Our team wakes up just before 6am everyday to do “resting measures” for the physiological research – but today it was not quite as bad as usual as we awoke to a view of Mount Everest out our window. It is amazing to be so close to the tallest mountain in the world. My research team is not involved in the resting measures research – the resting measures research is being done by one of the physiology teams and is looking at blood oxygenation and other factors that are affected by altitude. Their setup is quite impressive and the other guests in the lodge are not sure what we are up to.
The highlight of the day, and possibly, the trip was a helicopter flight around the valley that included a flyby of Mount Everest. The summit itself was covered in cloud by the time of our flight but we had an excellent view of Base Camp and the infamous Khumbu icefall – which has killed almost as many climbers as summit attempts have. Base Camp looks like more of a city that a collection of tents – the size of the camp is astounding. The helicopter took us through mountain passes and we had amazing views of all of the famous surrounding peaks such as Pumori, Lhose, Ama Dablam, and of course Everest.
When we got back we went right to the Tengboche Monastery – our time to film and collect some data there had arrived. The monastery is impressive – it is the largest monastery in the area and it is obviously old. The monastery is filled with all of the trappings that one would expect but filming and photography is quite limited and our entry was delayed until we provided a sizeable donation to the monastery. However, soon we were in and we were able to collect data from two Buddhist Monks during meditation.
Tomorrow, we head for Pheriche, a gain of another 1300 feet (400m) to bring us up to 14,340 feet (4,371 m). There we will collect more altitude data and have another rest day to acclimatize before we begin our final push up to Base Camp and the summit of Kala Pattar.