Day 12 – Bloody Hell and the Trek to Gorak Shep

The start of the day did note bode well for our trek up to Gorak Shep, in fact it started out the night before. It was quite cold and I remember having to go to the toilet in the evening, which was quite a trek from our room and was actually a shed outside the lodge itself. Even though it was only a two feet away it was cold enough that the floor was slippery with ice and the water containers were ice laden. I could feel a slight breeze, cold enough to make me want to hide from it but hiding underneath a thick down sleeping bag with a stuffy nose isn’t really a pleasant experience either. That just made me uncomfortable enough not to get a good night’s sleep.

I woke up with a stuffed nose and as got up to clear it, despite the darkness of the room, I noticed something drip on my tissue paper and I knew immediately it was blood. It was a huge drop too, and I started to clear my nose blood just kept flowing. And it wasn’t snot mixed with some blood, it WAS mostly blood. That scared me shitless as I was having a mild headache as well. Eventually, it stopped and I think it was just a small wound that opened up due to the dry air at this altitude.

The plan for the day was to head to Gorak Shep and if we had time, go straight up to Kala Patthar if time permitted. But given my misgivings on my current state, we decided have a bit of extra rest and took Diamox just in case. As we waited in the lodge, there was a trekker on the phone trying to get a rescue helicopter to Lobuche for a friend. Apparently he was having stomach problems and had a hard time and had to be evacuated. An hour later, we watched as the helicopter landed and the trekker evacuated to the safety of what I assume to be Kathmandu.

helicopter rescue

helicopter rescue

This just added to my trepidation of going further up the trek. I was somehow resigned to the fact that we would never reach Everest Base Camp. I’ve always wanted to see and reach base camp, it was after all the whole point of the trek. On the flipside, as Harka and Ang Dawa said, this is a holiday vacation and should be enjoyable, which the altitude and strenuous trek doesn’t help. But as Socs and I decided a few days back, that we’ll try to go as long as we can and turn back anytime we needed to. So feeling a bit better with the rest and Diamox we headed off.

While first part of the trek was relatively flat I hit the wall early into the trek, due to the fact that I only had a light breakfast. It was slow going and I was really out of it. Then as we rounded a corner I saw THE WALL, a steep uphill section which did actually look like a massive wall at my state. I had literally swore out loudly in Tagalog, Ang Dawa thought I was talking to him so I had to translate it to a more polite version. We stopped for some snacks and a bit of a rest before we assaulted this monster. After that it was all rock and ice once again as we went up and around what seems to be a large deposits of rock. I think that’s what it was, because suddenly we were right beside the Khumbu Glacier. It was mainly covered with rocks but you knew it was a glacier, and I felt a bit of elation from the fact that we where there and more to the point, that much closer to the big Himalayan mountains.

Me dying on the trail

Me dying on the trail

Me and the Khumbu Glacier

Me and the Khumbu Glacier

All rock and ice

All rock and ice

Socs taking a breather

Socs taking a breather

It was still a bit of a trek before we got to Gorak Shep, but once we arrived at 5104masl, we were greeted with a bit of flat land and the mound that was Kala Patthar. Unfortunately, even after arriving at around 1pm, we had to abandon the plan of going up Kala Patthar due to time constraints. So there it is, we won’t be going to Everest Base Camp. Nearly three years since I made the decision to go on this adventure and at the end of the day I won’t be stepping foot at the bottom of the tallest mountain in the world.

Breaking the 5000m barrier

Breaking the 5000m barrier

Trail up to Kala Patthar

Trail up to Kala Patthar

Everest and Lhotse during sunset

Everest and Lhotse during sunset

Socs and I talked about this throughout the day, and while we were disappointed we weren’t really too bothered either. We’ve had a wonderful experience so far and it was not over yet! It was still around a week before we head back to our normal lives, and a few more days in the mountains. But in the short term we would be heading up Kala Patthar very early in the morning the next day.

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