Today April 12th, we were up by 6:30am, our departure time was 8am. Everyone was in great spirits except for Dr. Jackie, somehow the meal from the previous nite gave her food poison which is not fun at all in altitude. She has been caretaking all of us on this trip, so it was our time to be a little more helpful.
Everyone was promptly out by 8am, I stayed a little back behind sorting through various items and coordination with my expedition members. The Puja Ceremony (the official Sherpa traditional blessing ceremony that is a mandatory to attend before setting foot on the mountain) was originally scheduled to be held on April 13th at 9am. For me, this would mean that I’d had to leave Lobuche at around 4am to make it to Base Camp by that time. In a shocking twist, as I got connected with my expedition, I was informed that my Puja would start at 1pm on April 13th, which would give me more time and at least be connected with the group a little longer.
Today was a big day in terms of altitude and health. Lobuche altitude is at 16,109 feet / 4910 meters and that is a big impact. We have been extremely lucky with our team, that though the altitude has been affecting all of us, rest has made a huge difference. Everyone’s appetite since Namche has been really great, which is a key indicator on how everyone can acclimate.
A really long and large uphill climb into Thukla, our lunch spot, was our first challenge. This gorgeous area is surrounded by some amazing mountains and jaw-drapping peaks. Though the beautiful early morning sun got covered by clouds and cold wind that make the uphill journey quite challenging for a couple of us. By 11am we got into Thukla, which is a beautiful small destination completely perched by the majestic sight of gorgeous Himalayans mountains. The whole group was doing great, except for Dr. Jackie who was suffering from a running stomach. Ahead of us was the sight of the steepest climb for the day, a long 90min uphill rock and scramble which will lead us into the stone memorials for the departed soul of climbers who decided to rest in the mountains.
The wind picked up and it made the climb quite steep however, all of us kept a very slow pace and trekked together until we saw the sight of the prayer flags.
I gave a prayer Flag to Jess and Urmila to hang as our contribution paying respects to all the departed souls. The beautiful sight of Ama Dablan and other gorgeous mountains surrounded us. Some gorgeous group’s photos and then it was into a final gradual small descent into Lobuche.
I have been amazed by the number of trekkers, it’s definitely high season. As we got closer to Lobuche, I was able to see a formation of tents from possibly Everest Climbers who’ll be climbing Lobuche Peak for acclimatization.
By 4pm we all reached Lobuche. Quite exhausted from the long uphill journey. Dr. Jackie was still in the mending period and warm soup for everyone was a way to combat the lingering headache due to altitude.
Though everyone was quite weary, the energetic spirits were quite high and the appetite was good. Shailee, Asha and I discussed a couple of options, and based on how everyone felt in the morning we’ll either try to make a push into Base Camp or possibly just have the group make into Gorak Shep and rest for the day. For me, I’d have to leave earlier to make the Puja ceremony and then would either meet the group back into their way to BC or at Gorak Shep.
As I packed my gear which would be taken by the Porter, I had a lot of bitter sweet and dreading type of emotions. Here, in front of me was the start of my biggest dream ever. A lot of nervousness and sadness were the emotions. As I got into my sleeping back, crying myself to sleep was a good way to let go of the sadness part.
Treat of the day: All of us feeling safe and healthy at Lobuche!