Day 14 – 8th May 2013
Manoj and I woke up at 4am to get ready for our 4.30am start.
Today we’re starting off for Kala Patthar (5,545m) and aiming to arrive at the top by sunrise to be able to see Mount Everest and all surrounding mountains. It was a 2-hour slog uphill to get to the top of Kala Patthar but the views and panorama from up there was just breathtaking!
We got back to the lodge at roughly around 8am. Just in time for breakfast. After apple porridge and toast with chai, we left for Mount Everest Base Camp at 9am.
It took us 2 hours to get there. The sights was simply amazing. It was like a little city of tents that had been formed. There were so many different expeditions gathered there for Everest. We took plenty of photos of the Khumbu Icefall and the layout of the land. The Khumbu Icefall is the most dangerous part of the summit climb to Everest.
The Khumbu Icefall is literally a river of huge ice blocks. This is the same place where 16 high altitude, experienced Sherpa were killed in the 2014 avalanche. There are crevasses and towering blocks of ice on this route and it moves at a rate of 4 inches every single day!
It is the most technical aspect of the climb. As climbers acclimatize, they are forced to climb between base camp and the 4 high altitude camps before their final summit attempt. The acclimatization process requires climbers to go from basecamp, up through the Khumbu Icefall and onto Camp 1 on the glacier multiple times back and forth over months as they sufficiently prepare their bodies for the “Death Zone”.
All climbing above 8,000m is known as the death zone because human bodies and tissue are literally starting to die at this point. The longer you spend at this height and above, the higher your risk of death.
We left Everest Base Camp at around 1130am for the lodge at Gorak Shep and reached there at 1pm. All three of us were tired after the 7 hour walk that day.
The weather outside was beautiful. I only had a light jacket on on the way to Everest Base Camp and back. The skies were totally clear so all our photos look like postcards. This morning however, for our trek to Kala Patthar at 4.30am, I had on an Icebreaker thermal, a sports t-shirt, my Kathmandu down jacket, a kathmandu rain / windproof jacket, 2XU compression tights, wool socks & Mountain Hardware Summit Pants with a fleece lining and Kathmandu Gaiters. Conditions were subzero when we left at 4.30am that morning.
In the afternoon, Manoj and Stefano both took a nap whilst I was reading my book lying down on my bed. I came down to the dining room at around 5.30pm and we ordered popcorn to snack on as well as placing our order for dinner. Then we were just going over the map and our current distance and altitude climbed so far. My book is almost done as well. I only have about 20 pages to go. Tonight, since it is our last night together with Stefano, we are planning to celebrate with some Masala Chai & Digestive biscuits.
Digestive biscuits at Gorak Shep, the highest internet enabled cafe in the world, is such a luxury!
This is the first lodge we’ve stayed at which plays music in the evenings during dinner. It has been great so far since they’re playing some of my favourite tracks by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Tonight, we went to bed at 9pm.
I was reading the last few pages of my book before I too, nodded off.