Kala Pattar – 5545m 3 hours return
Pangboche – 3980 5.5 hours
Up at the ungodly hour of 3:45am and ready for our hike up Kala Pattar – the highest point of our journey and the best view of Everest! Thoughtful Bikesh greets us with warm tea – he saved it from last night as the kitchen isn’t open yet> What a sweet thing to do.
We started at 4:30am and it was so beautiful, although quite cold. A blanket of fresh white snow cover the ground and the surrounding peaks. The only light shone from our headlamps.
As we slowly and methodically wound our way up the hill, the sky lightened until hues of pink and lavender meant a new day was dawning – made even more spectacular as the sun rose over Everest. There was still a fair bit of cloud cover however Everest was still visible.
Our progress was slow but steady and Charles kept saying, ‘just keep putting one foot in front of the other – it’s all good’. This is my third time and it just doesn’t get any easier!! This always gets a giggle out of Bikesh
After 2 hours we reached the top and the cloud was slowly disappearing, Everest was appearing clearer & clearer. We took lots of photos and Bikesh took video. After half an hour of rest we started our descent. This was much quicker and the guys were down in about 30 minutes, I was about 15 minutes later.
After a well deserved breakfast we left GorakShep to return down the trail as far as possible. Although some of the snow has melted there was plenty to make snowballs. You guessed it, guys and snow = snowball fights. And not only at each other – they found an Inukshuk perched on top of a huge boulder and each of them attempted to know the top rock off. Ishower finally succeeded.
We reached Lobuche around 11am and although we all wanted a nap, we settled for tea, momos (Nepali dumplings) and Ra-Ra Noodle soup. Feeling better we carried on down past Dughla, and eventually arrived in Pheriche at 2pm.
Bikesh has decided it would be best to get to Pangboche tonight which he says is 15 hours max. We have learned that Bikesh will ask what we want to do and he then tells us what we are doing! It has become quite the joke between us all. Both Charles & Spencer say, if we go back to Pangboche don’t we hae to climb back up that hill? I said yes, but the route we take is not that bad. We decide to rest, have tea. popcorn and finger chips (french fries) for a snack.
We left precisely at 3pm and as we head out-of-town, a helicopter lands close by. We laugh at the yaks nearby as they are running every which way – not necessarily away from the helicopter, just running.
Now we are about to ascend the ‘not so bad’ hill – poor memory on my part. It seemed to go on forever! Charles and Spencer and the porters were will ahead of Bikesh & I. I whined several times and he would only laugh at me and say it’s not far. The guys did make it in 1.5 hours and I ‘limped’ in at the 2 hour mark. Even though I was using my poles, 1600m of mostly downhill was wreaking havoc with my knees.
At the same teahouse as on the way up, the Nameste Lodge, we rested and then met for dinner. We were all a bit stiff and since we had all been up so early this morning we had an early night
I awoke in the in the middle of the night realizing how wonderful it had been to sleep soundly and wake up with no headache!!