Everest Base Camp – Puja Ceremony

On any other day of the expedition our Sherpa team devotes their full attention and energy in service to the climbing team, but not today.  Today was for the Sherpa and their Puja ceremony.

The Puja is a mandatory and special part of every Everest expedition.  It is deeply rooted in the rituals of Tibetan Buddhism.  The purpose of the Puja is for the Sherpa to ask Sagamartha (Mt. Everest) for permission to climb and for safe passage for all team members.

Puja Chorten

Puja Chorten

First a Puja chorten is erected as a place to make offerings and burn incense.  Food and drink is blessed for the celebration to follow.  The Sherpa place their equipment at the chorten for special blessings.  After a long series of chants and prayers and other ritual, a flag pole is raised and Tibetan prayer flags are spread across the entire camp to bless all who pass.

Then to symbolize long life (white beards) and friendship Sherpa and climbing team members rub white flour on one another in celebration.

Flour Beards for Old Age

Flour Beards for Old Age

With our Puja now complete the Sherpa team will begin fixing the climbing route above Camp 2.  The climbing team will devote several days to honing our technical skills in the lower Khumbu Ice Fall.

Sherpa Climbing Team

Sherpa Climbing Team

We will be supported in each step of the expedition by a devoted team of Sherpa who will focus every bit of their energy to our safe passage on the mountain.


  8 comments for “Everest Base Camp – Puja Ceremony

  1. Art Muir
    April 13, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Love these posts Jim


  2. Rodolph Dandan
    April 13, 2016 at 11:49 am

    And now the season is officially open. Good luck James on this great challenge.

    • james.lumberg@me.com
      April 13, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      Thank you, Rodolph!

  3. Angie Cook
    April 13, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Your group looks big. How many climbers and how many Sherpa? And any other support staff? How many different expeditions are at base camp with your team? The pictures are beautiful and make the weather look fantastic. It seems like you all hang around in light jackets and no mittens/gloves. What is the average temperature at base camp? So many questions and so little time….. Thanks for sharing and allowing us to tag along in your quest. Stay safe!

    • james.lumberg@me.com
      April 13, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Angie. We are one of the larger teams on the South Side this year. We have 9 climbing team members, 4 western guides, 18 climbing Sherpa and probably 8 or more EBC support staff. There are larger teams here representing the Indian military and another group from the UAE. We have had warm weather for the Khumbu this time of year. Typically the mornings are warm (light jackets, the occasional quick shower, laundry) then the afternoons cloud up and it gets cold. We had a few inches of snow yesterday. The nights are cold and water bottles are frozen in the morning. Thanks for checking in.

  4. David bialecki
    April 13, 2016 at 10:11 am

    James when the sherpa team fix ropes for you to camp 2 are they just for your team to use or anyone

    • james.lumberg@me.com
      April 13, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Hi David. The Ice Fall Doctors maintain the route to Camp 1, then the various expedition teams coordinate resources to fix the lines above Camp 1. We will contribute rope and Sherpa support and all of the teams will share the same fixed line to the summit. It requires a great deal of coordination and cooperation among the various teams.

  5. Lyn
    April 13, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing the ceremony with us. Amazing. Be careful on the icefall.

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