Day 11 – 29th March 2010

Dingboche Acclimatisation Day

I had my breakfast, on day two of porridge, my children will be proud! We were on our way for the acclimatisation walk. It was a steep climb from the moment we set off; we were making a number of stops on the way for a little rest, for others to catch up and to take in the dramatic panoramic view.

I cannot describe how beautiful, breathtaking and magnificent the views were even now as I write in my journal I am looking out of the dinning room window in admiration.

On the ascent, as usual in my excitement I went over the top with taking photos and making video recordings. I just wanted to capture every moment, you had to be here to fully appreciate and understand what I was experiencing. It was truly inspiring being on top of the world!

I was feeling overwhelmed by what Allah had created, the wonderful expression of the miracles and beauty, bringing tears in my eyes. I was so emotionally moved, missing my family, thinking how fortunate I was to be able to come here and be in the proximity of these superb mountains.

I could almost touch the mountains; we were in the clouds and my eyes could not get enough. This was one of the best days of my life!

We arrived at a place on the mountain exhausted and convinced it was 4500 metres for acclimatisation. Ebrahim was emotionally moved and this was showing, again we were taking lots of photos, the excitement in everyone’s faces, to have made it to our destination for the today.

Jamie was nowhere to be seen, he was in his zone going ahead of us beyond the acclimatisation point and somewhere at the top. What did you expect, he was a Scot, a real man; for him it was like being in the Highlands.

When the rest of the group caught up, Prakash, our guide wiped the excitement off our faces telling us we needed to go higher to reach 4500 metres. Off we all went, thinking to myself it had been too easy.

This was the hardest part of the ascent, the oxygen was not enough and we were very slowly making our way up. My heart was about to explode with demand for oxygen. We were having regular stop to get our breath back. It was a good challenge and we were constantly aware of the struggle for oxygen and the threat of altitude sickness.

I was with James and Scott with the guide Bikash who was like a mountain goat bouncing up while we slowly made the ascent.

As we were making our way up, in the background we heard the other guides Chauang and Noro telling us to stop and head back down. We have reached 4400 metres, this was far enough; at the same time Jamie appeared from the mist heading back down in a jovial mood bouncing and running down using his walking sticks.

Jamie told us it was about an hour to the top and he looked fine from his ascent. James and Scott decided to head down with Jamie not wanting to take the risk of altitude sickness. I was feeling OK and I desperately wanted to see what the views were like if I went a little further. I wanted to know if I could see the peak of this mountain, wondering what the views beyond looked like.

I looked at Bikesh gesturing towards the top; to my relief he did not mind if I carried on so I decided to go a little further and then some which was very hard going as the oxygen was getting less with my breathing getting harder and harder.

All this time I was struggling and gasping fro breath, Bikash was gliding up with a smile on his face. It was difficult but I wasn’t put off as I could see the top by now. I was paying attention to my body; as soon as I felt any symptoms of altitude sickness I was going to head down.

I kept stopping to listen to my body looking over at Bikash’s face for any expression of concern. He kept smiling and slightly tilting his head towards the peak with encouragement. I felt very safe, I knew I was with a guide and I was speaking to people on the path coming down from the peak.

I finally made it to the top, excited, in high spirits with no symptoms of altitude sickness and breathing back to normal. I was at 5100 metres doing a full 360 degrees turn taking in the views and it felt great!

I sat down, took out my dried food and shared them with Bikash, then out came the Hobnobs. After taking several amazing pictures we headed back down.

It felt like coming down Snowdon, then suddenly Bikash had a burst of energy and started to run down at a phenomenal speed, it was like he was going Parkour on a mountain, the guy was a complete nutter!

He was screaming as he was going down and he was definitely not using the path. I tried to keep up with him, catching my breath as much as I could before carrying on. I was having fun running down, shattered but enjoying the rush!

We soon caught up with Noro trailing the group, then some of the others and finally Prakash, who reminded me as I had gone to 5100 metres, the risks of symptoms of altitude sickness when I get down.

I was a little worried so I took the rest of the descent at a slow pace. When I got back I felt ecstatic having made it to the peak and back down.

Ebrahim was feeling a little rough, in the morning before we set off for the walk; he had taken 250mg of Dyamox and 400mg Ibuprofen, by the time we were on the ascent at some point the medicine had kicked in but by the time we had descended he was getting headaches, pins and needs which were the after effects of the Dyamox.

We ordered lunch and I could see Yasser was not looking too good either. As lunch was being prepared I joined Jamie, James and Scott outside for awhile before going back in to eat.

After eating my Sherpa soup, Ebrahim took another Ibuprofen which did not take long to kick in, he was now ready to do Zohr prayers and then go to the internet café. I was still recovering from my sore knees and legs from the rapid decent with Bikash.

After Ebrahim did his prayers he was off to the internet café. I decided to loosen my legs walking around the dining area, then went to do my prayers and organise my bag for tomorrow.

I was thinking of sleeping but in the end I decided to get my journal and stay in the dining area staring at the views of Amadablam, watching the locals tending to the land including a small girl helping her family around 3 years old in full Sherpa clothing, looked very colourful.

It was freezing in our bedrooms and the dining area; my feet never got warmed up even after layers of socks. We got Noro to light the stove and the dining area soon started to warm up.

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