Local Time: 5:15pm, 30 Mar 06
Weather: 8C, Cloudy
Hi everyone, its Paul here.
Today was a scheduled rest day so Fiona and Bridge took the opportunity to have a shower. Chris and I reckoned we smelt fine and didn’t need one! It was a bucket over a small tin shed, but they enjoyed it. (Apparently Chris and Bridge are going to be staying in a really nice lodge tomorrow night, so I might avail myself of a shower then.)
Visiting the HRA medical clinic
After breakfast we climbed over a small hill to the town of Pheriche to visit the Himalayan Rescue Association medical clinic. This is staffed by doctors from around the world who volunteer their time to treat trekkers and locals. Trekkers are charged US$40 for a consultation and this subsidises medical services for Nepalese. Although the clinic is only staffed during the trekking season, about two thirds of the people treated are locals. The doctors said that there is much greater awareness amongst westerners about altitude sickness, but lowland Nepalese porters are just as likely to suffer altitude sickness and are usually unaware of the symptoms. They also said that there is a macho attitude amongst the Nepalese towards altitude, so they are reluctant to inform others if they are having problems. A few weeks ago a Nepalese person went from Kathmandu to Lobuje (approx. 4900m) in two days and he died despite the help of the HRA.
Lecture on altitude sickness
We were given an hour lecture on all the various forms of altitude sickness from AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) to HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). They had a really interesting slide showing the ability of the body to absorb oxygen from the air and how this decreases significantly in a non-linear fashion as you ascend above 4000m.
Chris and Bridge
Bridge and Chris climbed up a few hundred metres above us to visit a Chorton. They spent a few minutes there and came back down. They then had to go back up, because they left their water bottle! Bridge is feeling fine now.
Thanks everyone for your messages. I can assure you we see them all and love reading them. We also see all your text messages that you send to our phone; we check this a couple of times a day. There is a small problem when you send text messages in that it seems to cut off the last few words if you write a long message AND put your name in the name field. I suggest that you leave the name field blank and just put your name at the end of your message.
QECVI – We asked a couple of Sherpas what Babu meant and they said that it means baby or a younger person.
Tomorrow we are off to Lobuje, which is meant to be another gradual climb upwards. Hopefully the weather gods continue to shine.