Sam: This is it.
Frodo: This is what?
Sam: If take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been.
Frodo: Come on Sam. Remember what Bilbo used to say, "It's a dangerous business Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 9: teahouses and yesterday's news

Day 9: teahouses and yesterday's news
Dingboche acclimatization day 2 
Elevation gain 0

Trek mate and I have been eating lunch at a different teahouse from the one we are staying at because ours isn't as nice. We have been favoring the Snow Lion, a large teahouse with an impressive large front yard and bakery, because of their service. Their customer service is very Western, meaning they smile and are prompt. I know i sound spoiled complaining about poor service in the middle of nowhere. But it does make me feel slightly more cheerful and that my $5 plate of lentils is worth the price. 

Also I like the Snow Lion because there is CNN satellite TV. The past couple days it's even my only source of news. Internet is too expensive for surfing the news. Today we learned about the ferry sinking in Korea and the continued search for the Malaysian airlines plane. 

We also saw a segment on CNN international on  the Everest avalanche. I had heard yesterday when it happened but hadn't seen any news reports until now. We saw a shot of a Sherpa in a hospital bed, amateur footage of the Khumbu ice fall (not during the avalanche), and trekkers much like ourselves on the non-climbing routes. 

It's hit the area here closely because Everest related business is the only profitable business in the region. I heard from a trekker that he saw a teahouse owner crying. Some of the teahouse owners also work on the various Himalayan climbing routes. In Phortse the teahouse owner had summitted. There was a certificate on the wall. 

The Everest Sherpas are among the most experienced given the difficulty of the climb. They set fixed ropes that their clients clip onto along the whole way up. Fixing the rope is, as you can imagine, of the most dangerous tasks. And the Khumbu ice fall, at the beginning of the path to the summit, is notorious for avalanches. The ice isn't stable and there are many crevasses that form as the heat of the sun melts the ice. 

I myself am in no danger of avalanches. I'm not even close to going near anything that requires technical climbing skills. No crampons or ice axes for me. But I do hope to see the Khumbu ice fall and the expedition tents when I get to base camp on day 11. 

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