Everest Base Camp Trek & Island Peak: Arriving at Everest Basecamp
At above 17,000’ the temperatures dipped well below freezing last night and the small stove in the teahouse dining room lay cold this morning. We wrapped our hands around steaming cups of tea at breakfast and searched for the patches of morning light streaming in through the windows. It was another clear, beautiful morning and we were warm within a few minutes of setting out from Gorak Shep.
The trail to Base Camp brought us along the edge of the Khumbu Glacier, weaving, climbing, and descending among the rocks and eroding slopes of the hillside that is being continuously carved by the glacier passing along it. After a couple of miles ascending along the glacier’s edge we dropped off the morraine and onto the glacier itself. This far down the glacier surface is covered with rocks pulled from the mountain higher up, yet just beneath is glacial ice, requiring full attention walking to avoid slipping - not such an easy task with the incredible views as we passed between Nuptse and Pumori and stared up at Everest’s West Shoulder.
By late morning we reached the community of tents that is cropping up at Everest Base Camp. We were warmly greeted by RMI’s Sherpa and BC staff who gave us the tour of Base Camp. They have been here for two weeks already, carving platforms from the uneven ice and building rock walls to support the tents, and have done an incredible job turning a rather desolate patch of ice into a comfortable home for us. Kumar, our expedition cook with more than 15 yrs of experience, prepared a phenomenal lunch for us and everyone agreed it was the best meal yet of the trip (although it was quickly topped by dinner this evening).
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and exploring Base Camp, venturing over to the entrance to the Icefall and paying a visit to the Icefall Doctors, the legendary team of Sherpas who fix the route through the Khumbu Icefall. When the sun passed behind Pumori, the peak to the west of BC, the temperatures again dropped. Wearing our down coats at the table, we enjoyed another excellent dinner before crawling into our tents here at BC.
We are spending the day in Base Camp tomorrow, using the surrounding glacier to train for Island Peak. The team is thrilled to be here, everyone is doing well and sends their best to those at home.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory