Everest 2011: Team Gets Blessings From High Lama to Reach Summit of the World

Text by Dave Hahn, a guide for RMI Expeditions and First Ascent. In May 2010 Hahn reached the summit of Mount Everest for the 12th time, the most of any a non-Sherpa climber. This time, he is leading a Bill McGahan and his 16-year-old daughter, Sara, on a bid for the summit. Follow the team's Everest expedition in dispatches here.

Dispatch 3: Pheriche

Today we walked in bright sunshine out of shady Deboche, crossed the river and cruised into Pangboche. There we met with Lama Geishi, the trusted and friendly high lama that so many of the Sherpa climbers revere. Lama Geishi was very kind to bless our Everest team… he wished us each luck, gave us prayers to bring to the summit of the world, and tied cerremonial red strings around our necks that we'll each keep on for the duration of the trip.

I've had a number of meetings with him through the years, and he has always welcomed my teams… but we were definitely worried that he might not be able to see us this time. The word was out that he'd just been released from the hospital in Kathmandu. Sure enough, he smiled as he acknowledged the serious nature of his illness. He laughed in telling us (with Lam Babu acting as interpreter) that just a week before, he hadn't thought he'd survive.

We left Pangboche and quickly left behind the world of trees… entering instead the land of rock and ice as we turned the corner toward the North and Pheriche. It is significantly colder now and the animals are mostly rugged four-wheel-drive yaks these days, whereas down lower they were mostly cows. We are all feeling great and are ready for our first night at 14,000 feet, wich is nearly the height of Mount Rainier.

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