Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Everest Base Camp & Island Peak Memoirs Part VII

Tuesday 28th October Lobouche (4,930m) to Gorak Shep (5.180m)

We get on the trail and meet up with “Team America” ie Maile, Caitlin and Brandon (all siblings) and Jessie. We cruised at a slow steady pace with glorious weather again. The gang is in good spirits, despite not acclimatising properly (coming up too quick and being rather ill with banging headaches at Thukla a part from Jessie). I head up past Gorak Shep, leaving my gear in our room and visit Rob Hall’s memorial. I am really touched and shed a tear for my great countryman and Himalayan legend. The late afternoon storm clouds swirl about, with views of Nuptse creating quite an atmosphere and a feeling of big mountain respect – this was the stuff I’d come to see! Rob Hall was only 35 years old when he passed – what a young life to be taken by this extremely powerful mountain, the intense feelings really hit home as I am 33 years old and still feel very young at heart (most of the time anyway)!

Wednesday 29th October Gorak Shep (5,180m) Acclimatisation Day – Kala Pattar (5,545m)

This morning we’re going to head up to the classic viewpoint that takes in Mt.Everest, unlike EBC which actually doesn’t but has views of the Khumbu icefall and surrounds. I pack up the daypack and we cruise up the 5545m vantage point. After 70 minutes of a slow persistent slog in the thinning air we are treated to absolute mind blowing views of Mt. Everest in all its glory. The eye takes in great views of the khumbu ice fall leading up from EBC and the whole surrounding bowl. Pumori is close behind Kala Pattar and is a striking triangular peak highlighted by a deep deep blue sky. After taking in the views I Trot back down to the sandy flat plateau area of Gorak Shep and lay in the sun by a beautiful ice lake – great to have the feet out of the boots and in the sun! A few momos in the arvo with some chilled out reading. Ian the New Yorker is still feeling quite sick with little appetite (he had been in the Indian Himal for over 40 days so it would be unusual for it to be an acclimatising issue) and is suffering from bad guts. Night arrives and Christina and Saran turn up with the team of Swedes (Per, Freddy and Ola) whom I will join in a few days to Climb Island Peak. It’s great to have a chat and some chai and get to know them all a little better – what a great bunch of people they are!


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