From Gorakshep at 5140m to Kalapattar peak at 5500m, and down to Pheriche
I wake up, as usual, way before the others have stirred from the comforting cocoons of their sleeping bags. I am very demotivated today; its a feeling that I am not accustomed to, and I wonder why. Perhaps its the feeling of having accomplished what I came to do, but instead of a heady elation, I felt tired and worn out and not wanting to climb yet another steep hill.
Its funny how your mind does all the work for you when you think your muscles can’t take it anymore. And when it decides its had enough, then your muscles will not move try as you might.
Putting these strange feelings aside ( but not before voicing them to Cheekala, who later writes in his blog that it was partially due to this that he did not get to the top of Kalapattar), I start off. The walking stick comes very handy as I suddenly seem to need all the energy I can muster.
This time it is only Sudhir keeping me company throughout the climb. We see the others drop back, wait for Cheekala and Aditya, and when they are not to be seen, continue on. Om Bahadur Ji is at the lead. We climb and climb for close to 2.5 hours, and as we climb we see more and more of Everest. Its around 8 in the morning, and by 10:30 we are at the summit of Kalapattar. which, for some, is the final destination of the Everest Base Camp trek.
The summit is a huge rock, which we clamber over. We are joined by other trekkers. I spend some time taking in the closeness of Everest and Lhotse, and the Pumo Ri mountain that looms behind us at 6600m.This is it – we have reached the highest point that we would reach in this trek, and that most of us have reached in our lives. Its a heady feeling. I absorb it as much as I can, store it in my bloodstream alongwith the extra RBC’s.
We walk down in an even more despondent mood. Sudhir, the guy who hardly ever complains, is finally complaining of something or the other.
Back at the hotel, we have lunch, and then starts a very long walk back to Pheriche, retracing our steps from Gorakshep to Lobuche, back to Thokla and down to the village of Pheriche. The last hour of the trek is special. After a long walk down to Thukla where we had a quick cup of hot chocolate to revive ourselves, we were prepared for two more hours of drudgery when we suddenly came upon this beautiful sight. We were walking down the mountain and looking down into a river valley.
With clouds hanging low over the river, little shrubs and bushes with birds chirping, it took our breath away. It was a sight that I won’t forget for a while.
At twilight we hurried through the last few kms to reach our lodge at Pheriche, crossing yak herder settlements on the way.
Once there, we found Cheekala and Javed Bhai who had started ahead of us – Javed Bhai was sitting like a worried father at the entrance of the hotel, waiting for everybody else to show up. Padmaja, Ali Bhai and Sachin walked in the dark for the last hour.
Ali Bhai was practically carried back to the hotel by Om Bahadur Ji – he was in very bad shape, having vomitted many times in the day. He was severely dehydrated, and I was extremely worried for him, our differences nothwithstanding. I woke up many times at night and thought of checking on him, then went back to bed since I wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate. It was the first time I was having a disturbed sleep in the entire trek.