Thursday, October 9, 2014

EBC: And we made it...

Day 9 - the sun was shining, there were no clouds and the peaks of the range looked like molten gold as they shined under the rays of the morning sun. Had we gone to EBC the previous day, we would have only seen clouds...but today the sky was bright blue - a perfect backgound for the white beauties all around us!

KP was in worse shape than before and he decided to descend back to Lobuche and wait for us there. Nima (our lazy guide) was all too happy to go back down with him. PK had already left for base camp at 5:30 am as planned (with energy bars and Pringles to have on the way) and I was down at 6 am harassing the cook for tea and breakfast. 

I consulted with Nima on whether I should have Diamox or my sinus medication. He advised I should  take sinus medication as that had helped the previous day. I had my breakfast, settled accounts, had my sinus medication and was ready at 6:30 am. The remaining two members of the group were still having breakfast when Pasang (my guide to EBC) and I left for the base camp at 6:35 am.

Pasang took me through a shortcut which felt more like a shortcut to hell. He was like a rabbit hopping on those big boulders, and here I was - trying to stay alive and not fall through the big cracks! Pasang offered to carry my back pack and I very thankfully handed him the same. After that the trek became a bit easier for me. 

The last 15-20 minutes are the trickiest because one has to walk on Khumbu glacier to reach the EBC flag point. The glacier is strewn around with rocks and boulders and melting ice makes them very unstable. Its not advisable to rest on this stretch and you should walk as fast as you can in order to avoid any rocks or boulders that may move while you are on the glacier. PK's foot wouldn't allow her to cross the glacier so she decided to wait just before the glacier began and had pringles :)

Since Pasang is young (and hence willing to take risks) and since I could walk fast, he decided to take me to the flag point. It was an exceptionally sunny day and we could see the ice melting but inspite of all that we reached EBC at 8:30 am where we spent about 10 minutes taking photos and shooting videos. I called my mother (yes there is N-cell signal there!) and I could also hear PK talking to her family and friends on phone from where she was resting.

At 8:40 am Pasang and I started back for Gorakshep. We met with the other two members accompanied by Mingmar around 9:15 am when they were 45 minutes from EBC. PK was already making her way back to Gorakshep with help from two porters. I was in awe of her strength - this last leg to EBC was really tough and she did it with a torn ligament. Goes on to show what all we can achieve if we just put our mind to it.

Pasang and I reached Snowland by 10:05 am - I was really impressed with my pace. 3.5 hours to and fro EBC - for someone who took 5 hours to reach Gorakshep from Lobuche just the previous day, this was more than an accomplishment - this was freaking awesome! 

PK was back around 11 am and the other two around noon. The plan was to have lunch and leave for Peak XV (Lobuche), to spend the night, where KP was resting and recovering. I left with porters around 1:00 pm and the other 3 started a bit later with Mingmar.

At Lobuche, the mood of the group wasn't triumphant because KP was still very unwell and unable to eat, PK was in pain and other two members of the group were upset with me for going to EBC alone in the morning. The expectation, apparently, was that we should have had one group photograph. I, honestly, don't care much for such sentiments but I would have respected this wish if I was aware of it. I was told that I should have known - without being told!!! Well telepathy is not my strongest suit...anyways...what was done couldn't be undone!

We all retired for the night - happy at the thought of getting back to Rivendell lodge the next day - we have had enough of common toilets and bone numbing cold for now! 

Bright sunny morning at Gorakshep

Peaks bathed in morning sun

Couldn't get enough of them

Kumbu ice fall - a closer look

Finally at EBC...Small portion of a peak visible behind mountain on left is Everest

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