Per Mike’s (our expedition lead guide) suggestion into keeping my acclimatization and fitness by climbing a peak, today I’d be venturing to trek up to Kala Patthar. Kala Patthar is known as the Black Rock mountain which is just behind of Gorak Shep, the last town before the trek up to Base Camp. Kala Patthar can offer one of the best views of Everest when it’sunny, and this was the place where I’d made my promises about 10 ½ years ago. I was excited to explore this journey on my own and kept reminding myself to be careful with any more promises 🙂
A good hearty breakfast with 4 eggs (in my head I’ve been kindly telling myself this is not a Rocky Balboa type of journey) and with 2 liters of hydrating fluids and snacks I was ready to head outside our little base. The weather was cloudy with rays of sun hovering through, though as I started trekking I was amazed how warm it quickly felt. As the season continues the glacier where Base Camp is located keeps melting and the combination of melted ice and rock can be sooooo slippery.
One of the biggest ironies for me is that I have very little balance when walking on normal terrain, on icy mountains it must be the crampons that help my balance, but today, ouch! I was on a constant slippery streak.
Luckily for me, I was promptly out of the glacier and on the normal trek back to Gorak Shep. This was the first time since I trekked with the girls that I made my journey back towards that side. I fondly greeted most of the passing trekkers as it was easy to spot people making it here for the first time; though I’m sure my fast pace speed had to puzzled them. Within 35mins I was back to the beginning of Gorak Shep and then started hiking up to Kala Patthar. I got to the top of Kala Patthar around noon, and because it was so cloudy and windy the views were not the greatest. I took a nice break taking in the altitude as well, not too many trekkers in the vicinity. This will likely be the last time I visit Kala Patthar for the time being so I simply promised to return one day 😉
As I was descending towards Base Camp, I was hoping to avoid making it too close towards Gorak Shep and instead breaking trail through the many rocky surroundings, aka creating a shortcut.
I spotted some trekkers/mountaineers walking towards an adjacent route, so I followed their marks. The trekkers took a road that seemed more towards another mountain, and instead I started following someone ahead of me that seemed to know where to go.
The rocky route was full of large boulders and unsteady rocks which easily fell when stepped on. In the past, I’d always count on Yak’s dung to find any missing route but this was certainly no Yak territory, however spotting little human-made rock altars was a good sign to follow.
I caught up to the mysterious trekker ahead of me, and we both hit this big cliff ending the route. This chap had no clue where to continue next, so I took the lead and started descending through dangerous slippery big rock terrain.
Ultimately I found a path that connected to the main trail, and was so relieved that I had only slipped another couple of times.
As I turned back, I saw the rest of the climbers I had spotted first making their way through slippery terrain.
It started snowing as I got closer to base camp but I was glad to be in familiar territory.
Since I had missed lunch, it was great to have the kitchen team let me cook my own lunch. I felt exhausted and with various bruises but happy to have gotten my acclimatization fix. A quick meeting with Dr. K, some strong ibuprofen and an easy evening will help my body recuperate from all the slipperies. At dinner we heard that need to still await for better weather patterns. Tomorrow is a big day as some big teams will be attempting a push for the summit. And for the rest of us, keeping our hopes up our day will soon come. Good Night!
Treat of the day: Breaking trail on dangerous slippery rocky terrain and looking like a Pro!