Altitude: 4900 metres
Weather: Mainly fine
Fiona here – coming to you from Lobuche. Very pleased to say that we’re not too far from basecamp now, but unfortunately the day has not been without it’s struggles.
We woke this morning, both Denise and I feeling much better. Our respective stomach upsets seem to have settled down and we were feeling ready for the day ahead. Our guide mentioned that he had some stomach pain in the night but assured us he was fine to continue. We ate breakfast and Denise walked out of the dining room and was very surprised to be head-to-head with a large Zopyko (Yak crossed with a cow) who was trying to get inside for a feed as well. We found out that it was 19 years old and no longer carrying loads but well cared for by the family. After getting over this shock and getting ready, we headed off soon after 8am.
Along the High Ridge to Dukla
Today’s walk was one of our biggest days and we were all keen to get it underway. The very first part was quite a steep ascent and then flattened out to be a beautiful walk along a high ridge. We all felt quite good and stopped to take photographs. We loved seeing the summer huts used to graze yaks – similar to the cattleman’s huts in the Australian high plains. We dipped down to cross the river and then found ourselves at Dukla – a tiny town consisting of just two buildings. We stopped for a snack of tea and toast – we were almost estastic to find jam that seemed fresh and tasted nice (its amazing how small luxuries can satisfy us now!).
Our two guides went inside while we enjoyed the sun outside. After a good rest, we went to find them and discovered that Ang Nima was not feeling well at all. It seems that his stomach problem had worsened and he was feverish and shakey on his feet. Coincidentally, there were a group of British doctors also taking a break there and one of them checked Ang Nima over. He administered some medication and advised that he should go down to the clinic in Pheriche. We made arrangements for one of our porters to take him down and have since heard (on the porter message wire) that the doctors have sent him back to his hometown of Khumjung for at least 3 days of rest. Although its a little unclear, it seems as though he had a stomach bug prior to starting our trek and might not have fully kicked it. We’re all concerned for him now as we know how bad he’ll be feeling about leaving us – despite our reassurances that he should take as much time as he needs to get better. We were also concerned that he might not get paid, but have since been assured that he will be. Ang Nima has been a fantastic guide for us and is one of the most genuine people you could ever meet.
Continuing up to Lobuche
Pemba rearranged our bags and we all continued up the steep hill to Lobuche. Everyone did exceptionally well and our slow, steady pace paid off. At the top we took a break at the Everest memorials where we wandered around and pondered them in the silence of our own worlds.
The last hour or so was quite flat and we passed the first drifts of snow. By now the landscape was just rock as we walk alongside the rubble of the Khumbu Glacier. As we walked along, a man approached us saying, “Six women and one man? You must be Australian!”. It turned out it was Rudi – one of the climbers in the Asian Trekking team. He was headed down to Deboche for some lower altitude and rest before his no-oxygen summit bid. We had a brief chat, shook hands, and continued in our respective directions.
It was a long climb so most of us were pretty happy when we finally spotted the 5 or so buildings that make up Lobuche. We piled inside for tea and some lunch. But by the time we finished lunch, Denise was again not feeling so good and soon after, Mum had the same problem. The heat of the lodge in contrast with the cold outside, as well as the 600 meter elevation gain, made a few of us feel a bit light-headed as well. We all took to our rooms and got some rest. Again, the doctor that had seen Ang Nima down at Dukla was here so he saw Denise and both she and Mum are now on antibiotics which should clear things up soon. As I write this, they’re both up and have had a light soup for dinner, already feeling slightly better. Tomorrow we have nothing planned but rest, so it will be a good chance for them to recover.
Thanks everyone for your messages wishing Denise and I well. Seems to have worked for me, but Denise may need some more.
To Dad, Jacqueline, Leah and Nana – thanks for your messages from Mum and I. We hope everything is going well back home with you all. Mum was happy to hear about the TV and the rock wall starting. Hope Leah’s move is progressing well.
Marg also says hi to all her friends including all the PVICT and AMES staff.
Ann & Graham – we are all going to the toilet much more than usual. Unfortunately its a part of life up here. But its a good sign that your kidneys have kicked into action. Not much we can do about it except keep an eye out for big rocks (the trees have finished now!).
We’ll have more time and energy tomorrow, so till then…