5300m (~17,500') - HimEx Everest Basecamp We made it to our 'home away from home' here near the Khumbu icefall (you can see the icefall to the right with the traditional BC located closer to the foot of the icefall and our camp in the foregroun) on the 9th as planned. As we crested the last ridge the clouds lifted providing us a stunning view of Everest. Despite the terrific last minute photographs AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) set in just as I arrived into camp. AMS has hit a number of us in a variety of ways throughout the trek in. No pain no gain gain! Fluids, rest, and the occasional med and I'm almost back to normal. Today and tomorrow are rest days to allow the acclimatization process to continue. Perhaps a visit to the traditional Everest basecamp (mentioned above) will be in order as rumor has it there is a bakery there. Yum! A shave (and maybe a shower) is on the list too.
We have settled into our tents unpacking all of our gear that the yaks carried up here all the way from Tengboche. Awesome creatures to say the least. Some of us have been taking advantage of the midday sun to do laundry (no, no wash machine here so back to the basics of hand washing). The white dome in our camp picture is a "relaxation dome" which includes reclining chairs, a mini-bar and even surround sound connected to the flat screen TV for watching movies. Okay, who ever said we were roughing it? :) Russell does an outstanding job of trying to bring some of the comforts of home to the mountain. Really great to be a part of this group as there will be plenty of tough days ahead. It is amazing how one gets so easily out of breath by just walking from point A to point B here, and that is on relatively flat ground! On the 12th the Buddhist monks will come to our camp to hold a Puja ceremony. They will ask the Gods for our safe passage up and down the mountain and bless our catas (silk scarves) and ice axes. This will be an incredible part of history to participate in for sure. I hope to send my dispatch after the ceremony with pictures for sure. Thanks again for all your terrific emails.