Base Camp

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  ,
Monday, October 24, 2005

Had to be up pretty early for the drive to Everest Base Camp. I had slept surprisingly well considering but we were still annoyed with the owner so when we left we locked the door and took the key with us! Childish but they deserved it!

The drive was only about 2 hours and our driver was able to take us all the way to camp. We also had to pay the hugely expensive national park fee and extra for the driver to take us to camp. As we were so close to Nepal we also had to show our passports before entering Everest National Park.

I had expected more from Base Camp but it was just a desert, 3 days away from the foot of the mountain. Quite disappointing really but we were still as close as we were ever going to get to the tallest mountain on Earth.

We dumped our stuff in the tent which was quite cool before setting off closer to the mountain. It's worth mentioning now that before we left Shegar I had put on pretty much all the clothes I owned so I was wearing a pair of shorts (lost 1 pair in Shigatse), 2 pairs of trousers, 4 t-shirts, 1 jumper and 2 pairs of socks. I also had 2 pairs of gloves (dumb and dumber style) and the extra jacket I purchased in Lhasa.

However it was boiling so I needn't have worn half of it. I Could easily have walked around in shorts and t-shirt and not been at all cold! We set off along the desert and soon came to a ridge. It was about 75-100 metres high and near vertical so we thought piece of cake. Not so.

We were 5300 metres above sea level and any extra exertion resulted in having to gasp for air. It took us about 10 minutes of climbing on our hands and knees, carefully looking for solid rocks to tread on for support, before we reached the top. Well it wasn't really the top as it kept on going and going. We figured we had hours of the day left so lets press on.

Once passed the second ridge we were met with a lake. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere so it surprised us a little. After a short rest we pressed on again and summited a further ridge. The lake passed this ridge was huge and looked untouched for years. The ice was about 30cm's thick and we spent a good 40 minutes throwing rock in an attempt to crack it.

We saw a huge boulder and thought that'll do! It took 3 people using all our strength to budge it and there was immense satisfaction when it finally budged and tumbled triumphantly in to the water, shattering the ice over half the length of the lake as it entered.

We were knackered but pressed on to the next lake. Seeing as we got so far I left a little flag with my name on, with todays date, and left it fluttering under a rock. Hopefully it'll be there for many a year to come.

We decided that was far enough and started to head back, down by the river this time. Nearly back by the first ridge we spotted Louise sunbathing, she thought it was better than climbing.

We headed back to camp and the second I got in the tent I knew something was wrong. I was boiling and realised I had misjudged just how intense the sunlight was. When Lucy arrived after walking from Rombuk the first thing she said was "my God you're red!" I felt very foolish indeed.

Jesper was also feeling worse for wear although not from the sun but the altitude. The walk had really taken it out of him and he had it bad! He looked at deaths door and needed to buy a can of oxygen to calm down. Pretty scary stuff!.

For the rest of the afternoon we rested and watched the Tibetan drivers play cards, violently smashing the cards down as they played their go. Come 9pm we were all shattered and wanted to sleep. Trying to fit 3 tall people on a sofa long enough for 2 wasn't fun and it was obvious we weren't going to get much sleep. To make matters worse they also decided to flood the tent with smoke from the fire, so badly that we all started choking! It was going to be a fun night!
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