Base Camp 5350 m

Carina Räihä tent Everest Base Camp

Suddenly, the daunting icefall with its huge blocks of ice and crevasses begins to seem inviting. It feels inexplicable to think that in only a few days I will be climbing up and down in the middle of those huge, building-sized blocks of ice and the enormous crevasses. During the last days and nights, I have been watching and listening to several avalanches and rocks coming down the mountainside. However, in daylight the place looks intriguing. According to the leader of our expedition, the so called ice doctors have yet to figure out the safest route to cross this unpredictable icefall and we have to wait for a couple of days before we can start climbing.

On the other hand I am glad I don’t have to climb just yet. The cold that started bothering me four days ago has gotten worse and it changed from me having an extremely sore throat to having a runny and stuffy nose. Eating is hard and getting better in these altitudes seems to take forever. I guess I have infected the bug to some other members of our expedition as they are feeling quite sick as well. I am happy to say that I am getting better and I expect to be feeling normal in a couple of days. Just to be safe, I will visit the Himalayan Rescue Association today. It is the Base Camp hospital.

On our way to Base Camp we passed by the stone memorials, which have been founded on the mountain in memory of those who have lost their lives on Everest. Some fell silent and some even shed tears. For me the place was more of a majestically beautiful final resting place. Though half in jest, I meant every word when I told the leader of the expedition that would like to be buried here on the mountain if I should die on this journey. Amidst the climbers, it has become a tradition that if you die on the mountain, your body will be placed into a crevasse so that it will be close to the mountains which the deceased loved so much.

Although there are risks in sight, nobody thinks about the worst. On the contrary. Everyone looks at the challenge seriously but at the same we feel easy about it. We are trying to save our strength and humour works in our favour. During the day, while we are relaxing in our tents or outside enjoying the sunshine, it is hard to think about the real challenges that we will be faced with on the mountain. We will be facing the reality in the Sherpa Puja ceremony, which is a religious ritual that is held before any Sherpa will climb the holy mountain. We will be attending the ceremony tomorrow. Besides us, our gear will also be blessed in the ceremony. In the ceremony, the Mother Goddess of the Earth i.e. Mount Everest, will be asked for a blessing for a safe and successful climb to the top.

Although reaching the top is our goal, we are knitted together by the idea that the most important thing is the journey to the top rather than reaching the top itself. Of course I will be disappointed if my journey ends in me getting sick, for example. However, the journey would have been worth the effort. I already know that I have not only wonderful experiences to take home with me from this journey but many great friendships as well. The beginning of the actual climb is at hand and I can’t wait for the greatest challenge of my life to start so I can push myself to the limits.