What a difference being warm makes! I slept with my bottle of hot water in my sleeping bag for most of the night, I have been sleeping really well, getting a good 10 hours a night, which I’m used to getting on the PCT. I woke at 4.30am needing a wee but thought I could last until morning. This is a lesson I don’t think I will ever learn. I stayed awake for an hour. 5:30am I eventually went for a wee and then went straight back to sleep.
Porridge for breakfast this morning, egg is no longer a choice, it seems like me, egg and altitude don’t mix! It didn’t seem quite as cold this morning, within 10 minutes we were in the sun and stripping off all our layers.
We started walking at 8 and we had made it to Khare by 11:30am! This slow pace of life is such a change but it’s just not possible to walk fast. The walk was pleasant, gentle, until the last half an hour, which was steep up with lots of huff and puff to reach the lodge. We met some people on their way down, a group of 7 Russians who had all made it to the summit. They said conditions were good. The guy we spoke to was 65. I hope I’m still able to do this if I get to 65.
We followed the river for most of the morning so the walk was gentle. A quick Mars bar break. The Sherpas soon learn who likes what – they offer bounty snickers and Mars. I will only eat Mars because I don’t like nuts or coconut, so when Dawa came over to me he had the Mars hidden in his pocket. He is so cheeky.
A few people are feeling the effects of altitude, a few headaches and light heads. The doctor seems to be feeling it more than all of us!! I feel ok.
When we got to Khare we had lunch – hash brown topped with yak cheese and egg. The hash brown was basically a potato pancake with a lot of garlic in it! Everyone wanted to connect to the advertised wifi, I wasn’t that bothered. I like being unconnected when I’m in places like this. But I caved in and connected because everyone else did. I was so annoyed with myself. And it was the biggest waste of $10 – the wifi didn’t work. I managed to receive a couple of text messages but I couldn’t send or do anything. And, like I predicted, everyone spent their time with their faces in their phones (yes, including me sadly) trying to contact home instead of enjoying being in the moment.
I spent some of the afternoon lounging in the lodge eavesdropping on the conversation of two Irish people who made it to high camp but not the summit, it turns out they were just too tired to go any further. I really hope this doesn’t happen to me. They were talking to an Aussie guy who did make it to the summit, he said it was the perfect conditions and the perfect snow for crampons. That sounds promising. The weather just needs to hold out for 3 more days.
Through my eavesdropping I learnt that they run on hydroelectric here and when the river freezes they have no power. I could see a few flakes of snow starting to fall from the sky.
A few people bought their own plastic boots (rigid boots that you can attach crampons to and protect your feet from the very cold temperatures) and crampons, but they are very expensive so a few of us decided to hire them instead. A bit of a risk because you never know what the quality will be like but after a couple of tries I found some that were fairly comfortable. We got our boots and crampons fitted and hung about in the lodge trying to keep warm. We had dinner, I had the same as lunch which was probably a mistake! All the food is so oily and so so garlicky!
Stuart looked particularly unwell this evening, but the doctor looks pretty rough too and seems to be suffering with the altitude so he isn’t much help!!
With not much to do we went to bed around 8pm to try and keep warm.