Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nepal2011: Everest Base Camp

It is a cold, desolate, hilly climb along the Khumbu Glacier from Gorek Shep (5164m / 16942ft) to Everest Base Camp (5364m / 17598ft). The air has 50% less oxygen than at sea level.  Our lungs struggle to fuel our bodies, and our muscles retaliate as we push them relentlessly on half-rations of oxygen.  The rocky moraine and the aging glacier ensure there is no sustainable vegetation or animal life here.   

The massive faces of Everest, Nuptse, and Lhotse tower above us.  It seems natural to feel very small in this place.  The big mountains seem intimidating, and certainly not inviting.  

It is customary and respectful to hang Prayer Flags

We all felt honoured and privileged to be here. Everest Base Camp is a special place.  For some, it is a lifetime bucket-list highlight.  For others it is the destination at the end of a long trekk. 

But for the 5 cancer survivors there was a special connecting bond.

We spontaneously joined in a circular huddle with eyes closed and heads bowed.  To us, it seemed the wind and snow stopped, and the 5 of us were alone. We each experienced our personal flashback - from the cancer, through treatment, through recovery, to standing together at Everest Basecamp.  As if controlled by a single mind, we simultaneously raised our heads and met the eyes of our fellow survivors. 
One survivor said 
'We are alive, and We are here on Everest’
Emotions were shown by some, felt by all
Thankful, Joyful, Peaceful, Proud, Hopeful

The huddle split into a line, Ashok joined us, and someone took this picture. 
Living is hard.  Life is a struggle.  Enjoy it.   

1 comment:

  1. Paul am as always in awed of your bucket list, your stamina and your spirit

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