DAY 5 – 29th APRIL 2013
We woke up at 5.45am for our acclimatization day. In high altitude mountaineering, humans are forced to “acclimatize” to avoid ill effects of high altitude on the body. This means that through acclimatization, we can avoid High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) which are conditions arising from sudden exposure to high altitude and can both be fatal to humans if not detected early and treated appropriately.
The summit of Mount Everest has less than 30% of the oxygen concentration that a beach would have. Hence, the term “thin air”. Pressure systems are less intense at such high altitudes which means its much harder for the human respiratory system to draw out the much needed oxygen from the air at such levels.
They say, if a human was collected from sea level and dropped at the summit of Mount Everest without any altitude training or appropriate acclimatization, he or she would be brain dead within 4 minutes of their time there due to the lack of oxygen available and being transported to the brain.
In order to combat such conditions, mountaineers are required to acclimatize. The way they do this is by climbing really high over a span of a few hours and then spending the night at a much lower altitude. In our instance. We landed at Lukla Airport (2,845m), walked down to Phakding (2,610m) and spent the night there the previous day. Now, having spent the night at Namche Bazaar (3,440m), we needed to climb much higher and spend the night again at Namche Bazaar to help our bodies acclimatize for the next leg of the climb.
Today we will again spend the night in Namche but we are going to make a side trip to visit Everest View Hotel, Khumjung Village, Khumjung Monastery and the Hillary School as part of our acclimatization day.
As we get ready to leave our lodge in Namche, we can clearly see Kongde (3,780m) from our room window, Thamserku (6,623m) and Kusum Kankalu (6,367m).
We make our way up, up, up spiraling over Namche. As we make it to the top of Namche Town, we walk towards Everest View Hotel (3,880m). On our way, we get the first view of some very spectacular mountains, namely Ama Dablam (6,856m), Lhotse (8,516m) and Everest (8,848m). Behind Thamserku (6,623m) we could see Khangtega (6,778m). We also saw Nuptse (7,855m). The closest one was Taboche Peak (6,501m).
From Everest View Hotel, we descended to Khumjung Village (3,790m) and stopped in on the Khumjung Monastery. At Khumjung Monastery, we saw a Yeti Skull. Yeti, for those who havent heard of them before are the abominable snowmen. Mythical creatures who are in excess of 8 feet tall, with features like monkeys and thick furry bodies. There was no indication as to the authenticity of the skull presented for our viewing pleasure. It rather resembled a hairy coconut more than a skull.
From the Monastery, we made our way down the valley to Sherpaland Lodge for lunch which was across the road from Hillary School. After lunch we headed back upwards to Namche. Stefano needed to buy additional gear for our Island Peak climb. At Namche, the clouds began to set in as we returned. Manoj and I needed to visit an ATM to get money out for our climbing gear hire in Chukung further up the trail.
We got our phones charged and connected to Wi-Fi for communicating with the families and friends. Manoj and I had a sumptous dinner with Stefano & Lhakpa at 7.30pm. After dinner, Lhakpa was talking to us about the following day and the terrain we would be facing.
We were in bed by 9.30pm once again.