October 21, 2009
Cory and I were awakened this morning by the sound of a familiar and friendly voice, my friend Chhewang Nima. He walked from his village, about an hour away from the place we were staying, to tell us that he would be able to join us on our trip. I was very excited, as Chhewang is always a joy to work with, and he has a laugh that just makes me smile. I met him in 2008 on my first Everest expedition, working for Alpine Ascents. He is one of the most accomplished Sherpa guides on Everest, with an amazing 17 summits. He works all over the Himalaya and also comes out to Mount Rainier in the summer to volunteer with the National Park (and, of course, climb a few times).
With Chhewang joining us, we headed up a secluded valley towards his home. Our destination for the night would be 2,000 feet higher than the night before, at 13,200 feet. We made a quick stop at Chhewang’s home, where his father was busy making yak wool into yarn and his mother made sure we had many cups of tea before continuing on for a few hours to our stop for the night. The Sherpa people, who are a tribe that migrated from Tibet to Nepal, are amazingly genuine and kind. I feel lucky to be around a group of people that can so readily form a community.
As we settled in our teahouse for the night, Cory and I were asked to join the family and porters for some afternoon aloo (potatoes) and corsoni (pepper paste). The Sherpas laughed at Cory and me trying to peel the potatoes … I guess we will need some practice!
Tomorrow we will head over the Renjo La pass and reach an altitude of 17,200 feet. It will be hard so early in our trip, but of course it will offer the acclimatization that we need. We will also get our first views of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu, a sight that never seems to get old.
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