November 11, 1999

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March 31, 1999

Puja at Pangboche

(Note: does not research or edit dispatches.)

This is Charles Corfield reporting from Dingboche at about 14,000 feet (4,267 meters).

Last night, we spent a good night at Deboche, which is a small lodge just down from Pangboche.

This morning we went up to Pangboche at 7am for a one-hour puja in the main gompa, or monastery, which, as ever, is a beautiful event, and we get to sit around the edge of the interior chamber. And you could spend just months looking at all the fine artwork inside that gompa. After that, I went up the hill to a quick interview with the NBC crew. Then we went back to Deboche for breakfast and onto to Pangboche.

At Pangboche, there is a very old gompa, probably the oldest one in the Khumbu region where a certain lama called Mulamageshi makes his residence. He is one of the lamas — in fact his name, “Geshi,” means “learned one” — where he knows all of Buddhism forward and backward. So he is regarded as the local expert on all matters.

Lama Geshi entertained us both to a puja and to a rather humorous idea which is: he gave us all greeting cards in which he wrote in Tibetan a “good wishes and good luck” to the expedition and directed that we should take the greeting cards up to the top of Everest, or Sagarmatha, so that we could commit them to the goddess there for good luck. He said that all the people who have carried a card from him to the goddess of a particular mountain have all made their summits so far. He also unfleshed some more sungdhis, which are the little red cords which climbers put round their neck or anyone else for that matter. So we picked those up. We had lunch there, and then we headed on up to Dingboche.

The weather now is cloudy. It’s overcast. This is a normal series of events when moist air comes up-valley and condenses somewhere around Namche and above. So right now, it’s pretty much socked in, but tomorrow morning, we’ll expect to see a pretty good, sunny day.

We’re going to make ourselves at home here in Dingboche for a couple of days and then we’ll head on up-valley to just above Lobuche and then to Base Camp in just a few days’ time. That’s it for now.

This is Charles Corfield from Dingboche, signing off.

—Charles Corfield

Everest Main