From what I have discovered so far about Everest North Base Camp, the moment just after sunrise is the calmest part of the day.
The sun strains to make its presence felt over the east ridge and the wind is normally mild. Fast forward a few hours and the wind picks up. Today is also no exception. Clear skies and strong winds.
Early AM – Approx 6am
You’d think that it would be quiet this time of the day. Sure my team is still soundly in the land of nod but already my Sherpa crew is awake and busy. As I am sitting here drinking my first coffee it strikes me how they are always busy, always doing something, always tinkering. At this moment in time they are trying to erect the radio mast and are now beginning to test the radios individually and “Over” “Over” “Over” echos around the camp.
Before we arrived, they had dug out a level platform for each tent that offers a mattress, pillows and welcome matt. These tents have been rigged to be what feels like bombproof. They had been busy setting up the camp’s plumbing, making sure water drained away from each tent and that both the shower and toilets worked properly. They became electricians installing 3-point power plugs into every tent, fixing lights around the place and making sure the cooking equipment sparked up properly.
Looking around, I can see all boxes containing oxygen bottles and masks. food, cooking equipment and games have been carefully arranged, stacked and organised. While watching the coming and goings, it strikes me how none of these guys are doing their own specialist job, every one is a jack of all trades, just cracking on. I have been on many Expeditions with this crew, sometimes we had only 2 Sherpas but the synchronisation of getting things done is always the same.
Of course, I offer to help and of course they laugh and tell me that’s ok. I know that I will only get in the way but they will never tell me that.
“Enjoy your coffee dai, we are nearly done anyway”.
Let me introduce you to our team:
Karma Sherpa is 29 years old. Karma is our Expeditions Sidar. The role of the sidar falls onto our most experienced guide, who then has the responsibility of managing our team. Karmas climbing history: Everest north x 2, Everest south x 4, Sishapangma x1, Ama dablam x 9, Himlung x 1, Putha himchuli x 1, Manaslu x 1, Baruntse x 1,
Beer Kaji Tamang is 40 years old. Beer’s climbing history: Everest north x 3, Everest South x 3, Annapurna x 1, Dhaulagiri x 1, Himlung x 1, Lhotse x 1,
Ang Thindu Sherpa is 25 years old and from the Khumbu region. Thindu’s climbing history: Everest south x 4 and Everest North x 2
Dawa Sangee Sherpa is 45 years old and comes from the Makalu region. Dawa’s climbing history: Everest north x 1, Everest south x 2, Makalu x 2
Pemba Nuru Sherpa is 40 years old and has 10 solid years of climbing high altitude peaks under his belt. He was on Cho Oyu last year with us.
Mingma Nuru Sherpa is 26 years old and comes from the Khumbu region. Mingma’s climbing history: Everest north x 1, South x 1, Ama dablam x 3
Karma Sherpa, Beer Kaji Tamang & Ang Thindu Sherpa
Dawa Sangee Sherpa, Pemba Nuru Sherpa & Mingma Nuru Sherpa
Nusindra: Our excellent BC cook is 25 years old. Nusindra has worked with us many times and his foods are the best we have ever tasted and I always look forward to the meals! Food is a super important element of any expedition – both psychologically and physically.
Amrit Bahandur Rai: is 48 years old. Amrit is our high altitude cook and will be based at ABC. He also rustles up foods that would be a treat at sea level, let alone at 6500m.
Raj Kumar: Raj is 43 years old and has 15 years’ experience on expeditions. Raj is our BC manager overseeing all the logistics.
Nusindra, Amrit Bahandur Rai & Raj Kumar
I have worked with all of them on various expeditions. From trekking to Mera peak, Island peak to Everest and it is great to have my cherry picked team working with me on these longer more complex trips. They are as passionate and excited about this work as I am, not only for the love of climbing but also the practicalities as it gives them a chance to provide for their family and to be together as a team. It’s home from home for them. When asked what they miss they all say the kids. When asked what their favourite meal is, it’s dhal bhat. Every time.
For those that haven’t visited Nepal, Dal bhat is the staple meal consisting of steamed rice and a cooked lentil soup (dal) that’s contains coriander, garam masala, cumin, and turmeric often accompanied by mini side dishes of greens and potato.. It’s hearty and warming!