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Everest South Side Expedition
Tarragona Everest 2003


05/14/03: Base Camp

Calm at Base Camp, sunny and comfortable temperatures.  Strong winds above in the summit won't let us do the attack.  The weather forecasts announce a possible window from the 19th so the attack will be delayed even more.  There is no other thing than to have patience and wait.  Three of our expeditioneers are advanced base camp waiting for the good news that never come and the rest of us are waiting for the same at Base.  We spend the time the best we can, with good conversations, card games...  The general situation at Base Camp is similar, the rest of the expeditions are also waiting like us, some more nervous than others, walking up and down talking about the weather conditions and waiting for the day of the attack.  The trekking organized by Sergi Mingote came to Everest's Base Camp today, and among the walkers was his father who has made it without problems, just the same like the rest.  We would like to say hello to Ricard Llutart and his family, who donated some fantastic hazelnuts.  Thanks to all the expedition.  We'll be in touch.

Picture of hazelnuts

05/14/03: More chores

Since we spent the day at base and we don't know what to do, we organized the big tent which was a mess.  The glacier is melting and there was no chair with its four feet on the ground, so with the help of our Sherpas who are bored too, we set up the tent.  Now it looks different.  As a second anecdote we have to mention the fall of Joan Carles who was easily walking above the ice when the layer came off and his leg fell deep inside the water.  You have to be more careful!

05/15/03: Everest's glacier

Everest's Base Camp is some 5,400 meters above sea level and is sitting on a glacier.  This year some 30 expeditions have settled here, each one of them with their respective Sherpas and all their materials, which is a lot.  This glacier is covered by a big layer of granite stones and rock that have been accumulating on the ice forming a big desert of stones.  What is more curious is the constant movement of the terrain.  With the higher temperatures, the glacier ice melts and makes the stones and rocks move creating new spaces and destroying others, so it makes us, the expeditioneers and the Sherpas, rebuild our camps, adding stones to the empty spaces or changing the location of the tents.  It is not problematic, when you walk around base camp and you realize the landscape has changed and one or another has wake up upside down.

Glacier

05/15/03: Sherpas at Base Camp

Everest's Base Camp would be like any other Sherpa town, but a town that works for the expeditioneers that come to climb the mountains.  There constantly come and go Sherpas loaded with food, materials and debris.  When the expeditions get to Base Camp, those who want it can attend a Buddhist ceremony that asks for protection from the gods and prayers are said, incense is burnt and rice is thrown to the wind.  By the end of the ceremony, collars for good luck are given to the expeditioneers which will protect them from evil.  All Base Camp is guarded by lines of flags that give it a festive air.  They are pieces of colored cloth that have prayers for Buddha written on them and which send their prayers to heaven thanks to the wind that moves them.  Around the camp, there are altars where the Sherpas do their praying.  In many of them you can see a picture of the Dalai Lama, the flag of the expedition for which they work and incense in a corner, burnt for the gods just before leaving for the summit.

Sherpa with basket

05/16/03: Internet café at Base Camp

This year at Everest's Base Camp we have an Internet-Café.  It is called "Everest Surfer Project". In this establishment you can also buy beer and Coca-Cola at the cheap price of 150 rupees (2 dollars)

Internet café entrepreneurs

Inside the café

05/16/03: Hygiene at Base Camp

Personal hygiene at Base Camp is no easy task.  As you can imagine we don't have running water, so we have no other option than to ask for "tatopani" (hot water) to our Sherpa cook, who always comes smiling with a barrel of boiling water.  We lock up in a square canvas place which we made ourselves and we wash the best we can.  We only do this when there is good weather, because if it is cold there is nobody who would get undressed.  So you can see that shower days are few.  What we indeed do on a daily basis is to brush our teeth, wash our face and hands and if its been a while without a shower, we wash our head inside the tent, which is very gratifying.  Some of us also shave, using a "gillete" and a dish of water.  Another delicate topic is the toilet.  We have a little tent located on a stone altar.  In the middle, there is a barrel with a garbage bag and, well... not everybody hits the target.

Translated by Jorge Rivera

Dispatches

 





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