Today was by far my toughest day so far and a bit of a low morning. Without putting you off your breakfast, I think I had some bad food last night and woke up in the night with a bad stomach. I couldn’t really eat any breakfast and as we set off for the 700M climb to Lobouche I was already feeling weak and tired. This is very bad timing. We have the three most intense days ahead of us and I had been super careful to avoid eating or drinking anything that might make me ill. Anyway, I immediately took two Ciproflaxin (antibiotics for gastro issues) as advised by the legendary Canadian group Captain Eoin White and hoped it would start to sort me out.
The first two hours of the climb were pretty awful, my arms and legs felt like jelly and I was out of breath within a few steps. I had to keep stopping and even burst into tears at one point thinking I may have to head back down the hill and spend another night in Pheriche. Anyway, we reached our first landmark of the journey, the final tea house before the climb to Lobouche, in Thukla. We sat down to a cup of milk tea and Jack bought me a Mars bar for about £3(!) to try to boost my energy a bit. We had decided to rest there for at least half an hour and then make a call as to whether to stay there in Thukla or to attempt the rest of the climb to Lobouche. A visit to the toilet at said tea house in Thukla was enough motivation to give the rest of the journey a go, and soon enough the Mars bar kicked in and I felt a bit stronger.
Eventually we set off on the final big climb. I was feeling 100% better than I had been first thing and was back walking at my usual pace without losing my breath so easily. Kami also stepped in and carried my little backpack along with his own bigger one and that really helped me out:
When we reached the top of the hill we met a huge memorial site for all of the climbers who have died over the years on expeditions trying to summit Everest. There were a lot of gravestones and monuments surrounded by prayer flags and messages, all nestled into the hillside. It was pretty sobering to find one for a girl, ‘Rachel B’, born the same year as Jack who died two years ago. I don’t personally understand the appeal of summiting Everest due to the huge amount of time it takes (3 months), the cost ($50,000+) and the risk of avalanches and accidents. However, we have met several people on expeditions and you can’t help but admire their determination and desire for challenge and achievement.
One of the monuments at the memorial ground:
After the memorial we continued for another half an hour or so towards Lobouche, our home for the night. It was a real relief when the village came in to view, we had made it and I could now rest and recover ahead of tomorrow when we (hopefully) reach base camp. I can’t quite believe we might get there TOMORROW!
Here’s a photo of our tea house, the Mother Earth Lodge. As you can see we are pretty damn high up here:
Uh-oh, Jack’s just told me it’s started to snow. Until tomorrow, our biggest challenge yet.