Wow! That is all I could say when we toddled into Himex’s Base Camp on Sunday afternoon. I had been to base camps before and I had seen Russell Brice’s setup at Cho Oyu in 2005, but this is just amazing. Alex, who I managed to catch up with just above Pheriche, and I wandered into camp at about 4pm and the first thing that struck us was a huge white dome tent, called the “White Pod”. Entering the dome, we were even more stunned. There we could find a bar, proper bar stools, an espresso machine, a flat screen television and deck chairs (I had better get my towel out and reserve a chair for tomorrow morning), where people lounge around. It actually felt like having arrived in a hotel on the moon – completely surreal!
Gazing at Mount Everest, which I have seen so many times during my ten years of visiting the Khumbu, felt very different on my walk to base camp. Whereas I used to look at it thinking that I could never imagine standing on top of it, I was actually wondering what I had let myself in for. It is so big and in a way it seemed a bit daunting, but exciting at the same time.
It is quite difficult for me to describe the scene at base camp, however, just imagine an explosion of orange, red and yellow in the shape of about 70 tents, 45 of which are for members, guides and Sherpas, and the other tents act as dining tents, toilet tents, communication tents, hospital tents etc. etc.
We are basically camped on top of a huge glacier, which constantly moves and which we can hear crack in the middle of the night. Last night I was woken up by a huge bang a couple of times, which was the sign of the moving glacier. It is actually very easy to forget where we are as there are carpets and plastic flowers in our dining tents, lights in our shower tents, and a flat screen television in our lovely white “pleasure dome”.
Our camp is a little bit further down than the “normal” Everest base camp and due to the fact that I had to rest today (I had not got a rest day in the past 5 days) I have not been up there yet. However, I think Alex and I will wander up there tomorrow to see what the other expeditions have to offer. The dynamics at base camp is quite interesting as most expeditions want to keep to themselves for the reason that they are worried about catching a flu or a bug from other expedition members, which would thwart their summit bid to the highest mountain in the world. So let’s see whether Alex and I will be welcome tomorrow at some of the team’s camps for a cup of tea.
Last but not least I want to thank my friends in Kathmandu for their lovely gift, which I opened upon my arrival at base camp. Sam, my flat and soulmate, organised for all my friends in Kathmandu to write me little messages on little pieces of paper, which she rolled up and put in a little box. The idea of “Billi’s Box” is to read one message per day as inspiration to climb Mount Everest. I was moved to tears when I opened it and I want to thank all of you for your kind support, without which I would probably never even have made it to Base Camp.
Thank you so much!
As the communication tent is very popular and crowded I am not sure when I will be able to write the next entry for my diary, however, I hope I will be in touch again towards the end of the week.