Lynne and David at Everest Base Camp at the foot of the Rongbuk Glacier 5200 metres
Below is an excerpt from my Tibet travel journal that I wrote during our stay at the Rongbuk Monastery guesthouse. We were sat in the kitchen/dining room in the warmth of the yak dung stove in the centre of the room . . . .
We have really taken to the guesthouse. Although very basic we feel at home. Our room is small with two beds but will be freezing overnight. We have a quilt on the bed, then our down sleeping bags plus another quilt on top. To put on the dim light you have to twist the bulb. No comment about the toilet facilities!
This evening Everest is in cloud. I pray that tomorrow it will be clear for our first view of the north face of Everest. In fading light we went across to the Rongbuk Monastery. We were able to explore on our own. The monks were very friendly. It is quite small compared with some of the monasteries we have visited so far on our Tibetan travels. One atmospheric room was full of burning yak butter lamps. The main assembly room was actually almost cosy and the monks appeared to be gathering there for evening prayer. We enjoyed chatting to them. They were keen to see photos of themselves on the digital screen of our camera resulting in beaming smiles. We walked back to the guesthouse through the yard of yaks below the monastery. These are used to carry climbing gear beyond Everest Base Camp.
It was getting really cold so we were glad to get back to the warmth of the yak dung stove. It was so exciting to be with people from all over world, all with the shared ambition to see the highest mountain in the world. We spent a surprisingly comfortable night despite the altitude and the freezing temperatures.
Rongbuk Monastery at dawn with the north face of Everest
The first rays of sunlight hitting the North East Ridge and the summit pyramid of Everest
Jamyang, our guide, managed to get permission to take our own vehicle as far as the Everest Base Camp lookout. It was a bumpy drive up the rough gravel road taking us higher onto the rocky moraine below the Rongbuk Glacier. We left our vehicle at the foot of the Everest Base Camp lookout situated on a rocky outcrop covered in Tibetan prayer flags. This is as far as everyone else can go but we had permission from the Tibetan Mountaineering Association to go beyond this point. The sheer joy of following in the footsteps of Mallory, Irvine, Somervell, Norton and others of the 1920's expeditions was just overwhelming!
Climbing expedition tents at Everest Base Camp with moraine of the Rongbuk Glacier behind
North face of Everest from Central Rongbuk Glacier
Glacial pools high up on the Central Rongbuk Glacier
David with climbing guide with six successful Everest summit climbs
I hope you have enjoyed reading this excerpt from my Tibet travel journal. In the next week or so I hope to upload a gallery of photos of our Tibetan adventures in 'Photographs' in 'Beyond the Sacred Mountains'.