I slept ok. I woke up in the night needing a wee as usual, I thought it was about 4am but it was only 1am so I really had to get up. On my way to the long drop I saw Martin peeing over the edge of the mountain, not what you need to see in the middle of the night! Back in bed I struggled to go back to sleep. I heard some scuttling. At first I thought it was outside. Whatever it was sounded massive. Then I thought it was in the room. I did the thing I do best in these situations, I ignored it.
The view from the ‘window’ of the toilet:
The view we woke up to:
Out 6:20 wake up knock came and we got ready for breakfast. Really cold this morning, but beautifully clear. I had a chapati with jam for breakfast which was a bit disappointing but that’s the chance you take. The water was revolting, it tasted of the fire they boiled it on, it tasted burnt.
We got moving at about 8:20am. Straight up all morning towards the prayer flags in the distance. Although cold to start with we de-layered pretty quickly but the gloves stayed on. When the sun eventually came up from behind the mountains it was boiling, it’s incredibly intense when it comes out. We quickly left the tree line behind, moving into more rocky and exposed terrain.
We arrived at a tea house and had noodle soup. Horrible memories of surviving on ramen entered my head, but it was absolutely delicious. Probably because it actually had some flavour, unlike ramen!
We continued on up to the Chetra La pass. It was arduous! Steep, rocky, difficult to breathe. The pass around 4550m so we gained around 1000m which is a lot at this altitude. The weather had started to close in and the clouds descended as we reached the pass.
We didn’t stay long as it was cold in the cloud. From here it was supposed to be downhill, but there was a lot of uphill in the downhill! This is known as Nepalese flat. We got to another tea house and had another hot lemon and ginger tea (I’ve never drunk this much tea in my life), biscuits and a dried lentil Nepalese snack. It got really really cold.
Then it really was time to descend, we went down for about and hour and ended up in the tea house at Thulikharka at around 4250m. We go high and sleep lower than we have been, which is supposed to help acclimatisation. Other than being completely out of breath every second I was walking uphill, I found today not too bad. We were walking for 9 hours and there was a lot of up but we were going at a really gentle pace.
We are leapfrogging with another group of 10, a mixed Austrian/Swiss/German group (the Europeans). And a couple of Indian ladies, Ash and Archie. Lots of people are feeling the effects of altitude today, headaches and nausea. I felt fine. Maybe because I already started the diamox?
The thing I am finding most difficult is being on other peoples schedules. I can’t do what I want. I am so used to making my own plans, eating when I want, stopping when I want. We rest constantly, that’s not a problem, but we have to hang around a lot to wait for people and when you are just hanging around you get really cold. Hot cold hot cold hot cold. It’s something I’m going to have to adapt to, being part of a group. The amount of moaning, panicking and worrying is also very difficult to deal with. I’ve spent too much time on my own!
I tried to buy a Mars Bar or a Twix at the lodge but they were all two years out of date – always check the dates of things in tea houses. I did buy a bottle of Sprite for £2 / $3 that was 6months out of date. It was a bit flat but it was ok.
I had Garlic soup and veg noodles for dinner, the noodles were cold but they were good even so.
Today we met a group on their way down who didn’t make the summit. Some of their group got sick. They gave some good advice – don’t risk you life to get to the summit! They were really unlucky with the weather too, they had rain for the first 6 days and the trail was covered in leeches.
I went to bed quite early with the intention of reading for a bit and just having some down time, I fell asleep after reading about half a page. I woke up an hour later bursting for a wee, I found my head torch and made my way down the steep, uneven staircase, outside and down the hill to the ‘short drop’ with the very wide hole! A thundering horse piss – maybe a side effect of the Diamox.