Tuesday, October 7, 2014

EBC: Unpredictable (not just weather)

The day 2 of trek began with cold bucket bath for me, masala tea and packing. We had breakfast (which was ordered previous night to save time in mornings) and left Phakding for Namche around 8 am. Climb to Namche is steep and we were all, as expected, a bit anxious about it.

The climb wasn't easy, but the Nandi hills treks helped here. Similar steep steps, we climbed more than 2500 ft on this day. We were still in beginning phase of our trek and this climb did make some of us wonder about what lay ahead in this trek!!!

When we reached Camp de Base at Namche, there was no power and no water initially. Our hearts sank a bit but soon electricity was back and water (though pretty cold) was flowing in the taps. Wifi at reasonable prices further upped our morale. We settled in as we were to spend two nights here. Felt good that we wouldn't have to pack our bags next morning.

Next day (day 3 of trek) was our acclimatization day and we started for hotel Everest View - about 1500 ft higher than Namche. However, we didn't get to see Everest that day because of clouds. This climb was also pretty steep with stone steps for most part of the trail. But neither the weather nor the steep steps dampened our spirit. We took more pictures, couple of us even tried to "race" at that altitude and then sun started shining...we were feeling very lucky.

And then it happened...suddenly I saw porters rushing to a spot where one of our group members had slipped and twisted her ankle. It didn't look that bad at the moment but as she insisted on climbing down 1000 odd ft with a torn ligament, things took a turn for worse by the time she reached Camp de Base. Her ankle had swollen and she was in terrible pain. And we were all stumped as to what to do next. Some of us felt strongly that trek is over for her. Some of us wanted to wait and watch but where was the time?

We were to leave next day for Deboche and she was in no condition to walk. Finally with help from assistant guide (a 49 year old expert sherpa who summitted Everest 3 years back and also happened to be father of our guide) we arrived at a solution for next day - horse. We decided that she would ride with us to Deboche which will rest her ankle and allow her and the group some more time to decide on the next steps. Mind you, horse is not a cheap way of transport. After negotiations we settled at a price of USD 110 for a drop from Namche to Deboche.

Imagine preparing for months for something and then just when it has begun, one wrong foot and suddenly all seems to be over! More than physical pain, she was in mental anguish...why me? why now? There was no answer...there is none. These things happen on treks like these and can happen to anyone. It's how we deal with it that shows how strong we truly are. And she did turn out to be the strongest among us all!

Steep Climb from Phakding to Namche

View from the second (higher) bridge that we crossed

Even higher than the second bridge (you can see both of them)

Happy to reach Namche

On way to Everest View Hotel

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