Wednesday, October 8, 2014

EBC: Worst day of the trek

Day 8 started on a very positive and sunny note, both literally and figuratively, except for one of us who had contracted some stomach bug and hence woken up with fever. He (KP) wasn't able to consume any breakfast because of same reason but felt that he could complete the trek. It was a nice sunny day and we were all excited at the prospects of reaching our destination that day. Since we had crossed 16,000 ft and AMS was becoming a real danger for everyone, we all started the trek at a slow pace which became even slower because we all wanted to take pictures of the beauties that were surrounding us. 

To reach EBC we had one more steep climb left. PK was taking time due to her injury, KP was slow as he was unwell, other 2 anyway liked to walk slow, so again I was ascending the steep climb alone. Once at top, I decided to wait for others to join me. In the meanwhile I got signal on the N-cell connection and I used the time to call family and friends. This wait of 40 minutes soon became the reason that ruined my day. The weather suddenly changed on me, from being hot and sunny to falling snow. By the time I got my jacket and rain pants on, I had been exposed to enough cold wind & rain resulting in onset of my sinus pain. 

Now there were 3 of us in some sort of pain or another, PK with her ankle, KP with stomach upset and no energy as he hadn't eaten anything and my self with throbbing sinus pain. At some point during the trek I was advised to take Diamox because headache is first symptom of AMS. I was distraught with the headache and mental agony over the very high probability of me not making it to EBC (AMS can be fatal so unless symptoms subside one is not allowed to climb higher). So I took the Diamox and we continued the trek. This trek which usually takes 2-2.5 hours, took us 5 hours and by the time we reached Snowland lodge at Gorakshep, 4 of us were in no condition to try EBC that day. 

So it was decided that those of us who feel better next day will try EBC and others would descend. The fifth member was lucky and strong enough to make it to Kalapathar that day (instead of EBC) and we all felt excited that atleast one of us would end up completing both goals - EBC & Kalapathar.

My headache didn't subside and I decided to pop in my sinus medication and lo & behold within 30 minutes my headache had vanished as if it was never there. But even today I am not sure if sinus alone was the reason for my headache.

PK had slowed down a lot as her injury had worsened because of continuous trekking so she decided to leave with one of the porters at 5:30 am the next day - an hour earlier than everyone so that she can be back in time to leave Gorakshep. 

I knew that other 3 members would still be slow for me and I didn't want to risk another sinus attack by additional exposure to cold wind, so I asked another porter to accompany me so that I could complete the last leg at my own pace. I had another Diamox at night and retired early as we were (except PK) to start for EBC at 6:30 am.

Beauties unfolding in front of us

Zoomed in view of Khumbu Ice Fall
Glacier that we had to walk on to get to EBC

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