Base Camp! Finally! Pemba and I waltz into EBC greeted by the entire Sherpa and HRA staffs - it's as if they knew our exact time of arrival. A couple Katas and cups of tea later and I were immersed in deep conversations with the docs. The Sherpa staff is made up of Pemba (head cook), Karma and Nema (assistance cooks) and Pemba and Kame, my climbing sherpas. The HRA staff is Dr. Eric Johnson and Dr Torrey Goodman, who will both be here until the last climber, Lapka, the HRA sherpa assistance, Dr Luanne Freer, the brains behind the HRA, and her companion Gary, both of whom will leave in a couple of days.
Gary, Luanne and Rohan
HRA - Himalayan Rescue Association provides medical services for climbers and trekkers in Everest Base Camp. We're sharing base camp this season because Peak Promotion is responsible for setting up their base camp infrastructure.
The day flew by in a jiffy, because I was talking to several folks and even had a bunch of visitors of people who I met along the trails and some who were expecting me in camp. Some of the people include, Mark Tucker, IMG's BC manager, Panuru and Danuru, IMG climbing sherpas and Scott, my climbing partner. I maybe climbing solo, but I'm by no means alone or lonely. It's difficult for me to find time for me, but I'm not complaining.
Pemba leaving Gorak Shep going to EBC
It's a milling with activity here. It is very evident that the who of who in mountaineering is in EBC this season. Russell Brice's Himex has a very luxurious and spacious camp on the entrance to BC. As I was making my way to EBC today this guy on crutches came up behind me banging his crutches really loud as he scampered along on my heal, so I moved over. As he rested up the trail, I passed him and a few moments later he banged his crutches on my heals again . Scott, my climbing partner who's with IMG visited later that day and told me that that was Russell Brice, of Discovery Channel's Everest show. Russell had his knee scraped a
few days before and had flown into Sangboche and trekked to EBC in two or three days on crutches. Our base camp is in the middle of all the big boys, except for HimEx, who's by themselves.
The weather wasn't that great today, so Pemba and I decided to go directly to EBC, instead of sticking with our plans of climbing Kaala Patar first. Peak Promotion has made me feel right at home every step along the way and base camp was more validation of my decision to climb with these guys. Wongchu, the owner of Peak Promotion, is well known and is so concerned about me he made arrangements for me to call him along the trail to see how I'm doing. I paid less than what I paid last year, but I feel like I'm getting twice as much. We order each meal from a menu. There's internet access (when it works - frustrating), charging stations, showers, laundry, heaters for the dining tent, etc...
I got to EBC four days faster than I did last year; however, I like I did after I was here for four days. Needless to say, I'm feeling great, despite the oxygen deficit!