Well, Kala Pathar was soooo tough. KP is adjacent to Gorak Shep and is merely a 400 meter climb. However that is a 400 meters elevation gain from 5,140 meters.The trail is steep and rocky and our pace is similar to that of the funeral march (last mention of funerals). Even at that pace each step is torturous and to climb 400 meters of elevation took 3 hours.
At last we topped out at 5545 meters on a summit about the size of a billiard table and the views were incredible. Right in front of us was the top half of Everest, to its right was the beautiful Ama Dablam (I’m practically certain that AD is the mountain used by Paramont Pictures at the start of their movies).
Behind us was another incredible valley.
All at once, the breathlessness and gasping and pain were forgotten. For about an hour we took photos, selfies, videos and thoroughly enjoyed the achievement of making the summit. Then as the sun set, Mount Everest became the main attraction. With plumes of snow gently billowing off the south summit and soft clouds framing the Hilary step and the summit proper – it was an awesome sight. Ang Khami Sherpa pointed out the route from Base Camp to summit and it blew my mind.
We spent some time trying to get the perfect Everest sunset photo and then it was time to descend to Gorak Shep. Darkness fell and out head torches were put to work. Looking back up the hill into the darkness, our group were traveling close together and the lights danced down the hill.
Some of ye have been craving photos. Unfortunately with the limited WiFi they won’t load to WordPress. We plan to update each blog with photos when we return to Kathmandu.
Back at the Snowland, the food hall is packed with trekkers from all over enjoying their food. We dumped our rucksacks and took our place at the table. Suddenly, the exertions of the day hit home and the energy of the group evaporated. We were shagged. No cards tonight. All disappeared to bed before 9.
The rooms are very basic. Two twin beds with soiled bed clothes. A centre light that works for about 2 hours each day. A window the freezes over – and that’s it.
The whole place is made of plywood. Last night we passed two rooms where the occupants were cooking. It’s crazy. If this place goes up, it’s unlikely that we’ll all make it out.
Tonight’s another night without sleep. It’s becoming very tiresome for both of us.
But tonight it is different.
I hear Sherpa up quite a lot between midnight and 4am. He’s not good. He has a heavy headache and feels feverish. During the night he takes paracetamol and diamox – hoping that they will improve the situations
At 6am – with no improvement, we are both concerned. I go to find our guide Ang Khami who jumps out of bed and comes to our room. He takes Sherpas oxygen stats and temperature, they are both good – but it is definitely mild altitude sickness. Kami suggests that he take some Coca Cola to help the dehydration and try to get some sleep. We’re not leaving until 11.30am so he has some time.
While planning our trip we had spoken about the variable that is Altitude sickness. We had prepared meticulously in terms of fitness and gear but always knew that we couldn’t control our bodies response to altitude. We hoped that altitude sickness wouldn’t visit our door but here it is.
We may have to choose between Base Camp and Island peak. It will be a difficult decision to make and the next couple of hours will be fraught with angst and concern.