Back to Namche from Everest Base Camp

It was a long tiring day yesterday.

Early morning yesterday, I woke up and drank a cup of tea with Chhitiz. Bikash rose a little late and joined us. We just sat at the dinning hall of Ama Dablam Lodge chatting how slow the life moves in those areas.

At 8:15 AM, Bikash and I went a little bit farther waiting for the marathoner ready with our cameras. To my surprise, Deepak Rai came at 8:30 AM – 110 minutes after the start and was running like he has just started.

At 10:00 AM, we started our journey towards Tengboche filming the runners who would overtake us on the way. It was a long journey but when we finally reached there, Bhaswor and Deep were there. We stayed almost half-an-hour before moving out at around noon for our journey towards Namche.

It was amazing to see Nepali runners, untrained and raw leading and foreigners, who were most probably running their one of many marathons just finding it gruesome. At a stage, the cook who was probably 50 was strolling with a cigrette on a hand and a foreigner was trying to overtake him. He stood a few minutes to talk to us letting the foreigner to go ahead.

Its also amazing that the event created a stir in otherwise peaceful country life in the villages. Everyone seemed to either be running or watching the runners. One of our two porters, Bik Raj Tamang, ran and placed fourteenth. There were a few parent-siblings combination in the event.

We arrived at Namche at 4:00 PM. We took a room and went up to the finishing line. I tried to locate the winner there but it wasn’t official till then. I came back to the hotel where the results were confirmed. The ladies’ winner and runners-up were at the dinning hall, so I talked with them. I filed a story without quote of the winner as I feared the power down.

Later, I found a local boy who ran me five minutes to Misling to find the winner sitting quitely in a tavern with friends. He wasn’t drinking and also didn’t look like the man who had just won a prestigious, the world’s highest attitude marathon. I talked to him and came back to file his quotes from a cyber cafe. I also called office and home and talked with my wife.

Late in the evening, I was at Cafe Danfe for the official reception. I drank a bottle of Fanta but managed to grab two cans of beers which I fizzed out over my dancing friends. It was nice and after almost three years I found myself dancing. The last was in Bangladesh when I attended a marriage there.

The cafe was almost like a disco with everybody, more foreigners than Nepali, dancing on the tune of hit songs. At the cafe, I met Pakistani Ambassador and had a pleasant talk with him about cricket.

I returned to hotel at around half past eleven without my room key which Bikash misplaced somewhere. I broke the lock and found the key inside. Bikash came immediately after mid-night and we found that we were without quilts. We managed to grab a sleeping bag from next room which we used a quilt and slept on the floor.

Return Journey Begins

I woke up late this morning. It was a good sleep and I didn’t want to miss that at the height of Gorak Shep. But since we were supposed to have a photo shoot for the promo of the marathon with 12 marathoners, I had to wake up. I ate breakfast with Chris who after hearing my proposal to participate in the photo shoot agreed for.

We had 10 local boys, a local girl and Chris for the photo shoot which went great as there were rarely a piece of cloud today. I made some good shots using the camcorder despite not being a profession at it.

Shooting was quite a fun.

We left Gorak Shep half-hour before noon supposely for Thukla but on our way we changed the plan because we had made shots that Thukla would’ve offered us. We walked for five hours 30 minutes plus one hour rest to reach Pyangboche via Lobuche, Thukla, Pheriche, Osra and Somara.

We met Dr Chhitiz at Pyangboche and it was fun. I called home (Rs. 30/min). I also called my wife but she didn’t hear anything on her mobile.

Everest Base Camp, at last

It was quite an interesting day as I was at the final destination of my journey – the Everest Base Camp. After walking more than three hours, off-course very slowly, we reached the camp. It was 70 per cent walk on hilly ridge and other on the top of Khumbhu glacier. It’s quite amazing to see a large amount of ice cake-topped by rocks.

Everest Base Camp held nothing for me except the feeling that I was indeed there and the crunchy ice itself. I climbed up to a small pinnacle of ice and touched the ice with bare hands. It was quite cold but worth experiencing.

We had a mock-start of the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon and it was over in 10 minutes after the health check-up of every participants concluded. Our two doctor friends were quite busy.

It was interesting to see a sizeable number of local girls participating. The foreigners were quite enthusiastic that they made it to the base camp.

Although I and Bikash had an option of staying at the base-camp I insisted we should return because I was not quite willing to get a bad sleep in a tent at a cold place. We returned to Gorak Shep but the journey was quite painful for both of us.

Bhaskar and Deep left for Pheriche and will head to Tengboche tomorrow while we will move to Thukla tomorrow.

The loveliest thing for today was that we began our return journey and the most exciting thing was that we made it to the Everest Base Camp (Oh my god!).

Kala Patthar, 5545m, Summitted!

Had a great sleep yesterday night without any problem and that was probably the reason I was at my best this morning.

With Dr. Bidhan and Dr. Chhitiz, we went to the top of Kala Patthar, 5545m. It was a long steep uphill walk and very cold at the top. From about the middle of the rocky black hill, we saw Mt. Everest and Nuptse and took some photographs but that was all as the weather was too cloudy to let us enjoy the view of any other mountains from the top of the hill. It was foggy at the top and it would be the highest place we would be at during the trip.

Me, Bikash, Bidhan and Chhitiz (sitting) on the top.

We came back half an hour past noon and had T-momo – a bun with curry. After eating that, I slept for three hours. Bhaskar and Deep joined me and Bikash for talks on various issues. It was entertaining.
Dinner was dal-bhat-alu. At dinner, I talked with a French runner – Chris who said the marathon was the only in the world where it’s difficult to reach the starting point than the finish-line.

Bikash felt headache and took a Paracetamol. Bik Ran didn’t return for the dinner so we suspected Prakash is either still ill or decided to descend lower than Pheriche.

Finally, we will be at Everest base camp tomorrow. Our actual plan was that Bikash and me would spend a night there while other return but we decided not to sleep there and come back here. Our much-awaited return journey therefore would begin tomorrow.

I don’t know why but lack of communication possibilities makes us a lot of home-sick and lonely. All of us are desparate to go back to Kathmandu. But, sadly there is still five more days for that to happen. I hope my family and wife are doing well. I miss her chattering and talks about her office and friends.

During evening our talks had revolved around girlfriends of Bikash and Deep and that made me my wife come live to my heart and that didn’t helped a home-sick man.

Lobuche: It’s Not Easy!

Last night was the hardest night for me so far in the tour. After I slept for about an hour, I was woken up suddenly by the feel of heat inside me. I removed my jacket and inner woolen coat but the feeling of heat and restlessness didn’t go away. Whenever I tried to close my eyes, I felt like the whole world is spinning in my head.

It was, I believe, a mixture of lack of oxygen, feeling of home sickness, uneasiness in sleeping in a small room barely enough for two small beds and, most probably, the gastric-growing dinner last night caught me. I took a Diamox (tablet used to cure the high altitude sickness) on Bikash’s advice, had to go to toilet for two times during night but before I could sleep for five more hours from 1:00AM.

When I woke up in the morning, I was feeling alright with a little headache on back.

After tea and biscuit at Lobuche, we went up to a small hill. Although all of us were tired and experienced suffocation last night, we found that Deep and I were most troubled.

At 10:30AM, smiling Prakash arrived with the porter boy. We all ate lunch and started our journey to Gorak Shep, the last stop before the Mt Everest base-camp. Despite our advice to stay at Lobuche, Prakash decided to walk up with us.

The way that took us three hours was rocky but only one steep uphill walking. Prakash looked too tired, we even considered sending him back but he insisted he would come. Once at Gorak Shep, he vomited and doctors advised him to descend. Bik Raj accompanied him back.

I was little dizzy and decided to sleep. On and off, I slept for three hours before dinner. I am lot better than yesterday night but not on best of my health. A little headache and dizziness is still reigning on me. I hope everything will be fine by tomorrow morning.