I need to cast my mind back a few days to update you so here goes!
Dingboche - Lobuche 4900M 2 May
We are really in the Himalaya's now! Shortly after setting off it began to snow and so it continued for the rest of todays trek. We had a bit of a climb out of Dingboche, then quite a long flat section. A very welcome lunch stop at Thukla where we met some friendly folk from SA on their way down. It is hard to describe trekking in the wind and the snow but i shall leave that to your imaginations. After luncy we had a horrible climb up, its so so hard at this altutude to climb up hills and it is a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and just trudging on. It probably took us about an hour to get up then another hour or so brought us to Lobuche. The villages at this altitude are small, barren and inhospitable - they are only for the trekkers as its not really feasable for people to live there and from what we understand they move to lower areas when it is not trekking
Inside the plane
season. I shall not comment on the accommodation for the next 2 days as it has permanently scarred me - suffice to say it was dreadful. Sleeping and eating are not easy at this altitude and we find ourselves layting awake waiting for morning to come - although that means we have to get out of our sleeping bags which is not pleasant. We have started sleeping with our clothes for the next day in our sleeping bags to keep them warm! Tomorrow is a big day and we are very anxious. Day 3, no shower.
Lobuche - EBC - Gorak Shep 3 May 5350M
WE MADE IT!! The big question on everyones mind, and yes we did it! It was the hardest thing, mentally and physically that either of us have ever done and we really had to dig deep to get there. But, i am jumping the gun a bit. A very early start took us on a 2.5 hr trek to Gorak Shep, our resting point for the night at 5100M. The terrain is difficult as its all stones and rocks and it winds up and down, up and down. It is still snowing and we
I have no problem with suspension bridges in 3rd world countries
are very cold. Upon arriving in Gorak Shep we had lunch (at 9.30!!), a bit of a rest then we set off for base camp. About half an hour into it i asked Rakesh if we where nearly there, when his reply was that it was 3 hours i nearly cried. It was snowing most of the way, with an arctic wind and it was very, very difficult to negotiate as you are walking along the Khumbu Glacier, and just below the screed is ice which is very slippery. After about an hour you climb up onto a ridge and the views are breathtaking. Amazingly it stopped snowing and the weather cleared and we had the most unbelievable views of Base Camp, Everest, Lhotse and Nupse. Never mind all the zillion other just as awe inspiring peaks and, equally impressive the Khumbu Icefall. As you are walking along you hear a loud rumble which is an avalanche that you may or may not see. How lucky are we? Base Camp itself is a collection of tents and people of many different nationalities and little else. It is situated on the rocks and ice and must be very uncomfortable to sleep
Everest National park
and is an extremely harsh environment in which to stay. After experiencing altitude at 5500M and imagining that these guys climb another 3km up, I am in awe. You cannot believe what that must take. After hanging around there for half an hour or so we set off on our 3 hour trip back to Gorak Shep. What an incredibly long, incredibly difficult, incredibly rewarding day. Day 4, no shower.
Gorak Shep - Kala Pattar - Pangboche 4 May 5636M
After a sleepless night at high altiutude we got up at 3.30am (yes, thats AM) put our torches on our head and set off into the darkness to climb Kala Patar. It was -10 outside (actually it was probably -10 inside as our sleeping bags had icicles on them!!)It took us 2 hours to climb up to the peak and i was absolutely 100% shattered. I have been trying to think how to describe it and its so difficult as the altitude plays such an important role. My best attempt would probably be running up Table Mountain as you are so out of breath and you can never catch it, no matter how deeply you breathe. It was probably
Onward and upward
phyiscally even more challenging that getting to Base Camp as it was straight up. But.. boy were we rewarded when we arrived there! The sun was coming up over Meru and Everest and ever direction you looked there were 8000+M mountains and we felt we were on top of the world! An hour down took us to breakfast at Gorak Shep and the beginning of the long trek home. We were scheduled to stay in Pheriche but for various reasons we decided to push on to Pangboche for the night. We walked for 10 hours today in a very cold wind and when we arrived in Pangboche we were once again exhausted. An early dinner, A SHOWER (!!!) and we were asleep by 7pm!!
Pangboche - Namche 5 May 3400M
We are oxygen fuelled machines!! We set off after an early breakfast and power walked all the way here! On the way we popped into a 150 year old nunnery which was very interesting then we had a climb to Tengboche then down the other side. The downhills really punish your legs, unlike to uphills which punish your lungs. No suprise that i prefer the flats! The other thing
Finally, we arrive at Namche
is that the downhills are so long we are astounded that we actually managed to get up them a few days earlier, ignorance sure is bliss! We didn't even stop for lunch so eager were we to get to Namche so after 6 or so hours of walking today we are a day ahead of schedule and feeling strong (don't tell my body i said that). Tomorrow we head on down to Phakding then on to Lukla the next morning for our flight back to Kathamandu. We will have walked 144 km by the time we are finished and i am sure 143 of those were hills.
OK so Tam, has been blabbing on keeping you all appraised of what we have been up to (no punn intended) but what she has neglected to say is what a legend she is. I knew when I married her that she as awesome but this experience has shown me that I really do have the most amazing and incredible wife. This has been tough, awesome but tough and lets just say if there was an SAS selection for wives, Tam would have cruised it. She is a legend...
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