Unwinding Everest Base Camp
Friday, 25 April 2014
Yesterday, Steve and Martin walked down to Pangboche. This morning, Barbara, Shane and Jeff followed suit. Although the walk up to EBC took us more than a week for acclimitization, descending to Pangboche takes only about 7-8 hours.
It was sad to say goodbye to our climbers and it brought home the reality that this expedition is ending. Before they left, there was lots of talk ahbout "putting the band back together" in 2016.
With climbers gone, we began the serious work of dismantling our camp. Nima Tashi evicted Jim and me from the dining tent, so it could be flattened and packed. Crates, boxes and blue barrels were loaded with all manner of gear. In the morning, Nima's yaks arrive to haul things down. Due to environmental rules, they are not allowed to stay overnight at EBC, holding instead at Gorek Shep (about 2 hours away).
For a place that seems utterly devoid of life (other than ever-present the ravens and yellow-billed chuffs), the area around EBC is surprisingly dymamic. Our camp sits on the Khumbu Glacier, with its constant pops, bangs, and crumbling rocks. In the sun, water wells up from the rocky crust and trickles downhill, carving small streams. In the afternoons, winds grow and clouds come in. Snow flurries are common. One night, we thunder rolled up the valley and 3 inches of snow blanketed the camp. From all sides, rockslides and avalanches cascade down the steep slopes. At night, we hear the rumbling slides from within our tents.
Sadly, just a week ago, the dynamic nature of the place turned deadly. A large, hanging glacier from base of Everest's West Ridge released a torrent of ice blocks early in the morning. It killed 16 Sherpa climbers and injured 9 more. It also released a complicated set of events that cancelled the Everest spring climbing season for this year. We mourne the lost and hope the injured are returned to their families and villages soon. The mountain remains unchanged and will be here in the future.
Tomorrow, we bid a premature goodbye to our camp and walk down to Pangboche.
Lots of love to our family and friends.
Posted by: Scott Williams
Please consider providing support for dead and injured Sherpa: TheJuniperFund.org
Blogs by other members of the expedition
Shane - http://HeartHealthyEverestClimb2014.blogspot.com
Steve - http://Wetumpka2Everest.blogspot.com
Jeff - http://www.highpeakadventures.com/high_peak_adventures/web_log/web_log.html