Yesterday we had our Puja ceremony which was conducted by a monk from the Rong Pu Monastery just a few miles away from basecamp. A Puja ceremony is very special to the Sherpa as it is the time that the group gets its blessing and permission for safe passage on the mountain. It roughly consists of the monk reciting prayers in Tibetn for about an hour in front of the shrine which had earlier been built by the Sherpa this season. Towards the end of the ceremony, the rest of the group gets involved by throwing rice into the sky asking for blessings. Everyone then gets a handful of flour smacked in their face for good measure and a hug for good luck and good climbing.
It was nice to have a moment of reflection during the Puja with our Sherpa climbing partners especially in light of what’s going on in Nepal at the moment.
We’ve definitely been shaken by the earthquakes which have been felt from India to China in addition to the devastation & destruction they have caused in Nepal. The south side of Mt. Everest has officially been shut down by the Nepalese government, marking the second season in which the mountain has been shut down due to mother nature having different plans. Shortly after the shaking stopped the first time, we heard the chaos of coordinating rescue, recovery & trauma facilities being built out of dining tents and whatever was available. It was so scary to sit and listen and not be able to do a single thing to help. We all are feeling so horrible for our friends & Sherpa family on the south side.
Along with the rest of the world, we’ve also been getting direct & indirect reports of the goings on in Kathmandu. For anyone who has been to Kathmandu, you can understand that it wouldn’t take much to cause massive carnage. In the last 48hrs, Kathmandu has seen two extremely large earthquakes which are testing the ability of the city, country and neighboring country’s response times for relief. Please, take a moment and dontate to the relief effort in any way that you feel good about. Nepal is simply not set up to handle anything like this and the death toll will only continue to climb in the coming days.
We all are very fortunate to be where we are, relatively speaking, as the Tibet side of Everest has remained relatively unscathed. Even as we wait to understand what the plan for climbing will be, we’re safe and unharmed. We’re just thinking of friend and acquaintances in Nepal and wishing we could do anything to help.
Again, I want to thank everyone whom have expressed concern for our safety both directly and indirectly. It was a bit overwhelming to see the volume of love & inquiry. Thank you to everyone keeping tabs on us. Thanks for all those who called Mary Beth and my family to make sure they were ok too. Thank you.