The lodges are all made of plywood so every sound can be heard. There was a clock on the other side of the wall to me that was ticking. It sounded like it was right next to my ear, there is nothing more annoying than a ticking clock.
We ended up getting up at 7am, once one is up we are all up! It gave us time to faff about and sort out our bags, we left a few things behind to make our bags as light as possible. Ash and Archie, the two Indian ladies, were supposed to leave at 7 but they didn’t leave until about 8:30 – they were on Indian time! Their plan is to go straight to Mera high camp and miss out Mera La (where we are heading today) and summit the day before us. That’s a really long day and a lot of altitude gain, but they are on a tight time schedule. We waved them off and wished them luck.
The weather looked a lot better than yesterday, much clearer. We set off around 9:30am. It started out really warm but after around an hour of walking the clouds started to roll in and it soon got cold. Time to layer up.
We were supposed to walk to the glacier in our plastic boots, but the porters were amazing and carried our boots and crampons so we didn’t have to. I’m so glad they did because walking on rocks in plastic boots is really hard. The walking was pretty tough, rocky and steep, but the pace was nice and slow. I fell over and slammed my knee on a rock. Blinding pain, but I was brave and I carried on walking through it.
Martin and I instigated a negativity jar. 100npr / $1 fine for any negativity about anything. Especially the food, weather, toilet situation, accommodation etc. The pot will go to the Dorje Katre fund, we met Dorje on our EBC trek and he sadly died in the Everest Avalanche in April 2014 and was supposed to have been on our trek with us. Hopefully this will reduce the moaning!
We heard a couple of avalanches and a rock fall. We got to one point where the route we would have taken was too dangerous because of a rock slide, so we went a bit off piste and took an up and down route to get to the glacier. We walked alongside it for a while and took a steep up to get onto the glacier where our porters were waiting for us with our boots. The sun came out halfway up the climb and I was burning up instantly. I took off my hat and my scalp felt like it got third degree burns within about 5 seconds. The sun at this altitude is intense! We got to the top of the climb and I stripped off. Then, as quickly as the sun had come out it went back in again, and it was time to put all the layers back on. We made our way precariously across the ice to meet the porters. That’s the last time we will see our walking boots now until we get back to Khare.
Plastic boots on. Crampons on. A lot of faffing later and we were off over the ice. We had to hurry past one point to avoid the falling rocks. Huffing and puffing our way to the ropes section. We had seen people going up the ropes when there was a break in the weather. The clouds continued to roll in and out, the weather and temperature constantly changing.
It didn’t take long to reach the ropes, we got our harnesses on and we climbed the 60 or so metres of roped section. It was a shabby bit of rope with about 8 knots in it which meant we kept having to stop to release the ascender and reattach it above the knot. Absolutely knackering. I regularly had to stop to catch my breath. The next up section was done without a rope and just small baby steps all the way up.
Stuart and Martin T were ahead of me and waiting at the top. Amazing views, and we could see our camp for the night down below us. We were at around 5400m.
Jumping in boots and crampons is difficult:
The after shot!:
Dawa came and met us with hot squash and we made it down the steep slippy rocks to camp at Mera La. I didn’t want to tempt fate but this is the first time getting to the summit has actually felt achievable.
It was a good day. We got to camp around 4:15pm. The Sherpa boys are amazing, helping us take off our crampons and harnesses, and our tents were all set up – I dived in mine straight away because it was really cold. I sat for a while not having the desire to do anything, just dealing with the terrible wind I have developed. Non stop bubbly wind. So annoying!
We had tent service, they brought us noodle soup – and we were starving having not really eaten anything but chocolate since breakfast – then soup and popcorn and then dhal bhat- a Nepalese lentil curry and rice dish. It was all delicious because Dawa cooked it but unfortunately probably won’t help the farting situation at all.
I got into my sleeping bag straight away and have no intention of getting out of it, but I will probably need a wee in the night. We are camping at around 5380m / 17620ft which is higher than Everest Base Camp.
I hope I sleep ok tonight. I don’t think I feel sick, I think it’s just all this excessive wind making my tummy feel grotty. As I lay typing my blog I have a blinding headache. I am hoping it is just staring at the bright screen in the dark and it will go away when I go to sleep.
The Indian ladies turned back and came into our camp just as it was getting dark. I think one of them is really unwell. Unfortunately their summit bid is over.