Dream Team Flour Face Selfie – Puja Ceremony
ITS THE CTSS EBC PUJA CEREMONY AND CELEBRATION!!!!
(ITS THE MOTHER F’ING CATALINA WINE MIXER – quote from movie Step Brothers, won several awards I’m sure)
This sacred ceremony asks the goddess of Everest for safe passage through her mountain. The Sherpas and Porters will not go through the Khumbu Ice Fall until this is completed. I don’t blame them. The day must fall on an “auspicious” day, which happened to be April 18! Could be in honor of April 18, 2014, when an ice avalanche killed 16 climbing Sherpa. May they be at peace and looking after our crew.
The entire day was dedicated to this colorful, magical, “so many activities” day! Festivities started at 10 am, with the Lama starting chants from thousands of years past. He is joined by other monks and Sherpa leaders, some of which on the CTSS team. The calming background of chanting, accompanied by a bell or drum, carried on for 2 hours. We all place items we want blessed during the ceremony. I brought my boots (since had to make last minute boot switch before this trip and never properly broke them in! I know, I know, but I did not have a choice), crampons, helmet, harness and my little pouch of charms (I’ve mentioned in previous post). “Come on big money, no whammies”!
There was a series of offerings thrown or poured on the Chheshm. Offerings include, but not limited to: rice, flour mixture, sacred water, shrimp cracks (look like pork rinds), candy, soda, beer, sugared rum (personal favorite), decorated Femar cake (gluten, but heard it was good), SUCHA (Never again! I can never UNTASTE that!) a cracker/bread thing (the goddess must like gluten), popcorn, and I’m sure I’m missing something.
After 2 hours of chanting, the top of the Chheshm pole is attached holding approx 6 long strains of giant blessed prayer flags, to be spread over 360 degrees and spread across our camp. The brightly colored flags against the snow topped peaks never ceases to give me goose bumps.
So sacred and special… and then the beer and rum hit mass distribution! Ha, not that bad, I’m kidding, but super fun! Believe me, at 17,500 ft, I only needed to sip on a little to feel warm and fuzzy! We all ate and sipped, then the final ceremony was to offer and hand full of the flour mixture thrown into the air… AND THEN WIPE ALL OVER EACH OTHERS FACES! Thick zinc sunscreen provided a lovely base surface to stick to! Everyone laughed and marinated in flour, KNOWING we have been blessed and Lady Everest will welcome us through her beautiful and harsh terrain!
But the party wasn’t over, HELLS NO! Then, the Sherpa dance began. Arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, wearing buffs, a traditional song was sung, and a dance (I like to think of it as a mellow River Dance) stomped on and on! Our group dismissed ourselves to hit our lunch time. Heaven forbid we miss another giant meal. But the sherpas and porters kept it going for hours. It was an honor to be a part of such an important and special event. I felt a warm calm feeling cascade over me. We have permission to reach our goals and dreams. Stage gate passed, 1 st Everest rotation through the ice fall Is On Like Donkey Kong!
Go to my Insta for video collage of event: @getggritt
– Pem Chiri is easily “Chimi Churri” – This truly amazing member of the all Sherpa K2 Winter Accent Team is quiet, kind and humble. But hidden under that disposition is a spicy, extremely talented bad ass! So so in awe of this man! So lucky to have him as a guide.
-Sumon is now “Sumon Chu”: named after the stylish facial hair he is rocking! Sumon is not only one of our talented guides, but he is an a phenomenon photographer (check him out on insta @guiding_photography) and the best dressed man on the mountain. I have the feeling his nickname will change over the course of this expedition, seeing as he is a renaissance man!