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With all of the news swirling around Mt. Everest this spring–torches, closures, another book or 15–we’ve forgotten about one very serious situation on top of the world: There’s no place near the icefall to get a cinnamon roll and a skinny-no-foam latte.
Until now. No, Cinnabon isn’t coming to Everest. (But would that really be surprising?) Nor is Starbucks. One assumes steaming milk is still too sketchy at that altitude–otherwise a green-and-white tent would be the last outpost on a Khumbu Valley tea-house trek. In defiance of corporate-coffee-house ubiquity, guide Dawa Steven Sherpa brought the first bakery to Everest base camp.
The bakery serves up apple pie, cheesecake, banana bread, and whatever else expedition-cook-turned-baker Shera Sherpa whips up that day. According to the BBC, a slice of pie at base camp doesn’t come cheap, but there’s a warm fuzzy: Dawa’s primary job is tour operator, so he’s donating the bakery’s profits to a fund for local villages facing potentially devastating effects from climate change.
Dawa told the BBC that the secret to his high-altitude bakery is a gas oven that was designed to be hauled by porters, though there’s “lots of trial and error” in baking at 17,600 feet. So don’t complain if your croissant isn’t fluffy, or the apple pie falls short of grandma’s standards.
But forget flat pastries–the glaring shortfall of this operation is the lack of coffee. If it’s possible to drag an oven up there, couldn’t someone haul an espresso machine, too? Or…maybe Sandy Pittman left hers behind in 1996.
– Jenn Fields