Christopher George!!

To Christopher George!  (This was to be my blog of April 17 but I was way under the weather)

In honor of this your 31st birthday a Lama arrived from Pangbouche and preformed our Puja ceremony. The Sherpa will not climb until a Puja has been preformed.  A Puja begins as a solumn affair with prayers and blessings for mour climb.  The Lama blesses rice which is thrown on the stupa, a sort of stone altar that our Sherpa erected before we arrived.  It is prominent in our campsite and is the first item built after shelter.  Rice wine is blessed and poured on the top of the stupa which is adorned with prayer flags and khata (shawls or scarves of cream satin) and every where the stones are dabbed with Sherpa butter.  We sit crossed legged next to the Lama who has an alter at his feet with wine, water and something red in which he dips an ostrich feather and sprinkles it on the the stupa and on us.  It is a wonderful, emotional ceremony.  Our climbing Sherpa, Dawa jumps up and in the center of the stupa erects a pole much like a May pole with hundreds of colorful prayer flags spinning in all directions.  Theses strings of flags are suspended over the entire encampment.  This was followed by load chants  and all the Sherpa were involved.  A special string of flags was added to the pole, the prayer flags the kids from Mr. Cleere’s class made for me.  The now proudly fly over our tents as paret of our Puja ceremony. 

Along with the prayer flags all our climbing equipment, axes, crampons, harness rest next to the stupa. And! a pile of Boston Red Sox ball caps!  Incense burns, rice is thrown and out comes the Jack Daniels!  It was offered in capfulls so I was able to put my finger in it and not have to partake in too m uch.  Somehow between the flu and altitude I think I would have been a wreck!

Ah but ours wasn’t just any Puja!  Our Puja lasted well into the late afternoon with singing and dancing and a new record for the longest Puja.  Obviously others drank way more than that original capfull! Newcomers to the celebration were decorated with flour on their shoulders and faces””May you grow old enough that your hair grows long and your beard is gray!”

The Lama had long since returned to his village but our Puja was held on this particular date, April 17 on purpose, in honor of my Christopher so the ceremony ended with a huge crowd all with beer in hand yelling to the mountain top!!!  “To Christopher George!”

Climb On!


9 Responses to “Christopher George!!”

  1. 1 Sheryl April 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I can’t imagine a better way for YOU to celebrate Chris’ birthday. Happy Birthday Chris!! I told Lisa I thought you had already gotten into the sherpa beer when we got your e-mail we could barely decipher!! Hope you’re feeling better. I was beginning to wonder why we hadn’t heard from you in a few days…As always take care, listen to your body and your guides and GO SOX!!
    Sheryl 😉

  2. 2 Dan April 19, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Hi Wendy! This is Dan from the UK. I read your blog regularly and just wanted to say all the best in your climb! I remember well the expedition to Everest Base Camp and am with you in spirit! Give other MS sufferers inspiration and conquer this mountain!

  3. 3 Della April 20, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Nice work! Basecamp and illness now behind you. You are on your way. Back from Desert RATS run. Not much faster than last year but had a Fabulous time. You will too.
    Hugs and well wishes,


  4. 4 Tea April 20, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Hey Book,

    I just had lunch with Zerch last Thursday and was informed you are on the climb again! I am praying for a successful summit. I luv and miss you can’t wait till you back in Florida for a girls night out. I’m so very proud to say your my friend! Can’t wait to buy the book! Break a leg!! Luv Tea :0)

  5. 5 Mike April 21, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Wendy, this ceremony sounds neat. I am glad you are taking it all in. This is a special time for you and you do not want to miss anything. This has been a long and wonderful life’s journey. Hang in there.

    Mike G

  6. 6 Steve April 21, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Climg on. I am a friend of Tom’s mother and we are all watching your progress from the YMCA in Wisconsin.

    Good Luck !!!!

  7. 7 Dave - MSWorld April 21, 2009 at 8:44 pm


    Your friends and supporters at MSWorld are wishing you all the best on your climb to the top of the world. You are an inspiration to those of us living with MS every day.

    Dave A.

  8. 8 Jen April 21, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Hi girl,
    I had to catch up reading your posts since I was in CA visiting my sis. I love reading them and all the details about the culture and religion. Sounds like despite the flu, you are doing well, which is awesome. You are in my thoughts every day and we are sending you our good vibes from CO. Keep those spirits high! Hi to Brooke and the rest of the team.
    Love, Trainer Jen

  9. 9 Beverly May 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Doll –

    What an adventure! I am so damn proud of you as you do battle every day – keep the faith, baby! Makes climbing in Colorado look like a cake-walk. You are in my thoughts and prayers everyday as I check in to see ‘where in the world is Wendy?’ – so happy you are back in the trees for a minute.

    Go for it, girl!

    Love, B

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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.


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