The group had an eventful last day before our planned arrival in Base Camp tomorrow. After breakfast we started out through a light layer of snow from the previous night and visited the pyramid, an Italian climatologic research facility which was located in a beautiful valley. From there we took the high trail to Gorak Shep which is much less travelled than the usual yak trail, following the top of the lateral moraine of the Kumbu glacier. There were incredible views of Nuptse, and Pumo RI, in addition to our first views of the actual glacier with the location of base camp. The wind was a beast, however, and we all received dermabrasians for free. After lunch and a rest, about half the group took a chance ascending Kala Patar in the hopes of catching sunset on Everest and were rewarded with a great view of a snow avalanche on Nuptse, and while Everest didn’t catch the full sun, the mountains around it were brightly illuminated making for some incredible pictures. This evening at dinner we have already seen one case of high altitude pulmonary edema and cerebral edema with several people we are concerned about—not a big surprise now that we are at 17,000 feet.
The group continues to do well beyond expected aches and pains of walking. Greg refuses to act his age after his birthday and led the group most of the morning. Suzy and Sanjiv are busy holding an Impromptu clinic in the tea house. We are planning genetic testing on David S. as he continues to run up and down hills off the side of the main trail with entirely too much energy. Matt’s appetite remains awesome even with altitude. Colleen somehow found the breath to serenade us with Italian arias at the pyramid. JB and Diana came within 100 feet of the summit of Kala Patar searching for Batman. Jasmine continues to keep us upbeat with her enthusiasm. Czarina was excited to see the Tibetan border today from the hike. Eric and Tony continue to dispense wisdom. A special howdy to the Texans at home, especially Colleen, Emily, Sarah, and Kate.