Day 7 – Rest/Acclimitization Day in Dingboche (4343m)
And we sure needed it! By yesterday evening I had a mild-moderate headache which continued this morning. Stef slept very badly due to shortness of breath causing a feeling of claustrophobia. We were supposed to do an acclimitisation hike 200-400m above this altitude, but as we were feeling so bad all we managed was some napping and a walk through the village to the bakery for a brownie and tea. This evening we’re feeling better, although Stef is apprehensive about the night to come.
We still haven’t taken any diamox, which is regularly used to treat altitude sickness – and indeed many trekkers take it prophylactically even as early as their arrival in Kathmandu. It’s supposed to speed up acclimitisation, but some people disagree on taking it prophylactically due to the side effects (mainly, increased probability of dehydration) and the possibility that it may mask the onset of AMS symptoms. We are following the advice of our guide, Netra, in all things on this trek. He has medical training and many years experience leading groups and treating trekkers at high altitudes, and his advice has been not to take Diamox so far. Because we’ve had some mild symptoms possibly caused by the altitude during the last 24 hrs, then he says he may recommend we take it if the symptoms recur as we ascend tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be a tough day – gaining ~500m up to Lobuche (4930m). We are nervous more about how we will react to being there (and how we will sleep) than for the actual hike up, which shouldn’t be too bad as the distance is relatively short ~(6km) so we can take it as slowly as we need. Lobuche is close to the maximum altitude that we will sleep at (the highest will be at Gorak Shep the night after -5140m – Island Peak Base Camp is slightly lower than this) so being able to tolerate it will be a key achievement to get us as far as Island Peak.
So, it’s crunch time for us now, with the most difficult, but most exciting, 6 days of the trek ahead of us!