I’m not sure how I slept. Well I think until about 1am when I had to get up for a wee. A far less painful experience than I was expecting. The most difficult thing was walking in plastic boots that weren’t done up properly, and or course being completely out of breath when I got back to the tent! There was a toilet tent there set up by some other people but it was pretty full and gross! I continued to fart excessively all night. To the point where I was getting severe stomach pain. I also think I was hungry and dehydrated. When I got back from the loo my sleep was fitful. I listened to some music and slept on and off until the sun came up and the movement started.
We had French toast and frankfurters with garlic for breakfast and black tea.
I must have drunk more tea on this trip than I have in the last 10 years. I think I feel ok. It’s hard to tell and I have in the back of my mind that I have never felt ok at this altitude. I have a slightly woolly head but I think the main cause is dehydration. We hung about for ages, we knew we weren’t leaving until 9:30am but everyone was up early anyway. The porters and Sherpas packed up our tents and bags and we couldn’t leave before them. They left, just skipped up the hill and over the snow in their trainers and boots, some with just tshirts and some with jumpers. These guys really are super human.
We left at 9:30am for our estimated 4-5 hour journey over the ice. After a small scramble over the rocks – difficult in plastic boots – we put our crampons on. The Sherpas are wonderful and help people put on their kit if they are struggling.
We started the long journey uphill through the snow and ice. It’s fairly easy walking in crampons as there is no risk of slipping. There is a bit of a risk of tripping and stabbing yourself in the leg if you catch the points on the snow or on your trousers though!
The first hour and a half was easy. A nice gentle gradient a nice slow pace and frequent rest stops. And I was even managing to keep up at the front. I feel like a different person on this trip compared to previous altitude attempts. Maybe the last 5 months of walking has paid off!! Although they do say that fitness have no relation to altitude sickness. But I did spend a lot of time above 7,000ft on the pct. Maybe it helped.
We can see the summit now, in the photo below its the tiny ‘nipple’ right in the middle.
Our porters came running past us, they had been up to high camp with all our stuff and were going back to Khare for the night then coming all the way back in the morning. Nuts. They don’t carry any sleeping equipment so they have little choice.
Martin T had a really bad nose bleed. He’s been having a bit of a rough time of it.
The clouds rolled in throughout the day, when the sun was out it was boiling, I felt like I was cooking inside, but as soon as the sun was obscured by the clouds and the biting wind blew it was freezing.
I often find myself wondering why on earth I am doing this. It’s not really that pleasurable. With every step you are out of breath. Altitude is painful. You can see wonderful things without being this high, but you can’t see these wonderful things.
We saw a big crevasse and we made it to the big rock that we could see from our last camp in 3 hours, some 3 and a half, some 5.
The first thing we noticed is that is smelt like shit everywhere, mainly because there was shit everywhere. Shit and toilet paper and rubbish. Gross.
The French group were just packing up to leave having summited yesterday, I think they all made it. We waited a while to have our tents set up as there is limited space at high camp and we got straight into them. Jane my tent buddy felt terrible with a really bad headache. We got a hot squash and noodle soup and we had a nap for a bit.
It snowed quite heavily and the Sherpas came round and gave us hot water and shook the snow off our tents. Another nap and at 5:30pm it was time for dinner. Popcorn and soup and curried pasta, which was a bit odd, and spam. I declined the spam. It was an almighty mission to get outside to have a wee, at least the snow had covered all the turds so it didn’t smell quite so hideous.
When I got outside I could see that the rumbling noises we had been hearing weren’t avalanches as we had thought but there was a big thunder and lightening storm in the distance. Everything looked beautiful.
I have a mild headache and excessive wind. I don’t think I feel sick. I am at 5800m / 19150ft – higher than I’ve ever been. About 6pm we all went to bed, we have to get up at 1am for our attempt at the summit so this would give us a potential of 7 hours sleep. I knocked back 800mg of ibuprofen and half a diamox before bed. I was determined to give myself the best possible chance.
The porters carry up thin mattresses to put in the tents, you can feel all the rocks through them, I had my neoair with me but not the energy to blow it up, so I found a comfortableish place to wedge my hip and shoulder between the rocks and tried not to move all night.
I’m concerned about the weather, I hope it stops snowing, we have 1 contingency day built in so we might be hanging around here for a day of it doesn’t stop. I hope when I wake up my headache is gone.