Mike Matty's Mt. Everest Journal

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Cooking with yak dung

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Wednesday–April 6

Paid a solemn visit to the Tengboche Monastery.  I understand that it’s the largest Sherpa monastery in the Khumbu region. It’s a beautiful place. You can soak up the tranquility if you pay attention, which feels easy to do in the Himalayas, and this monastery is as good a place as any! The Tibetan monks that reside here carry on a timeless way of life.

The Tengboche Monastery

For all its peacefulness, I cannot picture myself spending my life here as the monks do. You really have to be called in order for your life’s journey to be based here. Inside the monastery, there’s a large Buddha statue , a bakery that has some incredible cake [be good for celebrating our office birthdays!] and plenty of color, mostly a pinkish-red which resembles the robes that are worn. I’m amazed at how things can bake at 12,000 feet [3,658 meters] seeing how the air is thinner.

Made it to Pheroche and you can start to feel the cold. Last night, it was in the 20s.  Inside the teahouse. I’m really feeling that this is more like an Everest expedition.  My water bottle froze overnight. Cooking is done over yak-fueled stoves.  That’s right yak crap. A woman had demonstrated how it’s done in Tengboche: pat some dung flat against the sunny side of a building and in a day or two, when it’s dry, you’ve got fuel.

On the way up here, I stopped at a Llama [“teacher” not the critter] house and received a Puja, a blessing ceremony.  Also was given a kata [white scarf], a prayer scarf. It’s an important greeting in Tibetan custom because the scarf symbolizes  good intentions from the person giving it. Sounds good to me. On this trip, we can all use good intentions and good results.

Walked past some chortens, which is probably the earliest form of Buddhist architecture.  Actually, chorten is the Tibetan term for stupa.  The ones I went past were Everest memorials. Stupa means a pile, as in small stones that are placed on a memorial or tomb to honor the deceased. A chorten is not on anyone’s list.

We’re going to head-up the Khumbu Valley. Base camp is about 5-6 days away. Once there, the real work begins.

Written by mmsummits7

April 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Mountaineering

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