I feel lucky to have such a great group of people with me on this expedition. It is because of these people that I am in high spirits for most of the time. Only yesterday we were laughing our heads off at the dinner table after eight hours of trekking and the days go by fast exchanging thoughts and opinions with the group. We seem to find humour in every little thing. The feeling of togetherness is strong and there is always a helping hand to reach for when in need. Taping my Achilles tendon was a snap for a member of our group and everyone is willing to lend their stuff if someone has forgotten something. I can’t think of anything that would be more important for our success than the team spirit.
Now that we are at over 4000 metres we should be expecting the first symptoms of high altitude. The importance of team spirit is emphasized when feelings are low. I personally have been feeling great and actually, I seem to be feeling better the higher we go. However, 4000 metres is not even half of the height we will be reaching for, so everything is possible.
I no longer suffer from an upset stomach, which affected me for several days. I feel strong. From here on, the villages and the accommodations as well as the food will be all the more simple. My greatest wish is to stay healthy. Our path up to Base Camp is surrounded by the snowcapped mountains; Thamserku, Ama Dablam and of course, Everest. Their presence is enormous and I can’t wait to get started with the actual mountain climbing. However, I am grateful for having the opportunity to experience this journey to the top of the world and getting to share it with my group. Even if I didn’t reach the summit, the journey there has been remarkable, even more important than the goal itself.
We have finally reached the point where we are about to leave behind the civilization as we know it. From now on, there will be neither stores nor cell phone or internet connections. After that, I will rely on the satellite reception. People who live here are very poor and their life resembles Finland in the 50’s. Yaks are still used for ploughing the fields and chickens run around the village free. The children keep collecting the yak excrement to be used as a fuel and the food is cooked on a wood-heated open flame. Signs of Buddhism can be seen everywhere. There are stupas and prayer fences in every village and prayer flags can be seen even on yaks’ backs. For Sherpas, these mountains are holy and this morning the local lamas blessed us. As the lamas were blessing the Sherpas for the climb, the Sherpas’ facial expressions revealed quite a lot. Respect and fear were written all over their faces. Climbing Everest is not a game. Blessed Kata scarves in our backpacks to bring us good luck and singi strings around our necks, our trek to Everest Base Camp continues.