Monday, 19 September 2011

Monday 19th Sept

Yesterday was an extraordinary combination of experiencing the awe of
Everest and then the mortality of the mountains. In the morning we all
biked the 4k up to the Everest base camp. On the Chinese side this is
rather severe. With some plaques that one can be photographed beside, a
prayer flag stupa and some names from this year picked out in stones. We
had an orgy of photos including the slow team. But I found myself
thinking about Laura and other people who have died. It is also
surprising that there is no memorial for previous climbers such as
Mallory. Apparently the Nepali side is brimming with memorials.

In the afternoon I chilled out in an almost abandoned monastery. In the
evening we were playing cards in the tent when it suddenly began to
shake. As we went outside we had an avalanche of stones descending.
We were experiencing an earthquake about 4 but because of the dark could
not see how much damage had been done at our site.

We consoled ourselves that this was a small quake but sleeping was not
easy. In the morning we heard that there had been a big quake in Sikkim,
to our south. What a dramatic end to an Everest visit and a reminder of
the power and instability of mountains.

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