Day 9 begins as the rest. Early breakfast, on the trail as soon as the sun breaks into the valley.
Leaving Laboche at around 630am, we arrive in Gorak Shep(16,961ft) around 11am. Stopping for a quick tea and a light lunch, only 8 of us make the trek to basecamp.
Although there is only a 200meter elevation difference between the lodge and EBC(Everest Base Camp), the trek was by far the most difficult to date. Not only was it physically tiring, it was the most mentally crushing event of my entire life. I had to push myself to continue harder then I’ve ever had to push myself before. ‘why am I doing this’, ‘can I even make it back to camp’.
The air is so thin, the terrain so rocky and untravelled, even the smallest of rocks seem like an insurmountable hurdle. I stop to catch my breath. I’m trying to take the deepest ones I can but they are not helping, infact, they are working against me. As I inhale to 100%, my body gives me the feeling I’m suffocating. Short and choppy is the only way I can do it, but that uses more energy. It’s a catch22, it’s quicksand at 17,000ft above sea level.
Finally, there it is. 50-70 sprawlling yellow, orange, blue and red tents. We are here. One more hill to go. As we reach the crest of the last hill it’s amazing. There are about 60 of us at the lookout point which looks down on the tents located ontop of the ice field.
I’m exhausted beyond belief. If I could of stayed there, I would have. If I could have rented a horse, a yak, a Sherpa, anything or anyone to carry me home I would have. Dad is is no better shape then I. We are both struggling for every breath, our bodies ache, it’s freezing cold and we have a 2+ hour journey home. We muster enough courage for a few group pictures, and the ones him and I made the trek for. We pick ourselves up, and head back to the lodge.
By now you know the torment we went through to get there, imagine the hike back. Legs and backs burning, muscles fatigued with not enough oxygen to replenish them, survival mode to say the least. It was twice as difficult to get home as it was to get there, and that’s being generous. No phones, no cabs, no friends to call for a ride. Alone, on another planet. Mountains surround us on all sides, glaciers at the bottom, no vegitation what so ever. Rocks, rocks, more rocks. No path, no shelter, 3 sips of water left. WTF am I doing here. All this for 3 stupid pictures. I’m sure it will all be worth it some day, right now that’s hard to see.
We came home and went straight to bed. A 2 hour nap before being woken up for dinner. Downstairs for 20minutes to get some food in us, then right back to bed.
Tomorrow, Day 10, brings Kala Patthar. Coach White promises this is the view we’ve come all this way for. God I hope he’s right, I can’t take another day like today, ever!