Day 12 – 30th March 2010

Dingbouche to Lobouche

We set off after breakfast heading towards Lobouche, on the same mountain path we took yesterday.

The walk was not difficult, passing frozen lakes, jumping over boulders, passing sherpas moving goods on yaks. It was a nice walk allowing a good flow of conversation.

We had to cross the river before we got to the teahouse for lunch. It was gridlocked with yaks crossing the only bridge so we had to move out of the way before we ended up in the freezing river. There were icicles forming on the rocks we were about to walk over to get to the other side..

We got to the teahouse which was crowded with people, this was the only one for everyone ascending to and descending from Everest Base Camp. We could see the steep climb from the teahouse, just about making out people going up and coming down this section.

We ordered our food and waited for the rest of the group to catch up in a packed teahouse, I liked the welcoming atmosphere. We saw a number of people we had met on the way since we started on this journey. The sun was shining and the scenery was spectacular. This place was completely isolated with panoramic views of mountains just like a picture postcard.

Ebrahim avoided the food from the teahouse, instead eating his energy bar; Jamie was also not looking too good so we decided to set of before the rest of the group. The climb was steep so by getting ahead we could afford more breaks to catch our breath.

We climbed slowly, gasping desperately for breath until the teahouse was in the distance. I could also see the rest of the group trailing behind snaking their way up. We were only halfway up this section, looking up and down, gasping for breath focused in getting to the top. I could see porters struggling with their load, resting often before pushing up again.

When we finally got to the top we were shattered but in high spirits, the top of this climb was flat and busy with people having a break. This was a memorial site for climbers who had lost their lives up on Everest. The views were incredible, what a contrast to what we could see now compared to the views from the teahouse.
Once we finished taking photos we decided to carry on as it was still some distance before we reached our destination in Lobouche.

The path started off level and in the distance we could see a large number of bright yellow tents at the base of one of the mountains.

Soon we dropped down to a frozen lake, navigating the boulders wondering whether we were heading in the right direction. By now I was with Ebrahim and Jamie, fortunately we could see our porters in a distance behind us heading in the same direction.

By the time we got near our lodge it was snowing, the cold snap was getting worse with the wind blowing fiercer in the exposed landscape. We could see a number of teahouses and tents scattered everywhere in Lobouche.

The teahouse was very basic with minimum services and understandably full to capacity with no vacancies. The outside toilets were frozen which meant out of use and we had limited number of toilets inside.

The place was cosy enough and we soon settled with some familiar faces from the journey, waiting for our bags and the rest of the group to arrive. When everyone has safely arrived we learnt Yasser had altitude sickness and could not carry on, a decision was made by Praskash to send him to lower altitude.

We ordered our dinner, did our Zohr prayers and joined the group until the food arrived. I sat with Ebrahim opposite Richard and his daughter Jess. Over dinner we had a very emotional conversation where some progress had been made between Richard and Jess.

After dinner some of us decided to head for a view of the glaciers beyond a small ridge. Snow had fallen which would mean the walk would be tricky without any paths. We got ready and headed towards the ridge. It was hard work with lack of oxygen in the air but we managed to get on top of the ridge.

Helicopter was approaching Lobouche to collect a body of a Sherpa who had apparently died after heavy drinking at high altitude. They tried to bring him down to improve his symptoms but unfortunately it only got worse and lead to his death.

The helicopter had trouble landing with the snow blinding the pilot’s vision. It eventually managed to land with spectators watching the body being loaded for Kathmandu hospital.

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