Journal Entry 4/13/21
So, last night was the last evening in the teahouses. From here on out, we’re going to be sleeping in tents. We had the longest hike of the trip (so far) today to the Lobuche Base Camp. It looks like it’s going to be pretty cold from here on out…even colder than it already has been! We started the day at 15° and it has not gotten any warmer. We climbed another 2000 feet in altitude; we are currently a little over 16,000 feet. Weather has been pretty good all along; we haven’t really had any rain and only a little bit of snow. After a few nights here, we hike into Everest Base Camp (EBC) where we will reside for the next 4 to 6 weeks. It looks like there will be no Wi-Fi for the next three days, so you will not be getting this for a while.
Each day climbing seems to be a little bit better and my respiratory issues seem to be clearing up as I just finished a Z pack. For the first time I had a slight headache, but it seems to be better now.
I’ve never eaten so many carbs in my life! Dinners and lunches are basically noodles, rice, and potatoes, with not much more of a selection. Breakfast is a variety of oatmeal, cereals, toast, and eggs. Of course, the eggs are cooked all the way through; there’s no such thing as over easy. There has been no meat at any time over the last week. Andy tried to eat a yak steak a few nights ago and almost threw up; it was totally impossible to eat.
Now that I have learned to pace myself better and try to coordinate my breathing, each day of trekking seems to be a little bit easier, but climbing will be a different challenge. Surprisingly, I don’t feel sore and my legs feel great every morning with no real pain to deal with, other than my back from time to time. Working on breathing at this high-altitude and keeping pace with the group is the biggest challenge.
The Sherpas continue to amaze me at what they’re capable of doing, typically carrying loads heavier than their weight up-and-down mountains!
I forgot to mention that a few nights ago there was a small earthquake where we just felt things shake for about 20 seconds. It reminded me of our 2015 mission in Nepal when there were basically tremors every couple hours. There was no damage or even reports that the tremors were noticed.
A typical day on this trek goes as follows: I wake up at 6:00AM, pack up my bags in my backpack for another day of trekking, and I have everything ready by 7:00AM. We then eat breakfast and start our trek at 8:00AM. We have lunch somewhere along the way in one of the little towns and reach our destination around 3:00 or 4:00PM. Dinner is usually at 6:30PM and everybody sits around for a while in the dining room since it’s the only place that has any heat whatsoever, hopefully. We then head back to our rooms and everyone is typically crashing by 9:00PM since it’s too cold to do anything else.
Pretty much everyone in the group has had significant climbing and trekking experience, as well as other long-distance athletic activities like ultimate marathons, triathlons, and multi-day running activities/contests.
Now that we’re in the tents for the rest of the trip, it is, once again, another adjustment. Obviously, there is more limited space, but, I must say, it’s not really a lot colder…I was surprised by this. For much of a 24-hour day I am merely trying to stay warm anyway I can. The rest of the time, we are eating or trekking. My sleeping bag is my bed every night, my bathroom is some form of an outhouse (even in the teahouses), and showers are either cold or nonexistent. Due to the cold, it doesn’t seem to be much of a problem that showers are rarely available. As Kendall is clearly aware (we summited Mount Kilimanjaro together in 2009), at this point, leaving the same clothes on for three or four days at a time is typical.
Food is abundant, but still limited in scope, providing us with grains, vegetables, noodles, as well as other carbohydrates. Surprisingly, they do have candy bars along the way in these little towns, but essentially only two kinds, snickers and mars bars and they cost two dollars apiece. Due to the high altitude, we have to keep drinking water nonstop. We must do everything we can to avoid dehydration. I have had no alcohol since leaving Kathmandu.
We are basically disconnected entirely from the outside world most of the time. Currently, there has been no Wi-Fi for the last couple days and there will not be for another two more days, so we truly know nothing that is happening elsewhere, nor can we contact anyone. In a couple days, we should be at EBC where I understand we should have better connections. Trying to charge all of my electronics is an issue since electricity is very limited in the teahouses on the trek here; not a single room that I have been in has had any electrical outlets whatsoever.
Talk soon (hopefully),
If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. – Fred Devito