As soon as the Madison Mountaineering team arrived at advanced base camp on Wednesday, the Sherpa team geared up and headed across the glacier in search of the route to the summit. The rest of the team took breaks from setting up camp to monitor their progress. From camp, Purba, Pasang and Dandi look like tiny dots slowly moving up the slope. At the very top they will reach a cornice, and I can only imagine how difficult it will be to hack through it with an ice axe and then carefully maneuver on top of it. Their strength and hard work amazes me. Purba is our team’s Sirdar, so he leads the Sherpa team, he wears a constant smile beneath a sparse mustache. Purba is optimistic about the route and believes that they can read the summit today. Fingers crossed!
There are beautiful peaks surrounding two sides of advanced base camp, some of which are in Tibet; others, like Tharke Khang, are in Nepal. I wish that I could name each of them, but aside from Tharke Khang, I am only familiar with one ... Everest. I haven’t seen this view of the north face before, and it looks cold and unrelenting. It’s hard to believe that I was on the summit eighteen months ago.