DAY 8 – 2 MAY 2013
Happy Birthday to my nephew Niev who is back home in Melbourne! Hope you eat loads of cake on my behalf too! I miss you.
We woke up at 6.30am today and got ready.
The water is getting colder the higher up we go. Washing your face and brushing early in the morning is becoming an almost excruciating exercise.
I didn’t sleep too well last night. Woke up two or three times through the night and was tossing and turning a lot. I’m guessing this is owing to the high altitude and my body still adjusting to the difference.
We had breakfast and were ready to leave Dingboche by 8.15am. Today we go to Chukkung which is a further 300m ascent. We will spend the night there and also hire our climbing gear for Island Peak from there.
This morning we got our first glimpse of Island Peak from Dingboche.
This is the peak we aim to climb (6,189m). The walk to Chukkung was a gradual climb but I felt it slightly with the lack of oxygen.
Along the way, my foot went into the river accidently so ended up getting wet inside. I’m hoping it dries off by tomorrow before we leave for Island Peak otherwise it is going to be blisters galore and ruin the rest of the expedition for me.
Along the way, we saw a mountain with a cornice like a pyramid called Chapalu (6,700m) and alongside it was Kali Mountain (6,985m) next to that Ampa Galchan (6,340m).
Behind Island Peak was peak 38 (7,585m) which has a whole lot of snow cover. We also got to see a different side of Ama Dablam & Taboche.
After lunch, whilst we were waiting for Lhakpa, Stefano & I fell asleep in the dining room. Manoj went for a nap to the room. We all got up and got together around 2.30pm. Manoj, Lhakpa & Stefano had a coffee to heat up and get started and soon enough we were off towards Chukkung Ri (5,550m).
It was snowing outside. Today was the first day on the mountains where we got snow whilst we were out walking.
We crossed the river at two places and made our way up some steep terrain. It felt like an endless climb. We got to an altitude of 5,111m on Chukkung Ri before we began to turn back. This exercise was to help us acclimatize further and faster before the climb to Island Peak.
It was snowing quite heavily on the way down. Kumar and his brother Bibas meanwhile had gone ahead to Island Peak Base Camp to pitch a tent and deposit all our climbing gear out there.
They were back within 6 hours to Chukkung.
Lhakpa, our guide went along with us without any thermals or gloves on the whole route. The Sherpa people have amazing abilities to withstand this climate and terrain and it is quite awe inspiring.
We recorded a minimum temperature of 0.5 degrees Celcius. The coldest we have seen so far.
Luckily the lodge, Yakland Lodge, had a nice warm dining room. We got there and began stretching and to relax. I put my shoes and socks to dry out near the heater.
As per usual, our dinner was served at 7.30pm.