One Step Closer

Herd of yak coming towards us 2

Today is a big day because Everest Base Camp is just around the corner, literally! Tomorrow we will be there: hopefully!

I am very excited but also slightly nervous since today we will reach Lobuche, which is located at 4,940 metres. After getting myself ready, I step outside to admire the beautiful mountains surrounding Dingboche on this clear and sunny day.

Solar panels behind our guesthouse – the way they get electricity

We tie up our laces and start off on the same trek that we already did the day before to acclimatise ourselves, but this time we have a splendid view over the village and the valley.

Ahead of us there is a huge open space, I wouldn’t know where to go: right or left and would probably get lost if I were alone. The only indication of a path is given by little red and yellow flags, flapping in the wind.

When I ask our guide why the flags are there, he tells me that there will be a marathon in two days, actually the highest marathon in the world, going from Everest Base Camp to Namche Bazaar.

We continue walking along with two dogs which have been following us since Dingboche. I wonder how long they will want to accompany us and enjoy their company.

The landscape becomes increasingly rocky and mountains of various heights are all around us, almost intimidating me.

After some time we stop for lunch at a place called Thukla – basically there is nothing there apart from two restaurants but this is the only stopover on the way. Because the weather is still very pleasant, we can sit outside and enjoy the sun while recharging our batteries a little.

Lunch break in Thukla

When we start off again, a steep uphill walk lies ahead of us.

Today I feel more exhausted than usual. I don’t know if it is because of the now even lower level of oxygen at this altitude or because we had a rest day and “broke our rhythm” or maybe a combination of both? I am now really short of breath and experiencing difficulties breathing.

Fatima feels the same, but we can’t give up. A few people start walking towards us from the opposite direction and motivate us, telling us that we don’t have far to go now, that we are almost there, that we have almost managed to overcome the difficult part and that afterwards the path is totally flat.

Their words of encouragement help us and we push forward. Suddenly we see a herd of yaks coming towards us and we just stand and freeze since we have learned from our previous experience that it is better not to get too close to them.

The weather is changing now, becoming more and more cloudy, foggy and cold. Finally, after some time, we reach the top of the hill where the others are already waiting for us. Along with them there is a large group of people – members of the Indian army who have just returned from the summit. Guarav, the Indian from our group, is extremely happy to see them and shakes hand, congratulating everyone.

In the meantime I put down my bag, have a rest, and then walk around to have a look at the area. The place were we are is a memorial to the fallen climbers and Sherpas and many have an engraved stone. There are many praying flags all around, creating a spiritual and somehow mystical atmosphere.

Since it is very cold we soon start walking again and thankfully, as the people returning told us, the path is now flat. It gets darker and darker by the minute – creating a horror movie-like atmosphere and I can’t wait until we finally arrive.

After some time I can see some houses from afar or at least that which is visible of the house due to the fog and I start walking faster because I just want to be in the warm tea house.

Just before entering, I see Dhruv, one of our Indian friends, standing outside the guesthouse and I am really surprised to see him, I thought they had already reached basecamp and were heading further to the lake. Unfortunately Sourabh is experiencing severe acute mountain sickness (AMS) and needed to take a day off – let’s hope he will be better tomorrow, otherwise he has to return back down to a lower altitude.

When I enter the guesthouse, the others from my group are already there, sitting and enjoying some tea. I am overcome by the feeling you get when you are freezing cold and enter a warm comfortable room and simply feel happy. At this point, I really would give a lot to have a nice hot shower but not only is it extremely expensive but also extremely cold, so none of us actually dares to do it – still managing with wet wipes and dry shampoo.

Due to the high altitude, none of us are really hungry but still we force ourselves to eat something because it is important to keep up our energy levels. Later in the evening, our Indian friends (Sourabh, Dhruv & Toni) also come and we again enjoy a cosy evening all together next to the fire – talking about God and the world. Even Sourabh somehow managed to crawl out of bed and join us for some time – looking very pale. I want to give him some Diamox (a diuretic useful for sufferers of AMS) to make him feel a little better but he refuses to take any medicine.

Before going to bed we decide that tomorrow morning we will wait for each other so that we reach the base camp together (our group and the Indians) and celebrate our success as we kept meeting each other along the way almost every second day.

During the night almost everyone in the group starts to experience one or other symptom of AMS and most people are unable to sleep. Since I have been taking Diamox as a preventive measure, I am fine and also our guide, the Sherpa, doesn’t experience any problems. I am lucky enough to get a good night’s sleep to prepare me for the big day tomorrow…

From Tengboche to Lobuche via Dingboche

Credits

Image Title Author License
From Tengboche to Lobuche via Dingboche From Tengboche to Lobuche via Dingboche Sourabh Sharma CC BY-SA 4.0
Solar panels behind our guesthouse – the way they get electricity Solar panels behind our guesthouse – the way they get electricity Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Dingboche viewpoint 2 Dingboche viewpoint 2 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Dingboche viewpoint 1 Dingboche viewpoint 1 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Dingboche Stupa Dingboche Stupa Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Leaving Dingboche 1 Leaving Dingboche 1 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Leaving Dingboche 2 Leaving Dingboche 2 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Lunch break in Thukla Lunch break in Thukla Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Herd of yak coming towards us 2 Herd of yak coming towards us 2 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Herd of yak coming towards us 3 Herd of yak coming towards us 3 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Herd of yak coming towards us 1 Herd of yak coming towards us 1 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Memorial to fallen Late Babu Chiri Sherpa Memorial to fallen Late Babu Chiri Sherpa Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Yak family on the way 1 Yak family on the way 1 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Yak family on the way 2 Yak family on the way 2 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Lobuche (the next day, since the day we arrived it was to foggy to take a picture) Lobuche (the next day, since the day we arrived it was to foggy to take a picture) Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Yak in Lobuche (the next day, since the day we arrived it was to foggy to take a picture) Yak in Lobuche (the next day, since the day we arrived it was to foggy to take a picture) Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Indian army at memorial to fallen climbers and sherpas Indian army at memorial to fallen climbers and sherpas Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Memorial to fallen climbers and sherpas Memorial to fallen climbers and sherpas Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Praying flags at memorial to fallen climbers and Sherpas Praying flags at memorial to fallen climbers and Sherpas Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0