April 11: to Pumori Advanced Base Camp

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On April 11 we began hauling loads to Advanced Base. The route was mostly a rocky trail, a bit of scrambling in spots, and one short stretch of miserable icy snow gully. It was real work, but it took less time that I expected. As we worked our way up the loose rock, gasping for air, John Leavens quoted a mutual climbing friend: “NOW we’re getting to the glamorous part of climbing!”

We got to a spot where it was flat enough to set up the advanced camp; we put the gear into duffels and piled rocks on them to keep them from blowing away. We spent some time eating a snack and taking in the view of Everest across the valley before descending. From here, we could see both the North Col and the South Col.

The view in the opposite direction wasn’t too shabby either. The route up Pumori from here did indeed “lay back” a bit, though it still looked challenging. The next camp would be on a flat spot on the snow ridge just above the rock pyramid that Advanced Base was on. It didn’t look like it would be much fun getting there. The climbers would be on their own to do the gear carries from Advanced Base to that spot. They had no Sherpa support above base camp, and we trekkers would be going no higher on the mountain.

After soaking it all in, we headed down to the comforts of Base Camp, and I secretly thanked my lucky stars that I hadn’t gotten talked in to climbing Pumori.

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