Before climbing in the Himalaya with Sherpas, a Puja ceremony must be held. There can be multiple Pujas, help or blessing. For example we had one with Lama Geshi a few days ago in his home in Pangyboche. Yesterday, Wednesday April 15, we held our Puja at our Base Camp for our Everest and Lhotse climbs.
It is a very special ceremony where “members” and Sherpas come together to ask the mountain Gods permission to climb, forgiveness for any damage to the mountain and safety for all the climbers.
It was a drawn out ceremony with a Lama coming from one of the lower villages. He chanted and prayed for about two hours from a 300 year-old Tibetan prayer book. We placed our climbing gear against the chorten to be blessed
Even though it sounds quite formal it is actually fun and relaxed (see the end of the video) with everyone milling around, taking photos and chatting while the Lama does all the heavy lifting 🙂 Prayer flags are strung from the Puja pole across the tents at Base Camp so every time the wind blows, prayers are sent.
The Puja ends with spreading sampa (barley powder) on each other’s faces to represent white beads and long life. Finally, everyone lines up for some Sherpa dancing – some are much better than others at this part! We had perfect weather this morning, albeit a bit chilly with a 7:00AM start!
At the end Kami, serving as the Senior Sherpa talked about how we are family and must climb together as a team. Then Purba, who lost a brother in the ice fall last year, talked about how we must all be careful and support one another. All in all a moving ceremony which ended with copious amounts of Johnny Walker, Turborg beer and red wine – go figure!
Snow, Snow, Snow
Later yesterday afternoon, we all donned our climbing gear (boots, crampons, harness, ice axe, etc) and took a spin onto the Khumbu Icefall. It began snowing, again, and the clouds covered up any views. Today, we worked on more skills.
This is happening all over EBC in hopes climbers will move quickly and efficiently thought the climb. Regardless of your experience, it is wise to review your skills and practice before doing the real thing.
There were several Sherpas planning to go into the Western Cwm today (Thursday April 16) from multiple teams but the poor weather stopped them. In fact, no team has climbed into the Icefall, much less to Camp 1 or 2 yet.
This morning, Thursday, it is still overcast with light snow. This is now three days of snow and cold temps and it the forecast looks like more of the same for a few more days. This is a bit unusual but happen occasionally, but it’s a long expedition so no worries.
Memories are Everything
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