Monday, April 17, 2017

Puja! (and a shout out to the home family)

It’s Monday at Everest Base Camp and that means the Lama is coming and it’s time for our Puja Ceremony!

Before we get to that, I wanted to give a shout out to the other four Christoffersons back home in DE, who celebrated Easter together and all donned “Strength” bracelets in solidarity with Anders’ attempt on Everest.  In addition to this, Kara, Judy, Jen and Alex went for a hike in our honor and in our family tradition.  It means a lot to us to have folks back home thinking of us and pulling for us.  Way to go fam!

Back to the Puja.  The Puja is a Buddhist Ceremony in which a Lama comes and performs a service to ask the powers that be for our team and the individuals in it to have safe passage through the mountains.  It is also a way for our team to show respect for the mountain, which is very important in Sherpa culture.

We placed various climbing gear out to be blessed (Anders had his crampons blessed and being principally a trekker on this trip, I had my trekking poles blessed).  After the Lama performed the bulk of the ceremony, we all chanted and threw rice and flour (and spread the later on our faces and clothes) into the air.  We raised prayer flags and then a party broke out.  Our neighbors, the Nepalese Gurkhas and their British compatriots joined us after our Puja.  The Gurkhas are an elite fighting force that have been in existence since the early 1800s and have an extraordinary history and legacy.  They are great guys and much drinking, dancing, and general merriment so ensued.  There is about 20-25 of them here to climb Everest, and if anybody can, it surely must be them (and Anders).

Here are some pictures from today’s ceremony:

Garrett and the Lama start the ceremony:

Climbers and equipment waiting to be blessed:

The prayer flags are raised:

Some of our team:

Anders is blessed by the Lama:

Getting my golden Khata:

Anders and I after the ceremony:

The four climbers:

The Gurkhas join us and the dancing begins:

Immune to the party, the Mountain awaits:

The rest of the day was appropriately, a rest day.  Tomorrow we are going to trek up to Pumori’s Base Camp—around 19,000 feet and then on the 19th, Anders and team will start their first rotation up to Camp 2 and I will begin a 4-day trek to the west.  More on these events tomorrow.  It’s almost game time!


jlchristofferson74 said...

We love and miss you guys! Keep crushing it!

Unknown said...

Love the updates, RC. Good luck, Anders!