Great Big Walk Audio Update Day #40

Hey everybody. Happy day 40 from the great big walk. We are located once again at Makalu base camp here at an elevation of 4800m. This was a rest and acclimatization day for us as well as technical skills practice day. So we spent the day admiring Makalu. After waking up this morning, we had a puzha and a puzha for those folks that don’t know is a blessing ceremony. One of the kitchen assistants is a former llama. So he is able to perform the blessing ceremony, where the mountains permission is asked or we ask the universe for the deities, the mountain deities for good weather, for safe passage, our climbing gear is there to be blessed and then flare flags are flown and we all receive protection cords from a high ranking lama in Kathmandu.

So that was our second Puzha of the great big walk and wonderful as always to witness and participate in. Here at Makalu base camp there seems like there is going to be 3 expeditions. We’ve met members from one expedition which is the one led by Al Hancock. He is a person that I climbed with in 2007 on Mount Everest and he has gone on to do several major Himalayan peaks. This year he is attempting Makalu, trying to be the first Canadian to climb Makalu and also a third go at Kaytu. So great to see him, we saw him a few days ago, great to see him again today at base camp. And in case you’re wondering what base camp looks like, it is a fairly sandy location. We are camped 4 km below the summit of Mount Makalu and it looks a little bit like a bunch of marshmallows have popped up. There is little groupings of tents, mostly yellow but a few other little colors. Each expedition seems to have one or two big large rectangular tents that are the group dining areas and cooking areas. There is a few stone huts and we had a mixed day of some sun and a little bit more wind today. Lots more helicopter runs in. They are using helicopters to bring expedition here in. So it is kind of an exciting place to be. Teams will begin to continue to arrive and it will take them between 6 – 8 weeks to climb Mount Makalu.

After our puzha, we had breakfast and then we headed out on what is called an acclimatization walk or acclimatization hike. The idea being to climb high and sleep lower. So since we will be moving to around 5200 m tomorrow we had a little foray out from camp and we actually got see some additional high peaks. We saw Lhotse, Lhotse shar and much to my delight we saw Everest and Cam got to see Everest for the first time herself. So that was pretty fun to watch her see it was a little bit in the distance and playing a little bit hard to get coming in and out of the clouds but how amazing to get to see Everest from yet another angle. We came back from that.

Had some yummy lunch and spent the afternoon doing technical skill practice. Practicing rope ascension, fixed rope ascension and repelling. Making sure everybody is all set because we will need those skills for our first big pass crossing coming in about 4 fours days of (inaudible) So not quite as big a travel day for us. Marian had 10 585 steps or so. 6.5 km, 72 floors. I had 11 180, 6.5 km, 79 floors and Cam came in 10 228, 6.78 km here on the great big walk. Hope you’re all having a great Wednesday. Hello to all the schools that are following along. I’ll send specific readings over the next couple of days and know that we’re moving into some higher, higher and much more difficult terrain so your thoughts and prayers are appreciated for us and with us over the next 7 to 10 days as we tackle probably the hardest section of the great Himalaya trail and the great big walk. So happy Wednesday everyone and we will catch you from Swiss base camp tomorrow. Take care! Bye!

Total Steps for TA: 11 180 steps, 79 floors

Total Steps for Marian: 10 585 steps, 72 floors

Total Distance for TA: 6.5 km

Total Distance for Marian: 6.5 km

Great Big Walk acknowledges the support of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Quick Start Fund for Public Engagement in making these updates from the field possible.

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