5- City life in BC April 25, 2003 Everest BC
City, Population 800. Yes, I think that we should have
this on a sign at the beginning of Base Camp. This year
marks the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of
Everest, and there are so many people here, Base Camp is
like its own small city. Damian and I have been resting
here at BC for the past few days, and so I have had
lots of time to observe life as it goes on here.
In recent seasons past, there
have been 15 or so teams. This year, there are 29. The citizens of our "city"
range from serious climbers to climbers dreaming of being climbers. And like
in all cities, the citizens here are defending their dream property. Everyone
make fences built from stones and ropes, with signs posted explaining that you
are trespassing, and that the ice fall route is in the other direction.
Our city has a lot to offer.
We are proud to say that we have an internet bar, although the coffee is
replaced with a salty version of tea- "sherpa tea". There is also a small
store where yak meat from the previous season is right now on sale. (We think
that the clinic is secretly involved in this, in an attempt to increase the
amount of consultations and the sale of imodium!!!!) The Indian Company is
running a movie theater, with a proud 25" T.V. The show of today is the
classic "Nocaly is chasing Pemba"- a lot of singing but not much action!
Also, we have a volunteer hospital. It is run by a non-profit organization,
who charges the Sherpas a modest sum of $35 per consultation.
Many crazy things happen here
in Everest City. There is a team from England that intends to carry an ironing
board to the top. At the moment, we are working on convincing them to set up
a laundry mat, because a city like ours, without a laundry service, is a
biological hazard. At least they could set up an ironing service, because
after all, they are professionals you know. They have been carrying that
board all over the planet!
I am slightly concerned about
an octogenarian, originally from the Land of the Rising Sun, who has the
intent of converting our serious and proud ice hockey skating field (the
Lhotse face, a stadium with a modest average of inclination 55/65
degrees), into an extreme ice run.
We have not set up a City
Council yet, however today, the 25th of April, at 4:30 pm, there is a meeting
at the mess tent of the Indian/Royal Army team. All team leaders will be
present, and the organization and coordination of all team plans will be
discussed. I have been invited to this meeting as an honorary citizen of
Everest City, and as an expert adviser in building roads up this mountain.
There are a few other things
I think we should discuss at this meeting. With so many teams here, I think
we need to establish a white pages phone directory, which in this
case, would list our radio frequency. I also think that with all of the
hoards of climbers going up Everest and Lhotse, we should put in a road like
the Californian freeway. A road that goes through the ice fall, C2, C3, C4,
and finally the summit. This would make fixing the ropes for all of them so
much easier! The "climbers dreaming to be climbers" here are like bad
Californian drivers. We can only pray to be safe of harsh weather, because we
all know what Californian drivers are like, on Californian freeways,
especially when the weather turns bad!
And finally, like all towns,
this one also has its own set of weirdos. That would be us- the crazy brothers
who have a little tent in the middle of nowhere, at the upper part of the
Valley of the Silence, near the imposing flanks of the north spur of Nuptse.
We are planning to open a new road, one suitable only for serious four wheel
drivers. The name of that road will be "the Fatai Sarpa Nuptse", The Crystal
Snake of Nuptse.
Approaching the snake