As we depart Phortse this morning, I spy a small head, curiously peeking out from behind a door frame. He wanders out clutching a giant teddy bear and I deem him a most worthy recipient of a clip-on koala toy.
We are the only people staying in this small village that is off the main trail. As a result, it is tranquil and we have this morning’s superb views all to ourselves as we head above the treeline.
We’re ascending a fair bit today. This uphill battle is challenging on the calves and quads, but with our guides setting a steady pace, and regular rest stops, we slowly shuffle towards where we need to be.
The skies are clear and mountain Ama Dablam looms on the horizon.
An extended 90 minute lunch stop is well earned by now and I enjoy my first sherpa stew. It is a thick broth with vegetables and noodles. It’s hearty and tasty so I can see how it is a staple of the Sherpa.
Re-energised by food and a rest, the final leg to Dingboche is relatively easier than the morning.
My mountain squad is a wonderful group of people. Everyone is very supportive and encouraging of each other and we’re all able to have a laugh about some of the difficult physical situations we have chosen to put ourselves in. I always feel that the friendships you make on a mountain get forged faster and deeper than regular relationships. Something about sharing this once-in-a-lifetime experience gels you together in a way nothing else does.
After our arrival in Dingboche, the clouds begin to roll in. The mist sits heavy and it begins to snow. Once again we’ve timed this perfectly.
I had some concerns that from here-in, I would start to suffer from some altitude sickness as this was the height on Kilimanjaro that it began to set it for me. I am surprised that I feel really good and do not have any of the nausea of headaches I expected at this altitude. This is probably attributed to a few factors:
- More time spent in the leadup to the trip in the altitude chamber at Bodyology
- Taking Diamox at the start of the trip, instead of after the symptoms have set in
- The acclimation profile of this trip has been very good with more time to adjust to higher elevations
I have brought along a cheap oxymeter that I purchased on eBay which gives you an on-the-spot reading of your heart rate and oxygen saturation. It becomes a fun ritual for us all to check our stats each day and is a re-assuring indicator of where we are all at.
Start: Phortse (3810m amsl)
Finish: Dingboche (4410m amsl)
Everest Basecamp – day by day
- DAY 0 – Kathmandu
- DAY 1 – Kathmandu
- DAY 2 – Lukla/Phakding
- EVEREST BASECAMP: Day 3 – Namche Bazaar
- EVEREST BASECAMP: Day 4 – Namche Bazaar
- EVEREST BASECAMP: Day 5 – Phortse
- EVEREST BASECAMP: Day 6 – Dingboche
- EVEREST BASECAMP: Day 7 – Dingboche
- EVEREST BASECAMP: Day 8 – Lobuche
- EVEREST BASECAMP Day 9 – Everest Basecamp / Gorek Shep
- EVEREST BASECAMP Day 10 – Orsho
- EVEREST BASECAMP Day 11 – Tengboche
- EVEREST BASECAMP Day 12 – Monjo
- EVEREST BASECAMP Day 13 – Lukla
- Full photo gallery