Day 10… Oh my god, what am I doing here. Here is Gorak Shep(16,961ft).
530am we get up, eat a granola bar, and hit the trail. The sun is barely out, let alone over the mountain tops. It’s freezing cold, and when I say freezing… Tooque, gloves, gortex jacket, fleece, long sleeve, short sleeve, an under armour shirt, underwear, longjohns, a pair of wind proof pants, 2 pairs of socks and hiking boots barely keep me from shivering.
We cross a flat sand dune, about 300meters long, and begin our 1400ft accent up Kala Patthar
We reach the first bench (flat part of land), everyone takes a water break. We’ve already passed 2 trekkers suffering from altitude sickness, one looked in terrible shape. The group begins to move again.
Everest is socked in with clouds, are we doing this for nothing? The point of this climb is to get the best possible view of the mountain you can achieve on land.
My father is struggling, I’m afraid he is only continuing for my sake. I check in with him every 5minutes. I am in no better condition.
Step, inhale, exhale, step, repeat. My feet move inches each step, it may sound ridiculous but it’s absolutely true. I can’t catch my breath, no matter what. My legs are burning, there is barely enough oxygen to keep my heart pumping let alone my legs.
We reach another plateau, this must be it I think, not a chance. As we crest the hill I see 2 more just the same. Coach says we are half way there. I ask for a time check, 723am.
As we break for water my father sits below us about 30 feet. Hood up, gloves on, trying to catch his breath. The group looks at me, asking with their eyes if he can continue. I pull my bottle from my pack and head back down.
‘dad, are you ok?’, ‘i don’t know son’. I tell him we don’t have to do this to ourselves. He tells me that even if he can’t make it, he wants me to go. I don’t answer his statement, we came to do this together and I have no plans to leave him behind.
We continue upwards. As we reach the bottom of the final hill, coach tells us ‘we’re about an hour away’. The look on my dads face said it all. Holy shit, what have I gotten myself into. It feels like I’m climbing a mountain with sock in my mouth, and a 50lbs weight in my pack. My nose is dripping, and my hands are too cold to do anything about it.
It’s 745ish, and the clouds are clearing around Mt Everest. Sweet! You can see the tip of the monster peeking through the heavy fog that surrounds the entire valley.
Finally, we reach the final bench if Kala Patthar. We are well above Basecamp. What a great feeling. Unless you’ve been here, or know someone who has, chances are you’ll have no clue about the mountain I am speaking about. You can probably wikipedia it, and I suggest you do.
8 of us decide to summit, which is another 100 yards, with no trail, only rocks the size of small cars. That last 100yards was incredible. Felt like I was in a deep freeze, with someone sitting on my chest. Less then thrilling.
I summited, and have the pictures to prove it! What an awesome feeling, and an awesome view.
Much like Basecamp, getting there was only half the battle. The legs are rubber, the back hurts, I can’t breath properly, and now I’m walking down a steep rocky hill, hmmmmm.
From the top of Kala Patthar we would decend nearly 4000 feet in 8 hours. The terrain and altitude made this an extreme venture. Although the air was getting thicker, our bodies were fatigued from the mornings events.
I would love to tell you more about the trek back to Periche, but I am too tired and it is too painful of a memory to relive at this time.
We made it down, all in one piece, and that’s all that matters. I am so proud of both myself and my father. If getting here was easy, everyone would do it.
The rest of the blogs may seem a little dull compaired to the last few, but I’m sure I’ll find amusing things to write about creatively.