3:00 P.M. local time (5:15 A.M. EDT)
Today was a bear of a day. The altitude is finally catching up. My head hurt, and once we passed 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) coming into Dingboche, I began to feel a bit disconnected from my body, and now my thigh muscles are burning a bit. Luckily, I'm not sick and I'm not starting Diamox. I've been able to knock out the headache with vitamin "I" (Ibuprofen).
Coming into Dingboche was quite a treat. From where we're camped, you can get a tremendous glimpse of Island Peak—our first view from the trail. The summit looms massively over us and, I have to admit, it's a bit overwhelming.
|View of Island Peak|
The trek today was a mixture of sun, clouds, spitting rain, and then snow. Oh, and did I mention gusting winds? We awoke to 30-degree temperatures but a clear sky. Awesome is the only way I can describe seeing the three giants above us again. We set out with pretty good attitudes. Those didn't change until the snow and gusty winds started around 11:30 A.M.—our lunchtime.
After lunch, the shorts were covered with fleece, as were our upper bodies. The sun hat made way for the GORE-TEX WINDSTOPPER fleece hat, and out came the gloves. There wasn't much snow on the ground, but it stung when it hit your face. Parts of the trail up to Dingboche are pretty exposed, and it's nothing to peer over the side of your three-foot path into a 1,000-foot (305-meter) abyss. Really makes you make certain of your footing. What's really nice is being able to hear the roaring glacier-fed river beneath the path. If you allow yourself, you can enter into a semi-hypnotic state and pass many miles without even knowing it.
We climbed one last hill into Dingboche. It was a leg burner. Mike and I were moving pretty slowly. Luckily, our guide, Bruce Andrews, from the Colorado Mountain School, was there to help us up the trail with encouraging words and some common mountain-climbing sense. Thanks Bruce. We needed that today.
Unfortunately, our other team member, Gerry, came down with a stomach bug last night. It wasn't a pretty day for the almostEverest team. Gerry's doing much better and made the trek just fine.
Tomorrow is a rest day, and we need it. We had plans to climb Pokalde tomorrow, which rises to around 16,000 feet (4,877 meters) behind our camp. I don't think that will happen now. We all need a day to rest before we hit the trail again day after tomorrow.
We're hearing rumors now quite frequently. There are a lot of people being evacuated out of the Khumbu. I believe we saw at least a half dozen helicopters between yesterday and today. We've also seen people being carried out. I will say, as much as I think this trip is a MUST for the fanatical trekker and climber like myself, it's not for everyone. Every day, you've got to monitor yourself and your teammates for high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). And let's not forget about just plain 'ole acute mountain sickness (AMS). Every cough and each tiny pinprick of a headache becomes a lesson in personal diagnosis. Let one of these edemas sneak up on you and you're asking for an early death. Just remember though, each can be recognized and cured by heading to lower elevations and using the right drugs, which we have with us.
So it's early...3:00 P.M. local time. After I finish typing, I think I'll rest and update my journal until dinner. Until next time...
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David Bard has been a fixture at TechRepublic for some time now. At one time he was editor in chief of LinuxRepublic and then AdminRepublic. Currently, he occupies space as an editor in chief with TechProGuild. In addition, he’s a freelance writer who has covered extreme sports for years. He also is a writer of horror and—contrary to what his climbing partner may think—is hoping the expedition to Nepal doesn’t provide fodder for his next story. When he’s not at home teaching his year-and-a-half-old daughter why it’s not a good idea to eat rocks, or trying to convince his wife why yet another expedition really is necessary, he’s usually off in some remote section of woods trying to discover himself. He’s still looking.