You can read all of my posts about the Everest Base Camp trek here!
We woke up this morning to ice tracing a frosty pattern on our window – it had been a cold night. As I hurriedly dressed in the frigid air, I noticed that all of the clothes I had carefully selected for the trek were getting much bigger on me, it will be interesting to see how much weight I actually lose!
After a quick breakfast of jam and toast, we left our colourful little room in Dingboche to head to Lobuche. Deepak set the pace for today’s trek, as we still weren’t all 100% and he wanted to ensure that we took it slowly. As we left Dingboche trekking across the vast plains, helicopters whirred overhead more and more often, always rescuing someone. The slower pace really suited me and I was actually feeling pretty good.
After about 2 hours trekking, we stopped off in Thukla for a hot drink and a longer rest break. Deepak said that we could get some food here if we wanted, or we could wait until we reached Lobuche at about 1pm. None of us were really hungry at this stage, so we opted for just a hot drink and a rest.
While we were relaxing in the sunshine, a little Nepali girl had decided to grab one of Ash’s trekking poles and play a game of “keepings off” with him, much to the rest of our amusement. It was pretty funny to see a tiny Nepali girl wielding a trekking pole like a sword in front of a 6’3” man! Eventually, the girl’s mum made her give the pole back, and we all kept a close eye on our poles for the rest of the stop.
We set off again on probably the steepest part of the day’s trek, the ascent to Dughla Pass at 4830m. I was glad that with Deepak’s much slower pace I found the going much easier than I had on previous days, and resolved to try to maintain that sort of pace for the rest of our climb.
At the top of Dughla Pass, there was a memorial park for all of the people that had lost their lives climbing Everest, some with plaques detailing their accomplishments, and others no more than a simple stack of rocks. It was a lovely tranquil place, and I think a fitting way to preserve their memories.
After leaving the memorial, we ascended into yet another type of terrain. We were now well past the tree line and into glacial moraine, a grey and barren landscape punctuated by occasional icy aqua lakes. We caught our first glimpse of Kala Patthar, which (all things going well) we’d be climbing in just 2 days, as well as more stunning mountain vistas – you just don’t get sick of them!
As we walked along we noticed the air was perfumed with something sweetly spicy. We asked Deepak about it and he pointed out a small plant that was giving off the scent, picking some for us to smell. It was delicious!
Just as I was starting to tire a little, we passed a rock that indicated it was only 30 minutes further to reach Lobuche. With a renewed spring in our step we made it along the last bit of distance, arriving in the tiny settlement of Lobuche before 1pm.
We were excited to see that our teahouse, the Mother Earth House, was at an elevation of exactly 5000m! We quickly raced into the dining hall as the weather was starting to turn quite cold, and ordered lunch. After a tasty rara noodle soup (basically instant ramen noodles with vegetables and some extra spices added!), we checked into our cosy rooms and changed into warm clothes. The weather had turned cold enough that it warranted the first wear of my down jacket!
We all sat in the dining hall for the rest of the afternoon playing cards and joking around. Despite the high altitude, I actually felt quite good aside from a mild headache that worsened as the evening went on. As there are so few teahouses in Lobuche the dining hall soon became quite crowded, so after an early dinner of vegetable chow mein we all headed to bed to do some reading and have an early night. We had an early start the next morning, leaving to start our trek at 7am as we had a long day ahead – to Gorak Shep, then to Everest Base Camp and back! Going to sleep I could barely believe that after all the months of planning and preparation I had put in, the day that I would reach Everest Base Camp was only one sleep away!