Everest Trek part eight, Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp

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June 3rd 2010
Published: September 15th 2010
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3/6/10: Jacinta woke up feeling fine; she had no headache and the bed rest the day earlier really payed off. Although we had a restless sleep and packet noodles for breakfast we had a great start to the morning. Halfway into the walk we heard a massive thunder followed by the sound of what can only be described as a ragging torrent of water or a flooded river coming from the opposite side of the mountain, it was a huge avalanche that made our stomachs rumble from the noise. The only problem was it came from the hidden side of the mountain. It was so loud that I shuddered to think how loud it would have been if it happened on our side, I was so disappointed that we missed seeing it. We followed the Khumbu Glacier traversing along the moraine. The closer we walked to EBC the thicker, higher, cleaner and more sculpted the glacial ice got. It slowly turned from a black colour to brown, green, then finally blue and white. The trail finally led down into the glacier itself. The well worn trail wound its way past craters filled with dirty ice water and half melted ice mounds. Some of the ice had melted into ghostly ice sculptures and formations that looked more man made then natural. Most of the ice pools had ice melt hanging over the water, I had to remind myself not to walk to close to the edge of the water because I was only standing on thin ice. My favourite ice sculptures were the massive boulder that precariously balanced on ice podiums. Some weighed more than a car as they balanced perfectly on frozen water.
Getting to EBC only took 2 hours so we had plenty of time to look around; we arrived at 8:00am. Base camp was a jumble of rock mounds and flat pads. The only tents left were a Russian expedition; it was quiet small and only consisted of two climbers a Sherpa and a cook. This was compared to the 33 expeditions and 350 climbers plus staff that were here only one week ago. I was happier to see base camp in a more natural setting then a tent city. I was however, disappointed about was the rubbish that was left over, there seemed to be rubbish everywhere.
We had to be careful while walking, gravel supported on ice below ground made it difficult to know what was solid ground or slippery ice. EBC was not really that interesting, what was interesting was the Kumbu ice glacier ice fall. We crossed a small stream to gain access to the ice layers or sheets on the otherside, they ended up being relatively safe to walk amongst. It was so pretty walking through the ice formations. Jacinta found some intriguing icicles, I took a photo of her the exact time it broke off in her hand, it was a fluke of a shot but it made for a great photo even with her expression on her face. It was time to be patriotic and get our customary flag out; we had carried this flag with us the whole trip. Our new friend Morgan was at EBC the same time as us so he took a few snaps of us. I also got carried away as it was a perfect opportunity to take a few nude photos; the ice walls gave perfect protection from the icy winds making the temperature soar to a whopping 15C. My feet kept freezing; I had to keep switching feet like trying to walk on hot sand at the beach only it was icy cold snow. The temperature was so warm that if someone would have told me it was going to be this warm I would not have believed them. There was a real problem with the glacier and global warming. The glacier has receded 5km in 50 years that's a massive 100m per year. I had also had spoken to some Sherpas, one of their friends holds the record for 20 climbs on Everest. His exact words were that every year there is less and less snow on Everest but this year was the worst by far that he has ever seen. 10 years ago they had to chop up ice only a few meters away from base camp two, then boil it down for drinking water, now the glacier has a permanent stream running down the ice fall, they also have to walk 100m to get to the receded glacier (Very very bad). We also took a few customary Where’s Dan photos just to add to the blog; it wasn't too hard to hide in here. By the time we finished looking which was around 2 hours later there was melt water everywhere. It came increasingly harder and harder to keep our feet dry so we headed back out. We could have easily spent another 2 hours looking around but the little stream we crossed earlier became a river, we had to walk back up stream just to find a safe place to cross. As we said goodbye to EBC we took one more look around with our kinked necks from looking up; it was still one of the best days we have had for a long time. Looking back on EBC I can’t understand how anyone can even spend one week in this shit hole let alone two months. Constantly rebuilding a pad for your tent as the glacier reclaims real-estate only to have to sleep on a pile of rock and rubble to protect you from the cold wet ice below. Endure freezing temps in the night with little oxygen to breath, I could go on and on but they pay up to $75000 USD for the privilege to climb Everest, I think I would rather spend that swimming and diving on an island beach, but I suppose everybody is different. We got back to Gorak Shep after lunch just in time for packet noodles again (Yuk I can’t believe we brought 60 packets). We spent the rest of the afternoon resting and dreaming about the Mac and Cheese we were going to have for dinner. Oh, and do you remember the New Zealand couple that climbed from Lukla to Gorak Shep in 5 days? Well, she never slept that night, complaining of a huge headache she then climbed Kala Pattha in the morning even though she had AMS (the worse thing she could have ever done) only to come back down from summiting and throwing up, dizzy and light headed. They had to immediately descend to Lobuche or even further missing out on EBC altogether. The stupid thing was they had more than a week of spare time to complete the trek choosing to rush paying the ultimate price for their stupidity.

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15th August 2011
Wheres Dan

mate thanks for the awsome travel blog, me and my wife are planning to got to Central asia in Novemeber and we both spent days reading your blogs. Very inspiring Thanks!!

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