Thursday, 17 April 2014
The day dawned bright and sunny. While our tents are crusted with frost in the morning, the moment the sun hits them, everything warms up.
We celebrated the puja for our expedition in the late morning. It is a Buddhist blessing ceremony attended by our entire team and staff. The Sherpas built a large square altar out of stone. On and around it were placed items of significance, like bowls of rice, delicate butter sculptures, cups of chang (a sort of rice beer), fried breads and other food. A lama came up from Pangboche to conduct the ceremony. Our climbers sat with himn ion the middle of a tarp. The rest of us ringed the group. He offered Buddhist prayers and blessings for the safe passage of all persons. During the 1.5 hour ceremony, he chanted mantras, rang bells and banged a small drum.
In the middle of the ceremony, our Sherpas erected a wooden pole in the middle of the altar, securing it with ropes on all sides. The pole has a long, white, vertical Tibetan prayer flag. From it, they tied four long strands of multi-colored prayer flags. The flags now cover almost all of our camp. Several hundred feet of flags now flutter prayers over us all.
At the end of the ceremony, Lauren and Jetha arrived to great fanfare. They had spent the night at Gorek Shep and walked up in the morning. It was wonderful to have them with us for the blessings.
Sadly, Carol and Danny decided not to make the trek up to EBC. After the Kongma la day, Carol was not feeling strong enough to continue. They walked down to Pangboche. Tomorrow, they will head for the comforts of the Panorama Lodge in Namche for a night before walking to Lukla for a flight to Kathmandu and on to Bangkok. I shall miss their company and Danny's wonderfully inventive stories. We wish them well.
We are slowly unpacking our things here in EBC and getting set up for the earnest work of the climbers. Everyone is in excellent health and feeling strong.
Lots of love to our family and friends.
Posted by: Scott Williams
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
Lama arrives and puja begins
Steve, Shane and Sherpa climbing crew
Stringing prayer flags all over camp
Lauren arrives in EBC just at the end of puja