It’s been a wonderful few days. I left the village of Phortse with a Sherpa named Phinjo. He was with us in 2014 and is a wonderful guy. He also used to be a monk at the Tengboche monastery for several years!
First stop was the village of upper Pangboche and a very special visit. Here lives Lama Geishi. Every climber on an expedition to Everest stops here to receive a blessing from Lama Geishi. It is a truly Himalayan experience, especially when alone with Lama Geishi and Phinjo. We had some tea in the kitchen before meeting the Lama, who still occupies the same seat by the window overlooking the snow covered mountains as last time I saw him!
The Lama ties a small string around your neck, performs a ceremony and the blessing is done. Such a genuine experience.
We continued up the valley to the tiny village of Pheriche and my favorite place to stay on the trek, the Himalayan Hotel. Almost all climbers stop here and you always meet interesting people. This time I met Casey, a veteran Everest summiter and climber, who is currently a guide for RMI, one of the highly respected guiding companies. Was great to learn from him and hang out!
Next day was a rest day, in which Phinjo and I climbed the adjacent peak to 5,100m. I then went to the daily talk by the HRA, a non-profit medical organization which helps tourist and locals here in the mountains. After learning more about altitude sickness there was a yoga class! I generally hate yoga, but as this class – on this day – is going into the Guinness World Records as the highest yoga class, I figured it was worth it. It was!
The next day we took a little detour to the village of Chukung, nestled between some of the great Himalayan peaks. Fabulous! Watching the sunrise hit the high peaks with a pink glow was a privilege. Makes getting up in the below zero temps worth it!
We climbed Chukung Ri, 5,550m / 18,200ft for acclimatization and marveled at the view. Our pace felt mellow, perhaps mellow+ at the top, but we still climbed at a solid 1,500ft an hour. It felt like a lot of reward for not much work. Every day is special here!
I’m feeling strong and enjoying life. I smile constantly and feel so happy and grateful for where I am. Long may this continue!