Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

Jump to helpful navigation →

Puja and a Walk

Everest 2016  •  April 10

Just as last year, we were fortunate to be involved in a Puja, or blessing ceremony, at EBC.  The purpose of the Puja is to ask respectfully for safe passage on the upper mountain from Miolangsangma, the goddess who lives there and presides over all that happens here.  There have been two tragic seasons leading up to this year, and some all took this very seriously.  It was a lovely ceremony, capped with dancing and drinking.  Just as last year, I ended up with tsampa flour in all sorts of unexpected places.  A time for happiness and indulgence… if only we did not have to walk to LBC!

The Puja altar, with lama Dorje at center stage.  We all sit behind him, facing the altar, and contemplating the route beyond.
The Puja altar, with lama Dorje at center stage. We all sit behind him, facing the altar, and contemplating the route beyond.
Butter is placed atop each of the three symbolic peaks... birds like butter!
Butter is placed atop each of the three symbolic peaks… birds like butter!
Some of the ornate, tasty foods placed at the altar.
Some of the ornate, tasty foods placed at the altar.
Various drinks are blessed during the ceremony.
Various drinks are blessed during the ceremony.
The Sherpa working for IMG are all here... this ceremony is very important for them, as it is for all of us.
The Sherpa working for IMG are all here… this ceremony is very important for them, as it is for all of us.
Phinjo Sherpa, one of our great climbing guides, and a former student at a Buddhist monastery.
Phinjo Sherpa, one of our great climbing guides, and a former student at a Buddhist monastery.
The central mast, carved from a single sacred tree, is hoisted into position during the ceremony.
The central mast, carved from a single sacred tree, is hoisted into position during the ceremony.  Phinjo records the moment with his iPad.
It stands tall and mighty, adorned with flags.  Prayer flags are then spread in five directions from this central pole.
It stands tall and mighty, adorned with flags. Prayer flags are then spread in five directions from this central pole.
That bird seems to like us.
That bird seems to like us.
Prayer flags stretch many meters to neaby hilltops.
Prayer flags stretch many meters to neaby hilltops.
Flags caught in the wind stretching over our camp.
Flags caught in the wind stretching over our camp.
Lama Dorje and assistants at the end of the ceremony.
Lama Dorje and assistants at the end of the ceremony.
Line dancing at the Puja.
Line dancing at the Puja.
The line dancing begins.
The line dancing begins.
We are honored to be a part of this.
We are honored to be a part of this.
Brothers in arms.
Brothers in arms.
The sky seems brighter after the ceremony.
The sky seems brighter after the ceremony.

The miles passed quickly, and we were in good spirits.  Even picked up a feral dog in Lobuche Town. Not a team member we want or need, but we are trying to find the right measure of kindness and sternness.

The summit, shrouded by clouds at center, beckons us from the ridge just outside of EBC.
The summit, shrouded by clouds at center, beckons us from the ridge just outside of EBC.
Yaks on the move down the Khumbu.
Yaks on the move down the Khumbu.
Pulling into a break on the way to LBC, Pumori in the background.
Pulling into a break on the way to LBC, Pumori in the background.
Refueling at a break.
Refueling at a break.
Heading into the last stretch before LBC.
Heading into the last stretch before LBC.
Cristiano tends to "Scraps" the feral pooch who adpoted us...or did we adopt him?
Cristiano tends to “Scraps” the feral pooch who adpoted us…or did we adopt him?
Eddie making good progress on the high trail just before LBC.
Eddie making good progress on the high trail just before LBC.
Success!  The Hesses are reunited at LBC after weeks apart due to bad weather for a few hours in Denver.
Success! The Hesses are reunited at LBC after weeks apart due to bad weather for a few hours in Denver at the start of their journey.

Plan is to move to LHC tomorrow, then alpine start for the summit early the next day.  The purpose of climbing this ~20,000 mountain is to sharpen our skills, and to see how we do at higher altitudes.  It was beautiful last year, but this time around there is very little snow up high, just lots of glare ice.  Should be different!

Phrase of the day: Please let this be our last time at Lobuche!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *