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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

EVEREST BASE CAMP TREKKING, DAY 7 - 9

DAY 7: 10th June 2014
Dingboche (4350m) to Labouche (4920m)
7 km (5 hrs)


The weather was good, the sun was shining and the wind was gentle...but somehow, today was a very difficult day. Unlike the other days, it wasnt so much about the physical, but more to the altitude. The trek started off fairly well, was primarily a Nepali flat trek with some easy ups and downs. However you can really start to see the effects of altitude hitting people. I felt easily tired when walking on flat ground even for few steps. Personally, I didn’t have symptoms other than the standard shortness of breath and mild headaches. But today was tough for most of us, and in turn it really turned into a mental day. We were climbing up a steep hill when Carly who had always been ahead of us since Day 1, facing breathing difficulties, so all of us go slow. When one of us is facing trouble, everyone else must cater for one another. This is not a journey you take alone. No matter how fit you are, or how young, the altitude never discriminate. Perhaps I was hit first by AMS, and you will be next. No one knows. For the first time, I managed to follow my friends pace.



A lone dog in the mountain


We had a short 30mins tea break at Thukla and soon after, the strive began. It was all the way up hill, my favourite...NOT!!!


Solar panel @ Thukla

We had to climb 100m steep up. I started to feel some pounding on the back of my head, but I refused to accept it as AMS symptom. I kept telling myself that it was the cold dry air which made me felt funny. However, not sooner than that, the pounding got heavier and it spread to my temples. Like it or not, I had to accept that this wasnt normal anymore. It was that I am actually experiencing AMS symptoms. Too bad that it was still a long way to reach Labouche. I was swaying while walking and kept asking for god’s help to gv me the strength. My eyes started to see millions of tiny stars, but I told myself to keep moving, one step at a time. It was a very tough time for me to complete the walk with my head pounding and my lungs panting for oxygen. I was almost defeated. Miraculously, the tiny voice inside of me screamed and told me that this was my dream, and to get so far, and had to quit, oh noooo....I can only imagine how defeating it is. John, my guide offered to carry my bag, but I politely said “its ok”. He was always by my side, watching me closely.



This is also the time when reality struck of how serious this trek really was. This is not the mountain which u can joke about. Passing by memorials of those who died, trying to conquer this menacing mountain was a very gloomy moment for me. They died either due to AMS, or had ran out of their oxygen supply, or get lost while finding their way, or froze to death during blizzard, or buried alive due to the avalanche, or whatever disaster. They died either on the way up, or while returning after the climb. They died either by climbing in a group, or going alone without a guide. 

The low clouds and the chill make this sad place seemed like haunted. May their souls rest in peace.....


Arriving 'The Memorials'
The Memorials






We continued on, more up hill which seemed like never ending. Finally, after a torturing walk, I arrived Labouche. I couldnt talk no more. I just leaned against the wall with my eyes closed for 30 minutes. After lunch of vege noodle soup and a Diamox, I felt a lil bit better. 

Rs400 (RM16)

Later, I relaxed at the ‘sun room’ while my other friends checked out the Khumbu Glaciers. Nathan, the one suffered AMS the worst of all of us, and whom to me, had the greatest spirit, came back earlier than the rest, and we had a motivational talk. I told him that I was very worried about tomorrow, our final destination. I really cant help tears when Nathan told me to hang on, and that I can do it, and that he wanted to see all of us land our feet at our final goal – the Everest Base Camp.



DAY 8: 11th June 2014
Labouche (4920m) to Gorak Shep (5180m) 4.4 km
Gorak Shep (5180m) to EBC (5365m) 8 km round trip
Total-12.4 km (10 hours)
Buddha Lodge


I had continuous nightmares last night. I dreamt of my kids and also my ex. Earlier this morning, again I had diarrhoea. Not just that, I awoke with some nose bled. I felt so weak due to the restless night and due to the mild dehydration. To compensate, I had mushroom soup for breakfast. For the first time, today I suffered from tingling sensation on my fingertips and toes, apart from headache and puffiness on my face. The puffiness made me felt like a Humpty Dumpty and I was so uncomfortable.


We started at 7.15am. As always, the beginning part of every new day’s trek will be a nasty climb. After all previous days, laughing and struggling, this was the day we would finally get to Everest Base Camp. Essentially beyond all the amazing views and sites along the way, getting there would be reaching the goal.




Getting there was not a quick process though. It was the longest day of the whole trek. Some parts of the trek was dirt, and some, very narrow and rocky ups and downs. The rocky, mountainous backdrop made for quite the scenic walk, but on this day, ironically, I don’t think the focus was on the mountains as much as it was on finally getting there. My headache was getting from bad to worse. Even though I had been walking for some time, the tingling and numbness didnt want to go away. I really hate it!!! I was getting weaker and weaker, and walked really slow. Nathan and Kieren waited for me. So nice of them.




After 3hrs walking, we reached Gorak Shep, the last available lodge on this trek. After this, there will be no more tea houses or lodge. I headed straight to the toilet. Diarrhoea again!!! Diamox after effects definitely is the reason.




After a refreshing cup of hot ginger tea and a short rest, we continued to EBC. We trekked along dirt trail, followed by rocky and muddy path. The wind was blowing mercilessly. Then, the REAL challenge began when we walked along Khumbu Glaciers. At this point, the closer we get, the rougher the terrain. We were crossing through a rocky terrain, most of which was supported by a glacier like base and glacial ponds surrounding. It was either a steep climb or a steep down. There were some parts that I had to walk on really slippery loose sands and gravels. The guide told us to walk as fast as we could on this particular narrow path (about 100m long) because the loose gravels at the edges dropped (like a land slide) when the path was being stepped on. There were also parts where we had to walk on rock peaks which moved when stepped, so 100% caution was needed at all times. It was indeed scary and crazy.



Imagine u hv to climb this steep at over 5000m altitude...PENGSAN!!!

Keep that feet moving!!!
Glacial ponds


No pain, no gain...huhhh??

Nevertheless, the mountains surrounding me get very near at every step that I took. Despite the stomach ache and the terrible pounding on my head, the view was magnificent. I was taking one step at a time, consoling myself that each step that I took will take me closer to EBC, and very soon, all the sufferings will end and I will be rewarded with a life time master piece satisfaction and achievement.


KEEP GOING!! IGNORE THE AMS!!! IGNORE THE PAIN!!! DONT STOP UNTIL U HV REACH YR DESTINATION!!!


Finally, after another 3hrs struggle, I reached a place where all my friends gathered and cups of hot chocolate were being passed around.  I was confused. Why are we celebrating? We arent there yet, are we? They assured me that we had already reached EBC. What? EBC? If this is EBC, where are the supposedly yellow tents as I had seen in the internet? The guide told me that no tents were being put up as no summit climbing was allowed this year due to the avalanche which killed 18 sherpas few months back. Then only I came to my senses and I checked my surroundings, only to notice lots of mementoes, country flags, prayer flags and a banner with the word ‘EVEREST BASE CAMP' around the area. Oh my god...I am actually here....I had set my feet at EBC!!! This was the time that I couldnt control myself anymore. I knelt down for a sujud syukur, thanking Allah for letting me reached this place, and I broke into uncontrollable tears. Everyone was quiet for a while, perhaps moved over my sudden unpredictable emotional act. After 2 minutes of a very emotional moment, I got up and start hugging my friends, congratulating one another. It was a great joy to finally reach here after 8 days of grueling climb. It was a moment to remember for the whole of our lives. Thank you Allah for making this happened to me and to all of us.


I MADE IT!!! EVEREST BASE CAMP, ON 11TH JUNE 2014


If u guys come here, and this stone is still here, plz take a pic and send it to me :)


To many of us, this is a dream, but to all of us, its a dream come true and the goal we set had come to a completion. I can’t quite put into words what it was like to get here. Perhaps a feeling of pride, mixed in with feelings of relief, appreciation, completion, satisfaction etc. All my feelings of tiredness quickly turned into excitement. Everyone was happy for one another, and clapping and cheering at the accomplishment. After all, we had completed something epic together. We were literally standing on top of the world (or at least as close to it as most people will ever get in a life time). It was such an amazing feeling, one only those who had been there can relate to.


A moment that I wont forget until the day I die

Like all feelings though, and all experiences, they do come to an end. As oxygen level was thin, we were advised to trek back after one hour at the base camp. Still, Nathan managed to attempt for a world record by making 3 doggy balloons in one minute at the base camp, and we had a feast of Finnish chocs which Katie brought all the way from Finland :)


Khumbu Glacier


The walk back to Gorak Shep was not easy, although it was slightly more downs, due to the slippery path. The way back seemed longer, perhaps it was because the adrenaline was now dissipating, and because now there was no more goal at the end of it. Now it was just a way down to go home, which was a very somber feeling after this kind of experience. 

Up close of the glacial pond

The first seat down at the lodge after a total of 10 hours trekking today was probably the most gratifying seat I had ever have all my life.



DAY 9: 12th June 2014
Gorak Shep (5180m) to Pheriche (4240m)

10 km (5 hours)
Periche Resort


I woke up at 2am. It was freezing cold and I had difficulties to get back to sleep. May be I dozed off at 4am, I dont know. When I woke up, my nose was bleeding again. I still had some puffiness, tingling and a mild headache. After breakfast, we make a move to Labouche. As I walked down, I was almost awestruck at my own capability. I looked behind me and I realized that I just walked this same path, but the other way around. Perhaps the extreme motivation to get to EBC the other day make everything seemed doable, but on the way down, it seemed unfathomable.

The trek was steep, rocky and dangerous due to the loose stones which moved when being stepped on. It was 1/3 rocky, 1/3 dirt flat and 1/3 steep rocky. Those steps leading to Thukla were most remarkable. Seen from above, it was actually a very very steep way up, but somehow seemed only steep (minus the very very) the other day.

We had lunch at Labouche. I had vege noodle soup which had no taste at all. The reason why I opt for it was bcos I need to consume more liquid to kill the AMS symptoms.

It was funny to think that you had a different opinion when going or returning, even though u walked on the same trek. From Labouche to Periche, the trek was a lil bit steep up in the beginning and followed by downhill grassland. My friends were ‘flying’ down and I wasnt able to catch up with them. Besides, at this point, my knees and ankles were sore, and I had blisters on my toes. To add to it, the wind was sooo super strong and my lips were cracking and my skin drying and peeling. It hurts.

By now, I seldom take pics anymore. After all, its the same way that I had walked through, and the same view which I had seen the other day. After walking for another 2.30hrs, I arrived Periche Resort. This place was very nice and beautiful. That night, I had a yummy (at last) vege curry with rice (Rs470 = RM19) while watching World Cup on the solar powered television.




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