Yesterday we made it over the last high pass of the trek, the Kongma La. We stayed in Lobuche for the night, and today we're walking up to base camp... Trek phase over, time to start climbing!
I'm writing this blog from the tiny settlement of Gorak Shep. The walk up here this morning has been an enormous contrast to the last few quiet weeks, with hoards of people trying to get up to base camp. The highlight was an American lady with the shits wailing from behind a boulder... Hilarious!
It's been an eventful week since I last blogged. Unfortunately Ellen came down with a tummy upset so she couldn't come over the Kongma La with the rest of us. She stayed in Dingboche for a couple of days to recuperate and then trekked directly up to Lobuche to meet us yesterday. She's feeling much better now and looking well on track to get to base camp today.
The rest of us had three nights camping at 5400m for acclimatisation. A couple of days ago we climbed Pokalde (5,800m) - an easy alpine-style peak with a bit of snow, a bit of scree, and a bit of a Jenga Tower climb for the last 30m! The views from the top were awesome - up close and personal with Pumori, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu and Ama Dablam.
It's been really nice exploring the Thame valley and the valley up to the Kongma La, neither of which I've been up before. Although the trekking has been great though, I really can't wait to get to base camp later today. It feels like the last few weeks have all been preparatory, and now we can finally get on with what we've come to do. It's going to be so exciting re-tracing Hilary's steps 60 years on, and hopefully passing all the famous landmarks I've read and heard so much about... The Khumbu icefall, the western cwm, the Lhotse face, the geneva spur, the south col, the Hilary step...
Once at base camp we've got a couple of rest days and another blessing ceremony, and then we start rotations on the hill to get used to the ultra thin air. The first rotation should get us to camp 2, the second to camp 3, and then the next one will be the big push...
Bring it on!