Today it happened. Today, I caught a whiff of myself….and I smell.
And not in a good way.
Up here pipes freeze, so water is not readily available and buckets of hot water are expensive. We try to mange with wet wipes.
Now! While they are fantastic for babies, I have a little more acreage and a lot more humps and hollows than I had as a baby, so they are not as effective.
Then again, I believe that the odour of Everest is a rite of passage.
We move on today from Dingboche to Laboche with lunch date at Thukla . Bags out at 7am and breakfast at 7.30am.
We were up at 6.15am packing mad and are really well organized.
That was until I went to reach for my boots under the bed when I recoiled in horror at the grizzly scene that met me.
Directly under my bed – Mickey Mouse lay dead.
My sadness was mixed with a little guilt as I think my violent flatulence last night may have played a part in his demise.
I grabbed my boots, and left before Mr. Disney and the CSI guys arrived.
As we climb up out of Pangboche, there must be over 150 of us strung out along the trail like a slow moving, brightly colored festival bunting.
Early on we trek across a burnt heather hillside towards Dukla. The wind has dropped to manageable and a warm sun beats down.
It was a beautiful mornings trek. We could have been in The Hags Glen in bountiful Kerry.
Every few minutes the serenity is broken by the thumping staccato of incoming helicopters. They fill the skies like shiny steely tadpoles darting around a most outrageously blue pool.
The helicopters are ferrying supplies and infrastructure to build the camps for the summiteers.
Above Dukla we visit the Memorial ground to those killed on Everest.
It is thought provoking and poignant.
Amongst the memorials are shrines to those who died in the 1996 catastrophe on the mountain and were subsequently immortalized in the book “Into Thin Air” and the movie “Everest”.
There are numerous others – including one to a 5 year old girl.
Those attempting to summit each year pass through this monument to the fragility of life on Everest and then actively decide to continue.
Past the memorials we enter a huge crater like valley scattered with rocks and gravel. It is a valley gouged out of the earth some millions of years ago as the glaciers retreated and it is incredible.
To think, we are now walking ground that was once filled with dinosaur.
During the earlier part of the trek, I often fell behind while stopping to take a photo or to drain the spuds.
It was no problem, merely double the pace and catch up to the main group.
It isn’t quite so easy at 4500 m +.
Today, I fell behind and tried to catch up.
Within yards, my lungs were screaming for oxygen. With deep gasping breaths I gulped gallons of air into my body but my altitude shrunken lungs could only wring droplets of oxygen from it.
A poor return for the effort.
From here on we’re on air-light and every step will be deliberate and purposeful.
Our pace is slow due to the steep nature of the climb and the altitude however it is further hampered by the sheer volume of people coming and going.
It is incredible.
With the crowds and helicopters, we must be getting closer to Base Camp.
Excitement is building.