Day 23: Mountain Madness by The Latin Kings – sponsored by Cafe Velez

This morning something crazy happened in our Advance Base Camp. Right after we finished breakfast two guides from a camp next to our approached Phil to tell him “we want to know why one of your motherfuckers crapped in our toilet tent last night”. They sounded very aggressive and Phil firmly asked them to refrain from using those terms to address to their Sherpas or team members. These two angry guys were pointing to some footprints in the snow going to and from our camp to theirs. Last evening I’ve heard a Latin American couple fooling around our tents, and I was thinking on going out of mine to socialize with them, but I was not feeling well so I didn’t move. The guy kept saying multiple times “one of your motherfuckers crapped in my toilet” and Phil kept asking him not to use that language. The guide had a very crappy command of english with strong latin accent, so I approached him in Spanish and told him about the couple in his team who most probably left the footprints from our camp to his toilet. This is a small team of about five Ecuadorians with two guys from the Seattle based expedition company Mountain Madness. Right after I calmly gave them my point, one of them decided to stop the controversy and acknowledged that could be just a confusion. Meanwhile the other kept saying “I just want to know why one of your motherfuckers crapped in my toilet”. Dorje could not cope with the offense anymore and approached him asking to stop it right away, but that Ecuadorian guide had some sort of Mountain Madness and could not stop saying the magic work. Sadly one of our youngest Sherpas jumped out of his seat and kicked the Ecuadorian ass out of our camp. I could not believe what I was seeing… The Sherpas are some of the most noble, humble, peaceful and sweet hearted people on Earth.. Now that I look retrospectively I understand his reasons. You can cope with the Ecuadorian calling you motherfucker, but you can’t hold your hands when one of the most reputable Sherpas in Nepal, our Sirdar Dorje, who has climbed dozens of 8000m peaks in the last 30 years, and is like a father for many of these young Sherpas, is taking the offense over and over again. I can’t remember exactly who was our kung-fu Sherpa, but from these lines I want to say: well done buddy, we can’t let The Latin Kings coming to Mt Everest to offense the Sherpa people or anybody else, just because he has Mountain Madness of his command of English is so poor that he doesn’t know what he says.

Note for the Mountain Madness expedition company: I’m not sure what your standards are when hiring guides, but now you have a place in my black list of companies that none of my climbing buddies or I will ever hire to climb anywhere in the world. If your guides are to insult people along the way to a summit, you better ask them to hide the Mountain Madness logo they proudly display on their climbing gear…

Note for the Sponsor of the Ecuadorian Team – Cafe Velez: I understand is difficult to assess the mental condition of all members in a team to sponsor on their attempt to reach the summit of Mt Everest, but what we all normal climbers can assure you is that the Sherpa community is not only stronger that any of us westerners, but also they are beautiful people who represent some of the best values of human being. My advise to you is to take some money from your sponsorship and give it to the Sherpas to help them growing their local communities, having better schools, maybe a good hospital. Then your brand will shine brightest that in the small flag these “mountain guides” placed in their camp.

Right after the incident I went for a short walk, feeling better on my breathing, and noticed a group of climbers were doing their summit push to one of the neighborhood 7000m peaks, Lakpa-ri. Our experienced climbing partner Robert from Nebraska US, had the brilliant idea of bringing a powerful telescope from home, and I borrowed it to have fun observing these guys on their way to the summit. That was the one of the most exciting shows I’ve ever seen in the mountains. I’ve watched awesome rock climbers doing cool stuff before, but looking at these guys trying to summit that peak with such horrible cold weather and high winds, made me hold my breath for a good couple of hours. Lakpa-ri has three well differentiated summits, that can be accessed from the west side by progressing though a large glacier, poorly crevassed, followed by a rocky crest. The swiss-austrian team, guided by the TCSP Australian expedition company, was moving fast through the icy slope. They spent the night at a high camp not far from the crest, about two hours from the main summit, most probably because they had to cease on their attempt to summit yesterday due to the high winds. They split in three groups of five climbers and roped up through the glacier. The first team quickly reached the first summit, stayed there for about five minutes, and moved slowly to the second summit though a crazy sharp snow ridge pounded by the wind. I kept saying to myself “come on guys, go for for the third!” They quickly backed up to an area protected from the wind just below the first… I could not believe they were giving up, but the winds up there look way too crazy today! When the second team met the first, they moved again to the first summit and back down again, but five of them reached the second and stayed there for longer time, most probably thinking “shall we risk it?”. “Come on guys is juts few meters more and you go back home!” I was saying out loud. These guys retreated to the first summit very slowly and they were moving very precariously on the snow ridge. I guess it is so sharp and exposed that you really have to move cautiously when the wind is pushing you with violence towards the edge. “Well done guys, no need to risk it for just few meters more!”

After that show I feel very well motivated for our second rotation, and my appetite is improving as well. However the wind is picking up quickly and we are approaching the deadline when the Jet Stream was scheduled to hit this place. This morning we spotted a tent just few meters below the Camp 1 on the North Col and now it just blown away! The owner will have bitter surprise when they get back from wherever they are today…

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