Brian Dickinson – Reader Blog 10
Life at Everest Basecamp
4/20/11 – It’s good to be back at Everest Basecamp (EBC – 17,500’). Yesterday I made the 8-mile trip from Pheriche to EBC, ending in a snowstorm that passed as I walked into camp. I used my Flip HD video to document my journey as I passed trekkers, Sherpa and yaks. I figured my kids would think it was cool to watch someday. I stopped in our dining tent and had some hot mango (Tang) and dipped some cookies in peanut butter. The food and living conditions are safer here as long as you can avoid others coughing on you. I went to my tent to settle my gear and Dave Hahn and his group was out playing a game of horseshoes. What a cool idea…but consider the weight!
Our Sherpa crew is excellent! You can certainly tell the difference between porter, trekking guides, cooks, helpers and climbing Sherpa. The climbing Sherpa have a confidence about them that helps you develop instant trust, respect and admiration. The one thing I don’t like is that they drop everything to run to help us and constantly call us ‘sir’. I know it’s their job to wait on us but I don’t feel comfortable in that role and would rather we be equal.
Life at basecamp is pretty relaxed. Your tent is your home. In mine I have 2 expedition bags, solar power, ipod with a portable Goal0 speaker, sleeping bag on mattress and then my food, clothing and medical gear strategically placed so I always know where they’re at…day or night. I also have a pomegranate air freshener hanging from the ceiling to mask my not-so-fresh stench.
Outside we have our own toilet tent (squatter hole in the ground) and shower tent. On an expedition I’ll probably take one shower a week and baby wipe it in between. Showers can make you vulnerable to the cold weather and disease so I prefer to avoid it. On McKinley I went 3 weeks without a shower and boy was I ripe!
All through the day and night avalanches kick off on the surrounding peaks. You can tell those that haven’t seen this mountainous rash behavior before since they constantly rush out to take pictures / video. At night you can hear big snaps of the glacier below shifting and breaking apart. There’s little risk in getting swallowed into the earth since we’re on a bed of boulders.
For the most part it’s nice to be here since we don’t have to pack up and leave each day. It’s stationary even when we climb higher. We go up and then we come down. Speaking of which, at 5am I’ll be heading through the Khumbu Ice Fall up to Camp 1. Very exciting progress to actually be climbing Mount Everest!
One other thing I wanted to inject in here since I’m sure everyone wonders what my wife and kids think of me being away and climbing Mt. Everest. I truly have the most wonderful family I could ever imagine having; they are my motivation. But rather than having me tell you, I wanted to share a snippet from an e-mail JoAnna sent me the week I was off the grid healing and climbing Island Peak.
JoAnna wrote: I also want to encourage you to stay to climb if you are healthy to do so, without any risk, because that’s what you are there for. I know you are homesick and we miss you greatly but you have to focus on your task at hand. We will always be here waiting:) the climb is a once in a life time opportunity! Just know that I support whatever is decided. Your health comes first, if that’s clear, then go for the summit. Even Emily said "I want daddy to come home but I also want him to climb the mountain because that’s what he wanted to do", even she supports you!