Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Days 6 & 7
Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Days 6 & 7
I was pretty worn out by the time I reached Dingboche. My knee was hurting and I just wanted to rest. I didn’t do much on day 6 except relax, and take a few photos. It wasn’t that exciting so, I am including day 6 with day 7. This way, you have more than 1 paragraph to read. For those of you who don’t like to read, look at the pictures. That’s cool too. If you have a Pinterest, please pin the pictures to one of your boards. On your marks, get set, start reading/ pining!
Day 6: Rest day
A rest day may not be needed for everyone. However, I highly recommend everyone take a rest day to slow down and enjoy the moment. It’s like a spa day for those of us who worship outside. The down time also helps your body recover from the prior 5 days of walking. I admit that my body mass index is a little higher than I would like, and as a result I felt a little exhausted.
I took a rest day today to help my body recover from overexertion. For the better part of the day, I watched the clouds pass effortlessly over the mountains. I watched as the sun move the shadows across the village walls. I met new arrivals, and made friends with the friendly ones. I enjoyed delicious foods and hydrated.
Day 7: Acclimate on Nangkartshang Hill
After a very enjoyable rest day, I felt refreshed and brand new. We began the day hike to Nangkartshang hill at 9:00 am. From Sherpa Land Lodge and Restaurant, we walked north for about 15 minutes, taking in fantastic views of Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, and Imja Tse (Island Peak). The trail led us to the west side of the village where a switch back was waiting to take us up and south for a few more minutes.
Beginning our ascent on the switch back we had excellent views of Ama Dablam, Kangtega, Thamserku, Kongde Ri, Tabuche, and Cholatse. We reached the Nangkartshang Gompa near the bottom of Nangkartshang Hill and had 360-degree panorama views. Starting from the south and moving counter clockwise, we saw Kongde Ri, Thamserku, Kangtega, Ama Dablam, Amphu Gyabjen, Makalu, Cho Polu, Imja Tse (Island Peak), Lhotse Shar, Lhotse, Awi Peak, Lobuche East, Arakam Tse, Cholatse, and Lobuche.
We are talking mega mountains here, and the weather was incredible. I couldn’t have asked for better conditions. Crystal clear panoramic mountain views with hardly a cloud in the sky. The air was clean, crisp and slightly chilly. As we ascended to 5,100 meters, the views made me think of what it might be like to crawl inside the mouth of a giant lion.
All of the mountain peaks were saturated with snow. They looked like white teeth protruding from earthly gums. They were jagged to the point of serration. The hill we were climbing could have been the tong of the beast. The ground was soft and rolled as if the lion was about to yawn. Letting my imagination get the best of me, I looked up on several occasions expecting the crunch of impending doom.
Unfortunately, I cannot materialize things into existence using my imagination. What a cool superpower that would be! Looking up, the only things I saw were the sky and a couple of eagles. I tried to take a picture but I couldn’t get a good one. I will save myself the embarrassment and forgo posting it. Instead I’ll post some more cool pictures of the mountains.
At 5,100 meters I began to feel what I thought was mild altitude sickness. It could have been from the climb or dehydration though. I had a headache, and my hands felt swollen like balloons. I can only imagine what the rest of my body looked like, maybe the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man or a giant blueberry. Despite the altitude sickness, I felt great. Being in the presence of these geological feats of nature is incredible.
Looking at the mountains is like seeing a unicorn running on a rainbow leading to a pot of gold with a leprechaun dancing on top of it. Not that I like unicorns or rainbows, ah hem… burp, scratch beard, let out a mighty roar, but it’s something you really can’t walk away from. I know I will never look at other mountains the same way. It makes you feel strong though, like you are prepared for enlightenment. This is probably why so many monasteries and nunneries are built in the mountains.
After about 10 or 15 minutes of spinning around in circles, trying to see all the mountains at the same time, we started the long trek down. It was painful to leave, but I kept reminding myself more views await me at basecamp and Kalapatthar. With each step down I felt the swelling in my hands lightly subside. I am glad I do not wear rings or jewelry. Forgetting to take of such objects could possibly damage skin or block circulation.
We made it back to the hotel at 1:00. When we got back there were a few new faces huddled around the yak dung furnace. After a few greetings there were a few more hands catching the heat from the furnace. The primary topic of conversation was about altitude sickness. One of the new arrivals felt terrible. He complained of a headache and a tight chest like there was too much pressure on him. One of the other guests said his jacket was too tight and if he took it off he would feel better.
After taking off his coat, I couldn’t muffle my laughter when he said it felt better. You can certainly meet some characters in the tea houses. This particular person was one of the ones that was attempting to make it to Everest without a guide. It is important to have a guide. Some guides carry pulse oximeter to accurately determine how serious somebodies’ altitude sickness is. A SaO2% reading of ≥93% is healthy at normal conditions.
At higher elevations a SaO2% reading of ≥80% is normal. Unfortunately, he did not have a guide for help. I am unsure if he finished the trek. The people he was with, sadly left him behind and continued. This happens quite frequently and it is the primary reason for people getting lost or coming up missing. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is exactly what was happening to somebody else on the trail. I’ll get to that story in tomorrow’s post.