Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Up to Lobuche Base Camp

Everest 2015  •  April 5

In my efforts to keep the blog updated, I am assisted greatly by the wifi here in the airport waiting area!  First good connection in many weeks…. I will resume where the blog left off, exactly a month ago, with a post from 4-5-15.

Lots has happened since then… But I will not edit these posts in any way, they were all written in real-time and have been sitting on my laptop, ready to go.  It is sad, in a way, now knowing of the tragedy of the quake.  At the time, of course, we had no idea it was coming.  So, here you go… will keep updating these as time permits when I am back in the states.

4-5-15

Big move today!   Out of Pheriche, the last true town we will see until the end of the expedition, and up to Lobuche base camp.

Leaving Pheriche was a stunning surprise: Pure sunshine!  The snowfall from the prior evening stopped somewhere in the wee hours, and we were left with beautiful conditions and a world purified with a thin dusting of white.  Totally different from what we had expected, in a good way.  Yak paddies surrounded by stone fences looked like they belonged in The Hobbit.  Gradual trudge up to the tiny hamlet of Dukla, where we enjoyed hot drinks and the company of adorable feral dogs.

We move towards Lobuche under clear skies, on frozen ground.
We move towards Lobuche under clear skies, on frozen ground.
Lobuche East, our next objective.
Lobuche East, our next objective.
Stone fences and pristine yak paddies... everything looks clean and new under the snow.
Stone fences and pristine yak paddies… everything looks clean and new under the snow.

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Yak train leaving Pheriche.
Yak train leaving Pheriche.
Photo: Justin Merle
Kantega looms in the background.  (Photo: Justin Merle)
Trekking out of Pheriche.
Trekking out of Pheriche.
At a break on the way up.  (Photo: Justin Merle)
At a break on the way up. (Photo: Justin Merle)
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LC on the way up. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Cholatse seen from just beyond Pheriche.
Cholatse seen from just beyond Pheriche.
Gnarly lines invite bold climbers all around us... I'm happy to stick with the traditional routes up here, this stuff is steep!
Gnarly lines invite bold climbers all around us… I’m happy to stick with the traditional routes up here, this stuff is steep!
Headed up to the tiny hamlet of Dukla, where we take a break.
Headed up to the tiny hamlet of Dukla, where we take a break.
My homage to a photo from the 2013 Team Exxtreme exit from Aconcagua.
My homage to a photo from the 2013 Team Exxtreme exit from Aconcagua.  (Photo: Blake Penson)
Blake successfully battles GI issues with great aplomb...
Blake successfully battles GI issues with great aplomb…
Antenna cluster in Dukla, protected by prayer flags.  Still, no 3G here!
Antenna cluster in Dukla, protected by prayer flags. Still, no 3G here!
Blake and Andy awaiting tea in Dukla. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Blake and Andy awaiting tea in Dukla. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Kara always looks awesome.  (Photo: Kim Hess)
Kara always looks awesome. (Photo: Kim Hess)
Justin works on his beard.  (Photo: Kim Hess)
Justin works on his beard. (Photo: Kim Hess)
Andy rocks the Buff.  (Photo: Kim Hess)
Andy rocks the Buff. (Photo: Kim Hess)
Doing my best to avoid the UV up there.  (Photo: Kim Hess)
Doing my best to avoid the UV up there. (Photo: Kim Hess)
Doing my best to reduce UV exposure on the way up.
Again, doing my best to reduce UV exposure on the way up.
Nicole and Siva grinding it out on the way above Dukla.
Nicole and Siva grinding it out on the way above Dukla.
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Kim (“Atomic Girl”) makes everything look easy. (Photo: Justin Merle)

Higher still, we finally encountered true snow, which was a couple feet deep as we pulled into camp.  The staff here have spent DAYS shoveling down to bare ground and setting up the tents, making it a very enjoyable place to stay.  In a sense, the trek to this point has been a bit of a test, a gauntlet of tea houses where we were never fully in charge of the hygiene or air quality.  Here, we are truly in a campsite that IMG has built, and things are warm and bright and cheerful and private and quiet and under our control.  And, the view is stunning with the austere, massive, sheer face of Cholatse watching over us from across the valley.  We will spend three nights here, further acclimatizing before moving to EBC.

Moving to LBC, under the watchful eye of Cholatse.
Moving to LBC, under the watchful eye of Cholatse.
Photo: Blake Penson
Photo: Blake Penson

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Above the terminal moraine below Cholatse.
Above the terminal moraine below Cholatse.
Blake: Always up for a hero's pose.
Blake: Always up for a hero’s pose.
Cresting the hill before LBC.
Cresting the hill before LBC.  (Photo: Justin Merle)
Sorry?  Say again?  We can't hear you over the sound of HOW AWESOME WE ARE.
Sorry? Say again? We can’t hear you over the sound of HOW AWESOME WE ARE. (Photo: Justin Merle)
The basin containing LBC is revealed.  Lots of snow here!
The basin containing LBC is revealed. Lots of snow here!  (Photo: Blake Penson)
LBC awaits....
LBC awaits….
Some of our tents at LBC.  (Photo: Blake Penson)
Some of our tents at LBC. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Milling around the dining tents.  (Photo: Blake Penson)
Milling around the dining tents. (Photo: Blake Penson)
The dining tents have no floors, inviting rivers of snowmelt during the day.  (Photo: Blake Penson)
The dining tents have no floors, inviting rivers of snowmelt during the day. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Blake filters out the dust... and beard hair.  (Photo: Justin Merle)
Blake filters out the dust… and beard hair. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Andy and Justin, two awesome guides.  (Photo: Justin Merle)
Andy and Justin, two awesome guides. (Photo: Justin Merle)
"I salute your vigor."  (Photo: Justin Merle)
“I salute your vigor.” (Photo: Justin Merle)

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