Dingboche(4343m) to Island Peak Base Camp (5050m)
I woke up feeling much better and we had both slept well at the lower altitude, so we set out around 9am for Island Peak base camp.
We stopped for lunch in Chukkung (4700m) about 2.5 hrs hike up the valley. We also picked up my plastic mountaineering boots, as the ones I tries out in Kathmandu were too old, with broken inner binding. Chukkung is a very small settlement of 8 or 10 buildings that appears entirely dependent on Island Peak – lodges, climbing guides and rental equipment.
After lunch we left around 1pm for the 3 hr hike to base camp. It started snowing soon after we left, and hasn’t stopped since. Luckily the wind was behind us, and we pushed on to base camp to arrive shortly before 4pm. Facilities here are extremely basic – we have a two-man dome tent with some thin mattresses. There’s a rock underneath mine on one side so i need to sleep around it! There is a kitchen tent where we sit for our meals (surprisingly good food considering) – good to get warm from the gas cooking equipment. Normally for larger groups there would be a dining tent, but we’re glad for the warmth of the cooking tent. Then there’s a hole-in-the-ground toilet (but men just pee around the camp whereever they want), and that’s it.
I reckon it’s about -10C outside and could be -15C overnight. We have some good down sleeping bags and an extra blanket, but staying warm is always a challenge – the mattresses are thin so cold is transmitted from the ground, and going outside for anything involves alot of effort getting out of the sleeping bag and into our down jackets and boots.
So, let’s hope we sleep OK – climbing training tomorrow then early sleep for a 1am or 2am start on the summit.. Weather permitting of course, which doesn’t look good right now!