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Everest 2003: EVEREST SPEED EXPEDITION®

Update


Update April 29: Above the Ice Fall - preparations for Camp 1 at 6,100m: During dinner a sherpa arrives at the Pyramid from Base Camp and he’s in bad shape. He needs help….Manuel, our expedition leader is a doctor and decides to put him in the decompression chamber immediately. After a while, he feels better and after a plate of hot rice and the heat from the stove, he completely recovers his strength…..we all feel much better…

I spent two days in solitude in the Pyramid and finally I feel ready to go up to Base Camp. Two mountain guides who work for the Italian National Research Center, Ugo and Beppe, accompany me along the long walk to my new home…

A splendid day greets us and the joy I feel inside swells with the spectacle before me…the stones and permanent snowfields of the great Everest moraine become my path. After a three and a half hour hike I can see the myriad colours of the tents at Base Camp. It looks like a field of snow with hundreds flowers…

The Camp is big. It takes half an hour to cross it and we have to cross all of it because our tents are right at the end, just a few yards from the legendary Ice Fall.

Now, we are all together again, ready to officially inaugurate Base Camp. The Puja is a ceremony conducted by the Sherpas for those ascending Everest… Early in the morning, Sherpas, cooks, helpers gather all kinds of food: rice, biscuits, butter, apples, and baskets filled with edibles. They light a fire and burn incense and branches of juniper brought from the lower valleys.

The Lama arrives and begins the ceremony, reading the texts of the Tibetan prayers…A long pole is decorated with prayer flags, and flags representing all the nations present, the Italian flag, the Nepalese flag and the Olympic flag with its five rings representing the union of all nations….

Dorjie, the head sherpa, (sirdar) instructs us all to bring our ice axes and crampons to the base of the Chorten for the blessing. The ceremony becomes a mixture of incense, bowing and thanksgiving. Altogether, we throw rice in the air and the Sherpas cover our faces with flour, and donate offerings and songs to the elements….asking the mountain for pardon because, in part, we profane the mountain by climbing it.

This marks the real beginning of our climb.

The following morning, Fabio, Silvano and Filippo along with two Sherpas, ascend to prepare Camp 1 at 6,100m altitude, leaving the Ice Fall behind them. Manuela Di Centa 

Dispatches

Pictures copyright Italy Everest Speed Expedition

 





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