I went to bed with then intention of reading as it was so early, but managed about 2 pages before I fell asleep. I think I slept well, I was cosy in my big sleeping bag. We were spoiled here as the toilet is inside, even so, when you go to the loo and get back to bed you are completely out of breath, like you’ve just run a race.
Today is an acclimatisation day. A later start, breakfast at 8. A cheese omelette which was tasty but swimming in oil. I don’t think it did much for my stomach.
We went for a little walk as soon as the sun came up over the mountain and it warmed up a bit. We didn’t go far but it was steep so there was a lot of huffing and puffing. The group has a distinct split in ability. The problem comes when we have to wait around in the cold for the others to catch up. We spent some time at our highest point and I got the Sherpas involved in the jumping pictures!
Our Sherpas are fantastic. On the right is Pemba, our lead guide. He has summited Everest twice, and was on the mountain when the devastating Avalanche hit around 18 months ago. He is quiet, shy, calm and incredibly skinny! In the middle is Dawa, he is mostly at the front leading the way, he is exceptionally cheeky and he likes to play tricks on me by hiding my poles and pretending there are no Mars bars. He is also a great chef and it’s always a treat when he gets to go in the ‘kitchen’ to make our food. On the left in Sonam, an older, wiser, calming influence. He exudes a quiet reassurance but spends all of his time as the sweeper at the back of the pack.
Our 2 hour ascent only took us 45 minutes to come back down. We had lunch and then we had hours and hours to kill. Some people washed themselves and their clothes, I led in the sun and tried to read but ended up falling asleep. Around 2pm the clouds gathered and the sun went in meaning so did we.
We had tea, powdered biscuits and some intensely spicy Indian snacks. We were just trying to pass the time. Nobody brought cards or dice or anything to do but somehow we managed to waste the whole afternoon.
We got the fire put on tonight. 3000npr. £2 / $3 each. More than worth it in my opinion! There was some moaning about having to pay for the wood and I lost my cool for the first time – I think I did pretty well to last a week! We are well above the tree line now so all wood has to be brought up here on someone’s head. There is a lot of building going on and the wood we had for the fire was clearly off cuts from the tables we had seen them making, but they still had to be brought here on someone’s head regardless of whether they are off cuts. Some people are carrying thousands of pounds worth of kit with them and yet they are complaining about paying two pounds to be warm in one of the poorest countries in the world?! It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
Dinner came at 6:30, I had the same I had for lunch! I am finding it difficult to keep eating so much without having a poo – more bowel related altitude problems! We were joined by the Indian girls, it was nice to have some other company. What a difference being warm and cosy makes, we even made it to 9pm before we went to bed!