Contd. For part 1: https://srao.livejournal.com/127880.htmlPeriche
The tea house in Periche was cosy and had a large spacious lunch room. They also had a sun-room which combined as the bakery. We were the only occupants for the day and hence had the whole place to ourselves. We watched the docu-movie on Everest ascent by Peter Hillary there. There was no internet connection unless you buy the everest-link, which we decided to skip. Found out via the book i was reading on Kindle, that the tea house we stayed in was where the US President visited long back in 1980s. Quite a cool, fact! Periche to Dingboche and back
The next morning was a rest day. Just outside of the tea-house there was a memorial built for the Everesters who lost their lives in pursuit of the summit.
We decided to go to the other side of the mountains towards the left of our tea-house - Dingboche to see the magnificent views of Ama Dablam and also catch Island Peak. After lazing around, we climbed up the zig zag path up. With the thin air, the path seemed tough even without the bag on the back! From the top, we could see Ama Dablam and the Periche valley in its entirety. Towards the left was Nagarjuna peak.. One could also go to Chukkung, Dablam base camp or Island peak base camp from here. We decided to cross over and go to Dingboche. Dingboche is at a slightly higher altitude as compared to Periche. However many trekkers choose to go to Dingboche for better acclimatization.. and also its less windier than in Periche. The wind howls in Periche due to the mountains and valleys.. whereas Dinboche is calmer. Also there are many options of tea houses as compared to Periche. We walked the entire length of Dingboche and settled for a small place where we had tea and cake. We met Lakpa Sherpa here who has summited Everest multiple times and once also teamed up with Baba (the para glider) and glided his way back to Shyangboche and then kayaked all the way through Bay of Bengal.
After this brief meeting, we went our way up towards Nagarjuna mountain. Up and above until we got beautiful shots of Ama Dablam and then decided to come down and go the other way to Periche. On our way down to Periche, we met the campers - Berliner and French, who had come up for acclimatisation. They had a very bad headache and all symptoms of AMS. I suggested they should have Diamox and since Divya and I had enough between us, we gave them some from our kit. Since this was the first time I had suggested it on real patients, I suggested they should read up on it (to prevent being beaten up for wrong suggestions ;-)). Later found out, it did make them feel better. I am glad the prescription helped.
Later that afternoon, the weather changed drastically. The weather always turned gloomy, windy, bitter cold after 2 pm and I thought this was no different. However it snowed. The temperature dropped sub zero and it turned darker by the minute. A young lad Julian walked into the tea-house and the owners turned on the documentary for him. We watched it a second time with him. We found out that he was a good soccer player, had come in with few friends who had gone on their way to cross a pass and then go to Labouche; whereas due to a bad knee he had chosen to take rest and go to Labouche directly. Periche to Dughla
After a not-so-good-night's sleep, we woke up early to be greeted by snow everywhere. It was good enough to be tread over. so we started our trek to Dughla. The plan was to go to Dughla and even up to Labouche if the weather and our fitness permitted. It was way too sunny and I found it exhausting to walk though the altitude gain was hardly anything. With snow everywhere, there was no way to keep down the bags and rest anywhere. With the snow reflecting the sun, it was a very tiring walk. I could see folks come down the other side from Dingboche. It was extremely tiring and when I saw first signs of Dughla, i was excited. By the time I reached Dughla, i was half-dead, but few mins break there, i was already feeling better. Nevertheless I decided that Divya & I should stop there and go to Labouche the next day for better acclimatisation. Also post lunch, the weather always changed.
After lunch, Olivia and I went up a bit to get a feel of the upward climb and also clicked an amazing pic, which feels surreal each time i look at it now. I came back down to continue reading my Kindle book. The others played Bluff with the group from Taiwan. By now i had made up my mind to leave some stuff behind and carry atleast 2 kgs lesser so that I had a better experience going forward. The thought of a lighter bag made me sleep better. Dughla to Labouche
Early next morning, I threw some stuff outside into a carry bag. So did Divya. With the backpack lighter by couple of kgs, we felt more energetic. The way up though turned out to be more daunting. The sun was harsher than I had anticipated. The wind made it impossible to breathe and I panted with every step i took. Olivia, Divya and I took break at one point and did Surya Namaskar. I felt a little better after that. We further climbed up the straight ascent to reach the end of the firm ascent. Many folks were resting here. Admiring the beautiful chortans and the view the place offered of the path below from Dughla. I waited until i felt that I could breathe again. Read some of the inscriptions on the chortan and started my way ahead. The path went down a few feet and then was a steady walk upto Labouche. However at the altitude and even a 8kg bag, i was exhausted. Julian walked past me and commented that I was way too slow. But i was happy. I had made it to Labouche. Nearly there.
Post lunch, we went up to get beautiful views of Nuptse. It was biting cold, so we didn't venture too much up.. instead Olivia and I went up on the opposite side and perched up on some rocks until we decided to come back down. We went to an exotic coffee place and had coffee in stylish glasses with stirrers with fancy ladies at their tips! Take that for being at nearly 4800m above MSL!
We had a lazy evening at Labouche reading books, talking before the sun set in and we had a good dinner before heading to our rooms. Labouche to Gorakshep
THe next morning, Divya fell sick and decided to not take the route ahead. Olivia decided to take a different trek route. Sachin and I were the only ones left for the Gorakshep trek. We went ahead, albeit late after all the morning happenings. I was dead slow to begin with. Also the guilt of leaving behind Divya was too heavy upon my mind and i thought of turning back after every 50m. It was quite a flat path up for an hour but the wind and sun combined with altitude made it very difficult. And then the real ascent offered the first climbing challenge for the day. I figured i was much better at the climb compared to the walk. Or maybe, the morning thoughts had washed away and now I was in better shape. But this was not it. After this there were 4 more small mountains to ascend and it drained me totally. I stopped after every 50m to take in breath and drink water/chocolates. The Khumbu glacier and moraines towards the right were menacing to look at. One mis-step while admiringly peering at them could make me roll down right into them ;-) To EBC and back to Gorakshep
Finally at around 11:55 a.m. we had reached Gorak Shep. Having left Divya down, unwell, we decided to complete EBC immediately. We had a quick lunch and started for EBC at 12:45 pm. Even without the bags, it was a struggle. The path was not as steep as it was tedious. We walked and walked and walked.. literally. When I first saw the small yellow tents with the Khumbutse in the background, I was awed, thrilled and sighed a relief. There it was! But then even after the first spotting, it took us nearly 1.5 hrs to actually reach there. We met Julian when we were around an hour away, who excitedly told us about his trip to EBC and told us that all this struggle was to click a pic with a stone with 2017 inscribed on it. I half made up my mind to walk back with him :) But then decided to go on.
We finally reached, clicked pics. Lingtren, Kuhbutse, Changtse, Nutpse and most importantly Khumbu glaciers. This is just the beginning for the summitters. It marked an end of my destination for this time atleast. The feeling of relief swept across me. I had done it. I didn't think it was possible to begin with and there i was. I was all teary-eyed behind my ever-useful-to-hide-tears-but-good-for-n
But i was way too exhausted now. Sachin and I decided to eat a protein bar before we headed back. It was getting dark and the evening weather weighed heavily on my mind. We nearly ran all our way back to Gorak Shep and reached around 5:30 p.m. By then we were tired. No, that's an understatement. We didn't think we would see tomorrow! that's how exhausted we were. After a quick check that Divya was alright, we had dinner and went to our rooms to sleep.To Kalapathar
The next morning was Kalapathar. I woke up early at 5:30 a.m. and started at 6:15 a.m. I went up alone because Sachin wasn't feeling good.
I had packed 1 protein bar, Snickers and water. I hadn't had my breakfast and that was the most stupid thing i have ever done as I would find out few mins into the ascent..
to be continued..