Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gorek Shep to Base Camp of Everest Day 31 17/08/08

Day 31 (slide show)
Today is the day. we left at 7am for base camp. It was hard to sleep at 16,000ft. (4877m) Just as you fall asleep you suddenly wake up gasping for air. Then after a few mumbles you fall asleep again. My nose and mouth are so dry up here. I can't drink enough water. So off we go. All 12 of us. Even though I'm not getting along with our guide I have to say that he at least got us all to this point. So many parties I've meet have members who dropped back for many different reasons. Every time I see them their party is smaller. The trail is the roughest so far and it changes due to the rock slides from glacier melt. Were told it takes about 2hr to reach base camp but as we went past this one spot we were told that it was the old camp at about 1 1/2hr from Gorak Shep. It's listed as 16,800ft. (5121m) As we went past it and you can see why it was abandoned. The glacier is melting fast. Now you must climb even higher to reach the new camp. Something about base camp that most folks don't hear about. The main trekking season goes from Sept. to June. The camp is set up and opened for that time. For climbers attempting to summit the season is Mar. through the first week of June. During this time there are way to many people at the camp. Late June the camp is closed and cleaned. Everything is packed and taken down the mountain then the next season it is assembled again. So were hiking along this small trail and it starts to turn out onto the glacier. Just about that time our guide and his three assistants come down the line of our group following the trail. They start shaking our hands and saying "we made it" and "congratulations". I look around at the area. "Somethings Wrong" (Junior Watson, Bluesman). But the camp is always at the base of the mountain I'm thinking. I had seen many pictures of it in the season and there is no way you would set up such a large camp in this area. Now I've been on many high altitude glaciers and camped on them for many nights on Mt. Rainer in Washington. So I know that you don't put a camp where we were standing. As I look around I see the base of the mountain ahead and were still several thousand meters from it. At this spot there was no sign or leveled area where hundreds of tents were just two months earlier. As I look at our group the Brits were all pissing their pants and one guy was crying like a baby. Only Paul was standing there looking like he wasn't sure. Just about then our guide walks by me and I say "this isn't it" he stops and claimed "this is it, yes it is". One Brit named Kevin who was standing off to the side steps in and tells the guide "I guess we would never know if it was or wasn't" the guide says "It is ya, it is" and walks away. Now everyone is very tired, I'm very tired and exhausted so I just stand there like an idiot. This is where I'm very mad at myself for not making a scene and demanding we talk about this. I took a few pic's and then Paul and I switched camera's. You can see in the shots that I'm not to happy. About that time two guy's came walking up. It was the Belgian that I had played cards with two nights earlier in Pheriche. His name was Julian Einhauser. Nice kid about 25 years old, trekking on his own with his own guide. I turned to him and said "our guide says this is base camp" he looked his guide and then pointed towards the base of the mountain ahead. His guide says were about a kilometer short. Julian looked at Paul and I "were going on" he said. I wanted to go with them but just then our guide who was behind me says "no you stay with us". Julian's guide said I better stay too. So I did. They walked away up the glacier. As I watched them I didn't notice that our group was organizing behind me into a group photo. Everything was moving so fast. Paul yells at me to get in the picture. I didn't have time to offer my camera to the pile of camera's. The assistant guide was taking the shot. So I don't have a group shot. I was in total amazement. I really felt ripped off. What do you do I thought. The rest of the group was enjoying the moment and I didn't want to spoil it for them. Now I know I should have. They didn't want me there anyway. But I didn't do anything except stand there. On the way down I was convinced this guide sold us short. For what reason I don't know except he knew he had most of the group wrapped around his finger so I guess he just thought these idiots won't know. I don't want to walk up that glacier. On the way down I was stopped by on of the Taiwan members that I had talked to before, he asked" how is it" I didn't have the hart to tell him we didn't make it. I told him it was Shanghai La. He started to laugh. As we approached Gorak Shep I ran into Goldberg from Israel. He asked "how far is to the camp". I told him "about two hours". He said that another trekker had told him it was 3 to 31/2 hours. "What did you run up there" he asked. I just smiled and walked away. As I entered the Tea House I could see everyone was very tired and so I decided to be quite. There wasn't any reason to ruin their moment and I didn't have any proof. I'm tired too.

Here is a pretty good map I found of the Mt.Everest base Camp trail. Take a look at it. It looks like I misspelled some of the names of the villages along the way but I will change that when I get my computer. It takes to much time and of course in these cybercafes your always on the clock. I just discovered that the spell check on the computer is only in Czech. Its always something.