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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 19 - Final Day in Base Camp

For you foodspotters out there let's get this out of the way first - Breakfast: French Toast, French-press coffee; Lunch: Massive grilled cheese sandwich with sliced tomatoes and onions (it was like it was made on two slices of French toast - I couldn't finish it), one fried egg, and fried potatoes slices; Dinner - personal pepperoni pizza. Living? Yes, quite nicely, thank you.

I was up at 2:30am to see the climbers off on their first rotation. After they had started up the Ice Fall, I took this wicked long exposure of the headlamp trail up the Ice Fall and the star filled sky over the Western Cwm. I also set up, what I think will turn out to be an awesome timelapse video of the sunrise over Everest Base Camp and then crawled back into my tent and sleeping bag.

Up at 8:30am I hung out with Joe and Jenny for a while before heading out for a solo day hike to Pumori base camp (18,000 ft.) - hoping for some great views of Mt. Everest. By the time that I had hiked down to the bottom of EBC (about 45 mins - EBC is huge and well spread out) and found the trailhead for Pumori BC, I could see that those views were once again going to be denied. There were some menacing looking clouds gathering in the lower valley. I knew for sure that snow was coming, so I set turn around time at 1pm or when the snow started to fly - which ever came first. As it turned out, three things happened simultaneously: the clock stuck 1pm, the snow started to come down, and I reached by alitutude goal of 18,000 ft. - a high point for the trip and the location of Pumori base camp. The only thing missing was a view!

When I reached the main trail back to EBC, the snow was really coming down. On my way back to AAI BC (which is nicely located at the very top of EBC), I stopped in on the "Rivers of Ice - Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya" an Everest Base Camp Photo Exhibit. Set up in a large tent sponsored by Mountain Hardware was a set of before and after panorama shots of receding glaciers. Cool photos.

Back in base camp, Joe, Jenny, and a number of the Sherpa and I watched a couple of episodes of "Flight of the Concords" and "Arrested Development" on the laptop. Joe briefed me on the logistics of trekking out and I headed to my final night in a tent.

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