One of the traditions of climbing Everest is the puja blessings at base camp. This is a Buddhist ceremony to ask the gods for protection and permission to climb. Sherpas will not climb the mountain without this blessing. Liz, Joe, and their sherpas had their puja blessing today, complete with the traditional incense, chang (a rice beer), and sampa (roasted barley).They and all of their hiking implements, as well as the many gifts they are taking to the summit, received the blessing. Additionally, Joe says they are really feeling the effects of high altitude now. They are having trouble sleeping and even simple tasks are getting more difficult. At base camp, they are right below the extremely dangerous Khumbu Icefall. They can hear the ice seracs shifting, and the sound is tremendous. Joe says you should check out "O Fortuna" at the beginning of Carl Orff's opera Carmina Burana.
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