Posted by: Yury Pritzker | May 11, 2009

Pheriche – burning the yak poop

We are still in Pheriche. It is snowing here for the second day and we have 3-4 in of the snow on the ground. Actually today was the first morning in 1.5 months that we woke up and it wasn’t a sunny day.

It is very cold in the rooms today because there is no sun. The hotels here do not have heating system, so all inhabitants are sitting in the huge dining room. The dining rooms in all these hotels are built the same way. It is usually a large room, about 10x20m, with benches covered by soft ragson the perimeter of the room.

Tables follow the perimeter also, so people can sit on the benches and eat. In the middle of the room there is a heating stove made out of metal that uses yak poop for heating. Apparently it is a very efficient fuel that produces a lot of heat, but strangely no smell. There are some chairs that surround this stove so if you are really cold you can sit there too. As the trekking season is almost over, there are mostly climbing teems here resting in this hotel.

The Pheriche village is 300m long with some lodges scattered on both side of the trail. There are no roads here because there are no cars or other ways of commuting except feet.

There are two tiny sores around the hotel that we call the shopping mall. We can buy candy bars there for 50% less then in the hotel. The price of a Snickers bar is around $1.20 in the Shopping Mall, and $2.50 in the hotel.

It is an entertaining experience for us once a day to go to the Shopping Mall to see what is on sale today. After 2 days of watching the sale and recording the price trends, I came to the conclusion that the price of candy bars here is pretty stable, and does not really reflect variances of world oil prices.

Another source of entertainment is to climb a ridge that is behind our hotel and in 20 min reach another village that sits behind it. It is called Dingbuche. It is approximately the same size but has internet cafe. The price of the connection is $40/h. Yes it is expensive.

The villages here are completely independent of foreign oil. Everything here runs on solar power. It is a prototype of what we will have soon in the US when we get rid of foreign oil and rely on our own solar power.

The news from the BC is the same. The weather is not good and some teams abandoned their summit bid and are coming down from Camp 4.

[ed note: I have heard from a phone call that Yury is planning to take the oxygen he has for two attempts all at once and make one good attempt. He will use the oxygen to get better sleep at high altitude before the final summit push. More to come…]

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