Brian Dickinson - Reader Blog 6
4/8/11 - I woke up and packed then went outside in the sunlight and setup my Goal0 solar recharging battery pack. I figure I should get as much sunlight recharge as possible before we left. As I was setting up my panel a Japanese woman bent over at the hips and let one go. I told her thanks for that. One little unknown fact is that increased altitude causes pressure in the stomach, which in turn must be released. It is many times called HAFE (High Altitude Flatulence Expulsions), but is less deadly than HACE and HAPE (High Altitude Cerebral / Pulmonary Edema)…. at least not to the effected person. I personally don’t suffer from HAFE, but if I did then I’m sure that a bottle of Febreeze would have been a smart luxury item to maintain the integrity of my sleeping bag.
The move from Dengboche (12,000’) to Pheriche (14,000’) wasn’t very difficult as it was a gradual climb. We did stop in Penoche for a Buddhist ritual of good luck called Pusha. It’s where they put a white scarf around your neck and a monk throws rice at you while chanting. It was a new experience for me since I’m not Buddhist. I said a prayer afterward, letting God know that I wasn’t worshipping false idols. The monk was sick, blowing his nose and coughing up lung biscuits during the ordeal so I was more worried about catching something. I’ll double up on Emergen-C tonight.
Outside of the Monastery they had heaps of yak dung drying out. They burn it for fuel so there’s a constant smell of a cross between the inside of a gun range and feces. Since the Sherpa’s use yak, zo and donkeys to help carry supplies the entire trekking trails are littered with animal waste. I find myself in a constant game of don’t step in the poop. I also wear a buff around my nose and mouth so I’m not breathing in the dust and decaying animal waste.
We are now in Pheriche at the Himalayan Hotel. It is very nice considering where we are. We will be here for 2 days to help everyone acclimatize. I am feeling good so I will probably go with others up higher tomorrow to continue the altitude process, but we will return here for sleep before we move the following day.
4/8/11 - Happy Birthday Mom!
Today a couple members of our group had altitude or stomach issues so we kept it low-key. I went for a hike with Temba Sherpa up to about 15,000’ where we got a great view of Island Peak (20,000’). We will be climbing it in a week to help with the acclimatization process. I was also able to get a cell signal and get a quick call out to JoAnna. I’m glad I connected with her since Pheriche doesn’t have coverage and I didn’t want to make her worry. I also took some marketing photos with the Himalayan peaks in the background. I held banners for my sponsors. I’ll get more as I head up higher on the hill.
We descended the 1000’ hill and I put out my Goal0 solar power system to take advantage of the sunlight and day off. It’s taking pretty much all day but I’m finally getting some power. In the past they would haul up generators and fuel for power. They still do this but solar power has changed the game quite a bit. Plus I like to go green when possible.
In normal life you hear about famous climbers in publications like Climbing Magazine. On the mountain you actually get to meet them and hang out with them. Willy Benega (holds the second highest non-Sherpa Everest summits to Dave Hahn) and his brother, Damien, are here leading a group up. From what I hear they are going to attempt a first; Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. Mark Tucker, whom climbed Everest in the 80’s for the peace climb including Russia, China and the US is here and heading up communications for RMI, which we’ll be sharing accommodations. Neal Bidleman (hero of the ’96 tragedy, whom stayed in the whiteout cold with the clients all night in the death zone) passed through and will be climbing Everest as well. Dave Hahn (12 summits), Melissa Arnot (most summits by a female) and Dave Morton will be sharing our basecamp facilities. And of course the true heroes, all of the Sherpas that have risked their lives to fix lines, carry supplies and guide everyone to the top.
4/9/11 - Today we woke up and prepared to move to Laboche (16,000’). I wanted a hot shower but the pipes were frozen so I’m out of luck. Another person had to be helicopter evacuated prior to our departure.
We climbed to 15,000’ and had tea and then continued up to 16,000’. At the top of the hill is the famous memorial to honor the fallen climbers. We spent some time there and I hiked around and read each of the stone carvings and etched plates. This is not a place you want to find a stack of rocks with your name on it, but it’s awesome that they have this memorial. I have a lot of respect for these past climbers.
We are now in our freezing room in Laboche. We are one village away from Everest basecamp!