone shaped incense in our hands. The chief guide, Anil, made his prayers and all of placed our incense on the altar. He then passed around some mashed cous cous like thing to each of us and we ate it. The prayer session was now officially over. I hope we get good weather over the next few days!
Setting it up
Gathering around the altar
Putting the incense
Cracking the coconut
Cone shaped incense burning in front of the picture that Edwin brought
Our next activity was fitting our crampons and having another rope work refresher. It was in our interest to get everything right when it’s warm and sunny, rather than fixing unfitted equipment before the summit push, when it’s cold and dark. We all got our gear settled then and that pretty much sums up the day.
One can never complain of too much rope work!
Edwin adjusting his gear
Edwin helping Yong Siang with his crampons
We spent the rest of the day reading, chatting, fiddling with ropes, etc. We are going to Camp 1 tomorrow.