Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Lobuche to Gorak Shep

Today was due to be a big day.  A walk to Gorak Shep, breaking 5000m and a possible climb up Kala Patthar.  I was feeling good, and doing a lot better than I thought I would be. The day before had been great and at times I had been 'flying'.

A few hours later and I was back down with a bump.  The walk to Gorak Shep isn't that hard, it climbs around 200m over a few hours with only one notable climb.  For the first hour the trek is fairly flat before a short steep climb onto a glacier.

The glacier is rocky and undulating, but nothing to hard.  Yet I really felt it.  Slower and slower with a lack of energy.  Gorak Shep was a sight for sore eyes, even when it looked rough and ready!  I was knackered.  A twix, jelly babies and soup and I still felt rough.  I had hit the wall.

I wasn't full of confidence when we set off towards Kala Patthar, so the walking poles were broken out.  The climb from Gorak Shep is initially steep before flattening slightly.  I found it hard work.  At the half way point we had an option, turn around or carry on to the top. 

I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider turning around.  I was blowing hard already, it was going to get steeper, higher and as 4 people had decided to go down, there was no peer pressure to continue.  We had views of Everest at this point, so photos were taken. 

We carried on, and it got harder.  And harder.  At altitude you should only move at a slow and steady pace, I had no plans or any capability to do much else.  After more climbing, another trekker had to drop out due to their headache getting worse, our leader was worried that climbing higher could stop them reaching EBC later on. 

I still plodded on, no headaches just the lack of ability to walk more than 10 paces without stopping.  It was also getting colder and windier.  This combined with my slow pace led me to be getting cold, cold enough to be loosing the feeling in my fingers.  In fact I should of turned around, I knew I was getting too cold, but after coming all this way I had to get to the top.

Our guide Sukman kept me going and we hit the top, 5645m!  Boy it was windy and cold!  The micro down jacket was on and it was still cold.  The views were great over to Everest, but to be honest I just wanted to head down!  After some chocolate (M&S Mountain Bar seemed appropriate) we headed down.

Within about 10 minutes I felt better, after another 20 I was nearly skipping.  Such a high!

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