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Himalaya

Day 62: Rongbuk to Everest Base Camp

Michael Palin - HimalayaLast night I slept. Indeed, I slept so long and so deeply that Basil thought I might be dead.

What a difference it makes to everything. The sky looks bluer, the food tastes better, the yak butter tea is like nectar and the prospect of a trek beyond Everest Base Camp and up towards the Rongbuk Glacier is the only thing I want to do with the rest of my life.

It takes us 20 minutes to drive the eight miles from Rongbuk to Base Camp, passing on the way the remains of the old monastery.

Some of the walls still stand, but it's little more than a skeleton, barely distinguishable from the rubble-covered slopes on which it stands. Above these desiccated ruins a flock of blue sheep are nosing some nourishment out of the rocks.

Everest Base Camp is nowhere near as romantic as it sounds. Part of it is protected by a 100-foot-high moraine, a wall of stone and shale, carried down and dumped by the glacier that has gouged out the valley. A stream trickles through but any standing water is frozen solid. In high season, between June and August, this area and the rock-strewn valley floor beyond are packed with mountaineers and trekkers. This year there were 32 separate expeditions.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 62: Rongbuk to Everest Base Camp
  • Country/sea: Tibet
  • Place: Everest Base Camp
  • Book page no: 147

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