Everest Base Camp and back

Trip Start Jun 05, 2006
Trip End Jul 25, 2006

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day 3: Lhatse to Everest Base Camp June 23, 2006
Our driver told us we needed to be ready to leave Lhatse by 8:00am so we were. We got on the road and made it about 5 minutes to another road block. We waited there for a while as our driver got the news - we were to wait there until 11:00am. Apparently he made "an arrangement" to get us through the road block at 8:00 when the road closes at 7:30 (this information seemed to be very known as there is a very official long standing sign that is posted at the road block saying the hours of closure 7:30am - 7:30pm) - not sure why he didn't tell us we needed to get on the road before 7 to make sure we beat the road block but that is how our trip is going. We go back to Lhatse and wander around till 10:45 and then wait at the road block - and once again, to our question how long?, he says "almost" and we wait for an hour....WE HAD IT! After much arguing with our driver to take another route he finally agreed (only because his friend, driving another car, was convinced by his passangers). At any rate we take a very rough detour literally just down the road from the road block and we are moving!

Halfway through the day we ran into a sleet storm. It came down very hard and very fast but when you are in a car all day, it doesn't stop you from taking care of your basic needs, as we all needed to go pee very badly. With no bathrooms in sight, we took privacy behind the truck, and to say the least we froze our behinds! When in Tibet, do like the locals do!

We stopped for dinner and paid our entrance fees to the base camp but we still have about 2 hours to go until we get to Rongbuk (the town just below the base camp - another 2 hours to the base camp if you hike/30 minutes on an animal ride). After taking very steep switchback roads with little to gaurd us from falling off, we arrive in Rongbuk and decide to take the animal ride to the top (it's 7:30pm, very rainy and we havn't seen a glimpse of Everest yet).

The drivers for the animal carriage pretended at first not to understand Mandarin but later they were talking just fine with our Mandarin speaking friend. They hiked up the price, we didn't care so much, and they said "let's go". After about 6 kilometers our carriage drivers say "we need to take a break for an hour - we are only 1 kilometer away - and we want more money". I am very upset at this moment, as I am almost soaked and freezing, and I turn to one of the drivers and say "you know some English, NO WAY, and LET'S GO". They get back in and we finish our ride to the base camp, I'm sure understanding completely what I said.

Now it's finding a place to stay. Still raining and no sight of Everest. We settle on a tent with a sign "Hotel California". Our host is 18 and she sings us the song and brings us hot tea to warm us up. We had dinner (fried rice with egg, fried rice with yak meat, fried rice with veggies, and a beer and a pancake to celebrate a fellow backpacker's birthday) and then we bundled up and went to bed.

Day 4: Everest then back to Lhasa June 24, 2006
Headaches grew stronger throughout the night and then in the morning (7:30) the clouds broke and we saw Everest very clearly! Beautiful and crazy to imagine that we were there. We didn't consider going at all until we heard others talking about hiring a driver and how easy it was to get there. Thought it would be much more rustic, vigorous climbing with lots of hiking and climbing gear but not at all! The mountain is amazing and it is very hard to believe that people would want to hike that thing! The pictures definitely don't capture the magnitude of the mountain but I have to say that I imagined it much bigger. We were blessed to have made it to the base camp and I think that's as intimate as we'll get with Everest. We mailed a few postcards from the highest post center in the world. The headaches were definitely worth it!

We stayed up at the base camp until about 10:30am and headed down. 2 hour hike down vs. 30 minutes of a very bumpy ride making the headache worse - we chose to go hard and fast (I thought there was a little man holding a hammer inside my head just pounding nails through my skull). We waited two hours at the bottom in the car, waiting for our two other travel companions who chose to hike down. Then we crammed in the truck again and descended (very steep and scary switchbacks for two hours with sporadic concrete blocks few and far between to prevent anyone from going off the mountain). Our driver was driving like a bat out of hell too - he wanted to leave much earlier in the morning so we think he was a little angry - although we had a few scary slides we didn't fall off the mountain. We pretty much drove until 8pm and found a place to stay for the night and have a nice dinner.

Day 5: Lhasa June 25, 2006
Filled with driving again! We had breakfast and were on the road by 10am. Still lots of roadwork and inhaling of dust but NO roadblocks thankfully. We didn't make any stops really except to free our bladders and then we arrived back in Lhasa around 3pm. Todd and I used the rest of our day to bargain with the locals again and then had a nice dinner with our two travel companions and exchanged backpacker helpful tips and information about future destinations. The dinner goal for everyone (but me) was Yak steak. I had pizza with Yak cheese though - it definitely wasn't Ruffino's or Depot quality but it was good.
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monday786 on

hey guys!!
totally cool story! i'm glad that you guys went to everest... i'm jealous... i went to a&p last week... that sort of rocked.
i look foward to seeing those pictures close up when you return...
i start work tomorrow! watch out...
alright... talk to you soon..

memo on

Jill and Memo here
Just got back from the Lake House. Only about 15 there,we came home because we have other plans. Just wanted to wish you two a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY tomorrow. Love you

tpietruszka on

Re: Jill and Memo here
Thanks Memo and Aunt Jill! We are having a great anniversary! Tonight we will be going to a water puppet show and then to a nice dinner. We are heading to the markets shopping right now. Love you both! Raye and Todd

patriciaob on

Happy 4th and Happy Anniversary from DC
Dear Todd and Raye,

Here we are with Patricia and Sunny. I am glad that Patricia and Sunny finally met each other and approved of each other. (This is Erik, by the way). I have been enjoying your little blogs and pictures and Patricia is making me be a little grateful and write you a little comment after enjoying all your adventures in Asia and beyond. Anyway, Patricia and Sunny have hit it off and that is a great relief to me because I thought they were going to hate each other and fight in the hot tub (which is actually empty these days). In any case, we have been enjoying a lot of bbq food and we have even had meat for breakfast (like you and I used to do in our little dorm at New College). So, as you can probably imagine, I became a little nostalgic after biting into those juicy pieces of dead cow. So please please please, do come and visit soon and do bring Raye (she is alright).

Ok, my friend, Congrats on the 2 year anniversary and hopefully I will be joining the ranks of the married ones very soon. In fact, do save the following date: April 20. Location: Maui. We'll ride scooters and eat lots of food. Oh, yes, and we will also be having a little ceremony where we have to wear little suits and ties and things like that and say 'I do' a couple of times.

Send my love to Raye and please eat more yak meat. Patricia says you look a little skinny. Raye does too. So do make her eat some yak or bring her here upon your return and we will fatten her up.

Lots of love,


Now, here is PATRICIA!!!!! (you have to shout her name like she does):

Hey Todd and Raye,

We miss u!!! I am about to leave to go back to Ohio in less than 1 hour...kind of sad. I have had such a great time here in DC with Sunny and Erik. Their new apartment is awesome...a loft apartment with an awesome view and lots of windows. Sunny is lovely....she will make a great addition to our clan. No, we did not fight in the hot tub...those are just rumors created by Erik. He is very happy and at peace with her. We had a birthday party on Sunday for Erik: the big 35!! Hard to believe huh? I am very happy for him.

I am looking forward to hearing more about your trip...we'll have to plan to see each other when u all get back. Eat more...you both look a little skinny! I am sure that Yak meat is not the best but do take care.

We are sending u lots lof love from DC on this joyous July 4th...Oh...Happy 2nd Anniversary. This mini trip has done wonders for me...I am happy, well fed, and have laughed a great deal....what else can u do around Erik? We missed you and Raye.

Love always,


jenniferleone on

July 4th 2006
Hello from NY!

It's Jennifer Jankowski here and hot as hell with the central AC down! Just back from lovely PA and checked in with the far eastern travelers in my life and your adventures seem to be memorable. I hope the 'dictionary' my friend Jin Lin sent was helpful. I was able to see the chinese and english translations and I hope you were able to as well.

Stay safe and enjoy the time. It's quickly coming to an end!

Hugs, Jennifer Robert and the boyz

polar_bear_head on

Happy Anniversary
Tracy and I just wanted to wish you a happy anniversary. Your travels are amazing. Huck is doing fine and misses you dearly. Enjoy your next 30 days and keep making us all jealous with your pictures.
Love Tracy and Jan

tpietruszka on

Helpful Definitions
Yes Jen,

please thank Jin, the definitions and words were very helpful, surprisingly we did not learn any food words in chinese class.

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