As soon as we turned back to head back down I started thinking, after all the planning, why we failed to reach our ultimate goals. Over the next few days and being in warmer climate, we were able to list down a few of the factors that contributed to our demise.
We didn’t look at the details of the itinerary well enough
Every time I looked at our itinerary, I only scanned through the details particularly on the later days of the trek. At that time all the names, altitude and hours of trekking were just letters and numbers. We had no idea how hard things would be at higher altitudes that it “didn’t matter”, and boy did it matter. We probably could have added/moved acclimatization days more evenly or even added trekking days. That would however put us right in the middle of the no fly period in Lukla and ruined our holiday even further.
Altitude and cold are definite factors
I used to think I was a mountain goat in an earlier life but not having experienced anything higher than 3000masl we were in for something new. Both Socs and I felt the effect of altitude, more her than me, but it definitely is a factor. Never underestimate altitude.
The cold too was something to consider despite both of us having experienced winter in various locations around the world. But the combination of altitude and cold, plus the lack of indoor heating this definitely is a force to be recon with.
Hydrate or Die (tag line of CamelBak)
Keeping yourself hydrated is key to high altitude activity. The air is dry and you lose fluids every time you exhale (that ‘cloud formation’ you breath out when it is cold is basically steam). Water also helps reduce the effects of altitude sickness (ever wonder why mountain climbers drink lots of tea or coffee? Well now you know). We should have drank more water than we wanted/needed on and off the trail.
Trekking the Khumbu region is no place for a diet. You burn a lot of calories trekking and adapting to the altitude and you need to replace all that energy. We figured our homemade granola bars would provide enough energy during the trek. Even supplementing it with some chocolate bars and cookies was not enough. Buy and eat more food.
Focused on unimportant stuff
We (or more accurately, I) concentrated a little more on the goal and stunts to pull off rather than the important stuff (see above list). I wanted to bring out our huge Philippine flag on top of Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp, I love my country despite its shortcomings and I wanted to represent. I wanted to do a handstand or overhead squats on Everest Base Camp, because it’s cool. I wanted to make a video of ‘attempting’ Everest similar to what Jon and I did on the English channel. I wanted to do a bit of bouldering as well as a shout out to my climbing buddies Bev, Erik and Migs.
As they say, its the journey and not the destination. Despite all this we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and it is so far the greatest adventure to date. I wouldn’t have it any other way.