EBC and Island Peak Trek – Day 9

Lobuche (4900m) to Gorak Shep (5180m). Excursion to Everest Base Camp (5364m)

Made it to Gorak Shep at 5180m! There is supposed to be a 3G base station here, but it’s broken so we still have no mobile reception. So we’re using the (very expensive) wifi here for 10 mins to get these posts uploaded. It probably means that we won’t be able to upload posts again until we are back at Pangboche in 6 days time, with a tale of success or failure on Island Peak!

The hike from Lobuche today only took 2hrs 10 mins but it was quite tough due to the altitude and the terrain – we climbed onto the Khumbu Glacier, which is covered in rocks and boulders, with some streams running through the glacier underneath the rock cover. At one point we climbed onto the top of a ridge in the glacier and got an incredible view up the remainder of the Khumbu valley to Everest Base Camp and the base of the mountain they climb from there. Everest Summit isn’t visible from here – we’ll have to climb Kala Patar (5550m) tomorrow morning for that view.

We’ll feeling pretty good, but I’ve still got a very slight headache and Stef has lost her appetite.. Both to be expected. If we can get a good night’s sleep here – probably the highest altitude night’s sleep of our lives – then we should have cracked the acclimitisation needed for Island Peak.

Our hike to Everest base camp was a little tough but very interesting terrain.. Mainly we were on the glacier, which poked through the rocks in places.. There were a few narrow and slippery points. As it is early in the season there were only about 40 tents.. Apparently it expands to hundreds in the peak season. It was interesting to see the route climbers would take across and up the icefall towards the higher camps. I definitely have alot of respect for anyone prepared to live in this place for months and undergo the physical and psychological suffering necessary to climb Everest. I would never want to do it though, not just because of the suffering and the significant risk of death – but it is such an industry now, with so much support from so many other people – the achievement belongs as much or more to the porters and the sherpas (and the yaks!) who make it possible for the average person to attempt it.

We both have headaches after our hike to EBC, but at least we are back early enough to spend some time getting properly rehydrated and rest.

Tomorrow after our Kala Patar climb, we hike all the way back to Dingboche.The day after we hike to Island Peak base camp to spend 3-4 nights in tents there for our climbing attempt. Probably my next updates won’t be until after that.

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