The Himalayas are young mountains, as mountains go, and they have the sharp and dramatic profiles of young megafauna (tigers, leopards, etc.)--and the same charisma. When we left Deboche today on a beautiful morning, perhaps. the most dramatic of the Everest Group, Ama Dablam ("Mother and Child") looked down on us as we wound our way through a stunning valley. Ama Dablam is technically more difficult than Everest to climb, being topped with a fiercely steep summit After lunch in Syomare (4010 meters) we continued on across the mountainside, gazing down on small farm plots bordered by stone fences. Soon we were walking on what Anda, our wise leader, thought was a ancient glacial morraine; certainly there were plenty of large boulders--erratics left there, possibly, by the glacier. In such a huge landscape, small things somehow become emphatic and striking: a flock of white birds wheeled and scattered above the mountainside, and their small shadows did the same on the earth below. Now we have come to the windswept town of Pheriche (4240 meters), and we anticipate another cold night tonight. Often in these higher Sherpa towns, wood or yak dung are the main (sometimes the only) fuels. But if any of us wants to get up to see the sky tonight, I'm sure we'll get a view to compensate for the cold!