Mary's Trek to Base Camp
Mary washes her clothes outside the dining tent at base camp. Photo Paul Adler.
Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: 18:00, May 11
Weather: 14C Max, Fine, except for some afternoon snow.
Hi, it's Mary here and Paul and Fiona have asked me to write about my trek in. It has been so hard to condense it all -my diary (thanks kids for the diary) is many, many pages long...but here goes!
Seeing Paul and Fiona
The most exciting part of the trek was seeing Paul and Fiona after nearly six weeks! When I arrived, they were still up at Camp 2 (after coming down from Camp 3) so I still had to wait another few days to see them.
What a challenge
It isn't until you are here that you realise the enormity of what they (and the others here) are doing. While you can't see Everest from Base Camp, (I saw it on the way in.....it is ENORMOUS and MAGNIFICENT!) you can see the Khumbu Icefall as it stretches up very high in front of you- and that is only the beginning of their climb. I watched them coming down the glacier yesterday morning. They looked so tiny as they and their sherpas walked down to Base Camp. I met them at the bottom and they looked fantastic. I was thrilled to be finally able to see them.
All the problems had settled by the time I got into Kathmandu and the day after I arrived, I flew into Lukla in a small plane. The landing strip is cut into the side of a mountain and the pilots fly in without instrumentation. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be but nevertheless the ground did seem to come up very quickly!
The trek took twelve days as it is really important to acclimatise. They say it is not the distance here that you have to worry about, it is the altitude. Lukla is approx 2.500 metres above sea level and BC is about 5.500 metres - so that's why it takes so long to get there.
My guide Phu Tashi was very attentive and always made sure that I was ok. All my luggage went off each day with the porter who carried it in a basket on his back. He was always waiting at the lodges when we got there.
I took two days to get to Namche (up the steepest hill you can imagine!) and then had a rest day there. The Namche Bazaar was on - a fascinating market selling mainly fresh vegs/meat and local produce. The lodge I stayed in was the same one Jimmy Carter had a few years ago. It had a hot shower and charging facilities - oh such luxuries. The next day I further acclimatised by walking up to the Sherpa villages of Khunde and Khumjung. We had lunch with Tashi's mother in their home - I felt really privileged. We visited the Edmund Hillary Hospital and school. He has done so much for the people of this area and they regard him as a saint.
The next day it was on toTengboche and another rest day. It was there that I visited the monastery and received the blessings from the head lama for Paul and Fiona and their sherpas. The weather was starting to get cold now with occassional snow falls in the afternoon. The bedrooms are not heated and they only light the pot belly stoves at night. There is a scarcity of timber and they burn dried yak dung which gives off some warmth.
Dingboche and onto Base Camp
From there it was on to Dingboche for 3 days where we stayed at Tashi's lodge. We hiked over to Periche and heard the doctors talk about Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) - a really interesting talk with lots of advice re the importance of acclimatisation. While at Tashi's place, I was invited to a special puja (religious ceremony) which was conducted by a lama and went for over 4 hours! (they served food throughout) - a very special experience.
On to Dugla, Lobuche and Gorak Shep (where Edmund Hillary's Base Camp was) before finally getting into BC absolutely exhausted!!
Everest Base Camp
BC is a site of tents which have been put up on rocks which are part of the glacier (and it is melting under the rocks). It is surrounded by mountains and you hear rock slides constantly from one side and some avalanches on the other side. Paul and Fona had fixed my tent for me - complete with my stretcher. It was wonderful to lie down when I finally arrived.
I was here for a few days before they got back and so now have only just begun to read some of the messages people have posted on the site. (I will be able to read the rest tomorrow) Thank you so much family and friends who have posted them; Roberta, I am so sorry to hear of your illness. It is so special to hear everyone's news.
Paul and Fiona are resting here for about a week or so and I am really enjoying my time here with them and meeting the rest of the team.
Bye for now and love to all,
Posted by: Jody Cray, Melbourne, Australia on May 13, 2006 12:07 AM AEST
Hi Paul, Fi & Mary..
I am one of Becks many friends. She has told me all about your amazing trip, and your fantastic web site. I can honestly say that i love catching up with you every day; I smile and get all excited to read a new post. I know i havent met any of you yet, but im so excited for you and glad to hear that all is well. I don't hesitate to tell anyone i know about your amazing adventures, and your exciting website. I wish you all the luck in the world and will be cheering you on from my warm lounge chair!
Best wishes, stay safe.
Posted by: Valerie & Rummy on May 13, 2006 12:11 AM AEST
Congratualtions MARY!! You are a real trooper. Stay Safe--Valerie & Rummy
Posted by: Chris & Bridget (Stockholm) on May 13, 2006 12:13 AM AEST
Hi Paul, Fiona and Mary, great to hear all is well. Bridge and I went for a bike ride around Stockholm today - our first ride in ages (unless you count riding a single speed Indian rust bucket with a flat front tyre!). There are heaps of cyclists around - mostly commuters, but we have seen some guys all decked out in lycra as well! We will be catching up with Marc in a week at Bergen which should be great.
Enjoy base camp and the rest. I was wondering the other day why people don't fly to Kathmandu to rest, but I see from your previous post that they do. Are all the IMG team going to rest at base camp?
Chris & Bridget
Posted by: John on May 13, 2006 12:17 AM AEST
Hi Darl, so good to read your report and to see your photo ... you look terrific!! What a trip .. what an adventure ... your my hero!! Your report came in very late tonight so I have been waiting and waiting for it to arrive before going off to bed. I even contacted Nick to see if perhaps the delay was in my computer, but he said no, just waiting for you guys to send. I would be interested in what type of food you ate as you hiked in. You look as if you have lost a little weight, but you do look fit. Great to see your face, now I can go off to bed. Goodnight.John
Posted by: Larry and Marianne Benvenuti on May 13, 2006 01:02 AM AEST
As your adventure unfods, we are amazed at your spirit of strength.Our prayers are with you and all the climbers and Sherpas.
We have some special beers waiting at Den's Dong.Be safe !!!
God Speed !!!
Larry and Marianne B
Posted by: Dame and Beck (Ballarat, Victoria, Australia) on May 13, 2006 01:25 AM AEST
Get to see you there safe and sound. Congratulations - a great effort!! We are very proud of you. Dad is right - you look really fit. It is strange to see you on the website after only seeing you a few weeks ago. It was great to read about your adventures since then. Love, Dame and Beck
Posted by: Marg & Neil on May 13, 2006 01:57 AM AEST
congratulations Mary you've done a great job getting there. Enjoy your time at the camp (if you can cope with the showers & washing etc)It must have been soooo good to see the kids - we miss them very much but we want to fulfill this dream Marg & Neil
Posted by: Tam - Florida Keys, USA on May 13, 2006 02:19 AM AEST
Great job on your trek into Base Camp! You have now been dubbed "BC Mom"! Take care of our loved ones while you are there and enjoy your adventure!
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 13, 2006 05:17 AM AEST
Hi Paul, Fiona and Mary
I also would like to congratulate you, Mary, on your trek from Lukla to BC! What a great accomplishment. This trek must have been an amazing experience, one that you will treasure for a lifetime. (I will be doing a similar trek one day...maybe even climb Everest.) You are very inspirational!
It is wonderful that you are there for Paul and Fiona as they fulfill their dream. You are one special BC Mom!
Posted by: Beck Adler on May 13, 2006 05:32 AM AEST
Hi Mary, great to finally hear your thoughts on the hike in to BC. You have done so well-we are very proud of you. Savour the moments and the magical views. And dont forget to take heaps of photo's ! Beck
Posted by: Glenda Mickleburgh on May 13, 2006 09:03 AM AEST
Terrific to hear from you and to see you looking so fit and well. Congratulations on reaching BC-a great effort!
Very interested in your account of the trek into BC, an experience of a lifetime.
How many others are at BC at the moment and are there others who are there as a support as you are?
Love to you all
Posted by: Rosemary & Dave Abbott on May 13, 2006 09:24 AM AEST
Congratulations Mary, not just on making it to BC but looking so good - love the hat, reminding us it's summer and hope you did take the matching nail polish. You look fantastic. Enjoy sleeping in and lazying around, no more early morning swims for awhile. Hi to Fiona and Paul too, and good luck for the final push up - all the best from Rosemary & Dave
Posted by: Rose, Sydney on May 13, 2006 09:30 AM AEST
Hi Mary, Fiona and Paul
Thanks for the story of your trek in, it sounds fantastic. It must have been worth doing those 10,000 steps!!
Mike is worried I'll get too inspired and head off into the Himilayas without him and the children!! It certainly sounds like a beautiful part of the world.
Enjoy your time in BC
Posted by: Adrian and Paula Good on May 13, 2006 09:42 AM AEST
Many congrats on making it and participating in this wonderful adventure.
We are following you from the campsite on the Manningham River near Port Macquarrie, NSW. And other coastal places on our three week trip up to Noosa. All this on our wireless broadband. (So extraordinary, but thats another story)
We are looking forward to the big push and, of course its success.
All our very best wishes to you, Paul, Fiona and the team.
Adrian & Paula
Posted by: Judy & Max in Darwin Aust. on May 13, 2006 01:16 PM AEST
Congratulations on reaching the base camp. What an adventure. When we are sitting here in the 30deg C temp of Darwin it is hard to imagine the cold of your surrounds. How are you finding the altitude??. Congrats also to Paul and Fiona on their achiements to date. Is the next rotation the last before the summit assault??
Love Judy and Max
Posted by: amelia and danny on May 13, 2006 02:43 PM AEST
Hi mum, great to hear from you. Glad the trek in went well. Looking good in that photo - although I am not sure everest is ready for hot pink!! You'll be pleased to hear that mama is going really really well. They are starting to talk about when she can come home (a few weeks yet). Dad is down and we are going out for lunch with her for mother's day tomorrow - along with lachlan, rosemary, dave and aunty connie. I had my hair done by lee this morning and she was asking after you - as were the guys from work (who are so impressed) - as is everyone else I see! Enjoy spending time with paul and fiona and have a great mother's day. love amelia and danny
Posted by: Jim Ellis on May 13, 2006 02:48 PM AEST
Thanks for the web site that lets us follow the expedition and send messages.
An article in our local paper said one could post a msg on your site as a means of leaving a msg for another member of your party. Accordingly, would like to say hi to Jack Gerstein and send best wishes to him and the entire team. Jack, I know what you are up against now is a far cry from the day in March we skied a foot of new powder on Vasquez Ridge, but since that's when I learned of your plan to do the Everest climb again this year, thinking of that situation gets me sort of into a framework to visualize you as I read the updates and view the photos. Guess you are about ready now to do the heavy duty climbing, so will be eager to read future updates. Will be thinking of your challenge as I play opening day at the golf course tomorrow. Will be looking forward to your presentation when you get home.
Signed/ Jim Ellis, Winter Park, CO
Posted by: Roland Rocchiccioli on May 13, 2006 03:15 PM AEST
You are clever! You said you were determined to do it, and you have. I am truly impressed. Take care, all of you, and I look forward to talking with you when you return.
Love and blessings,
Posted by: Kirk Benson on May 13, 2006 04:19 PM AEST
Everyone comments on the climb up to Namche from Jorsale, but for me the hike up to Tengboche from Phunki Tenga was even harder. Maybe it's just me ;-)
The walk back down is a lot easier, believe me.
Posted by: kathy every on May 13, 2006 06:16 PM AEST
Hi Mary, how exciting to see your photo. It brought tears to my eyes.
Well Done! You do look fantastic, what a colourful picture.
I loved reading the news of your trek in, it means a lot to share your experience that way, thank goodness for the famous 'diary'.
Your experiences with the people and in the sherpa's homes will stay with you forever.
What a moment your reunion must have been, how precious to meet at that place.
Have a wonderful Mother's Day tomorrow, it couldn't get more memorable could it? Hard to top that!
Isn't technology wonderful that we can share all this and feel so close to you.
Love and hugs
Posted by: Lucinda on May 13, 2006 10:32 PM AEST
Great to see the evidence that you have actually arrived at Base Camp!
Happy Mother's Day for tomorrow - as Meals mentioned we are all off to lunch tomorrow.
The tales of your trek in sound really great and I am glad you have found a use for the diary and pen.
Enjoy your day tomorrow and also the rest of the week getting to know the people at Base Camp.
P.S. Hi to P&F! You guys are probably feeling somewhat neglected today with hardly any messages for you!
Posted by: jennie downing melbourne australia on May 14, 2006 12:52 AM AEST
Hi Mare, Fantastic effort,wonderful photo , cover of a coffee table book? What fun to come home from a movie and have you saying hi from BC! Needs a few iceberg roses around the place though! Can hardly wait to hear the stories of the trek in..a 4 hr. religious ceremony sounds nearly as tough as the walk! Congratulations Mare, with love from Jen
Posted by: J&L, Blacky South on May 14, 2006 02:16 AM AEST
Where are you guys? We missed our nightly bedtime story tonight?
Posted by: Ron munro on May 14, 2006 03:52 PM AEST
Mary lovely to see your photo. You look so well. Is it difficult to get the washing dry. Love and best wishes DAd
Posted by: Jane Barrow on May 14, 2006 04:13 PM AEST
Love the pink hat, great photo. Congratulations on your trek and continue to enjoy the adventure. Happy Mother's Day. Mama is doing well and having lunch today with John & girls and Connie & Co at Khyatt's. She'll be home in another week.
Posted by: Vic Check on May 15, 2006 07:42 PM AEST
the guys at the gym down here in Hobart Town are following your climb....and looking forward to seeing you when you guys get this done Vic from Cygnet