Archive for September, 2007

Observations on Cho Oyu

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

There are loads of spiders everywere in the tent. They exist in various sizes too. The largest I’ve seen so far is as big as a quarter of my palm, and tiniest one is the size of a mole.I first noticed them in the Chinese Base Camp. Initially, I thought they might be poisonous and I get the creeps whenever I off my headlamp. I imagine the creepyu crawlies crawling into my sleeping bag, I imagine the crawlies on my neck and I have to dig into my sleeping bag for my lamp just ot ensure they’re not crawling freely all over my body. Since moving to Base Camp, they have even started spinning a web down from the top of the tent. Numerous times I have seen a spider dangling in the middle of my tent and these days’s I’ve learnt to live harmoniously with them. In fact, I might even miss them the day we have to pack up and leave.

I never gave much thought into the issue of yaks before I came. The only thing I care about is yak steak. But my respect for them increased tremendously since my first meeting with them at Chinese Base Camp. They are just the most amazing creatures ever. Carrying up to 60kg on their backs, they are the only animals able to trudge on at such high altitiudes. And they only feed on the miserly pastures available around the campsites. They are not tied down and left to roam before they are loaded and yet when the time comes, the yak herders are able to gather all the yaks together and load them up. There was even one yak which got hit by a stone till its eye fell out and still managed to carry our loads up to BC not once but a couple of times. And when the time comes for the yaks to be retired, they can always become momos.

I have heard this word so many times but never know what it encompasses till this trip. I like pujas. Not only for the food (cos this is the time when all the choco pies, dried apricots, snickers, beer, cola and all the goodies available in the kitchen gets displayed on a huge plate to e passed round) but for the chanting (the lamas will sit in front and recite from a very ancient looking sutra. It’s a rather soothing chant which carries with it a tone of ancient seriousness. And I love the part where the other sherpas chant together with the lamas in front, throwing the rice in the air ( and also at everybody, into their shirts, mouth etc). and there’s the tsampa part where we smear the tsampa onto everybody’s faces and in the air while chanting Cho Oyu(or so I make it out to be).