Local Time: 19:30, May 26
Weather: Fine in the morning, then overcast and raining in the afternoon, now 6C
Hi Everyone, It’s Paul here.
Yesterday we packed up most of our gear, gave lots of stuff to our Sherpas, and got three bags ready for porters to carry to Lukla. This morning we finished packing the stuff we would need for the trek out.
We have walked for most of the day and are now here in the White Yak lodge in Pheriche, having just eaten dinner. This lodge has a real toilet, which although I will appreciate it, I think Mary and Fiona will more!
Saying thanks to Danuru
Yesterday I sought out Danuru, the Sherpa who gave me his oxygen just below the South Summit. Quite a crowd quickly assembled, and in front of most of the Sherpa team I acknowledged how super strong I thought he was and thanked him from the bottom of my heart. I told everyone that I know first hand how difficult it is to be on oxygen one minute and then without it a minute later. His unselfish gesture resulting in him being without oxygen, resolved for me what was quickly becoming a very bad situation. I gave him a big tip, which he gratefully accepted.
Our Camp Beds
On the advice of Mike Curtain from Melbourne, we took camp beds to base camp with us. These beds are canvas stretched around a metal frame and steel legs. They even have a spring suspension system. They were extremely comfortable to sleep on, especially as the ice melts underneath your tent, making for a very uneven bed. We were the envy of several people at base camp. We gave these beds to our Sherpas and Mary gave hers to the cook, Pemba. They were extremely excited to receive these!
This morning we packed a small amount of clothes, sleeping bags, rain gear, said our goodbyes and headed off with Mingma and Dasona. Shortly afterwards, they said that they would have to go ahead. This was a subtle way of saying that we weren’t walking fast enough as they had a lot further to go than us. We gave them a good tip, exchanged email addresses & said our final goodbyes. They then strode off at a very fast rate.
After parting with Dasona and Mingma we headed towards Lobuche. The path winds its way over the moraine from the Khumbu Glacier, so it’s very uneven and difficult to walk on. You have to be careful not to sprain an ankle. We reached Gorak Shep in a little under two hours, had a short rest and then headed onto Lobuche for lunch. Lunch was at the Eco Lodge, which is a place I highly recommend to anyone who is in Lobuche. I had pizza which was fantastic. We met some of the Asian Trekking team, including Doug & Julia, who we had got to know in Camp 2.
After Lobuche, the path is much easier to travel on, however you are still on the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. At the foot of the glacier is the memorial chortens to climbers who have lost their lives. We noticed that there is a large new one adorned with prayer flags for Sean Egan who unfortunately lost his life last year attempting to become the oldest Canadian to summit Everest.
This point marks the end of the Khumbu Glacier. There is a steep drop as you descend down the terminal moraine to Dugla. We continued past Dugla down further to the valley floor below, some 600m. This was difficult for all of us, as it’s a steep decent and Fiona and my toes are still sore from all the descending we have done in the past few days. Getting to the flat valley was a relief, and it was a gentle few kilometers to Pheriche.
After Lobuche we started to see green grass, Juniper bushes, moss and small purple flowers (Mary thinks they look like Primulas??). We haven’t seen any living plants for months so this was really great. I can’t communicate how much I miss seeing plants, because I don’t really understand why. I am not a green thumb or avid gardener. I am sure as we head down further we should see all the fields of potatoes.
Thanks for everyone’s kind messages about my efforts. I have read them all and I can tell you they are much appreciated. Thanks for the message from the Premier of Victoria.
Both Fiona and I will give detailed accounts of our trip when we get home, along with what happened on summit night, lots more photos, and tips & suggestions for anyone wanting to climb Everest. If you are thinking of climbing Everest, stay tuned.
Kirk Benson – Yes the Sherpas do use oxygen, and they have state of the art gear. Despite all our training the Sherpas are so much stronger than us, although I would say that as you get higher, the difference is less. Below C3, the Sherpas make you look like an untrained, unfit person. However if you measure their blood oxygen saturation theirs was the same as ours or often worse. This whole topic was the source of many discussions amongst the team and I would like to write more about this at a later point if you are interested, Kirk. Remind me!
Hi June Yes, I remember you. Thanks for your support.
Hi Chris and Bridge, Thanks for everything.
Paul – I think Jim’s story is one of the really great ones to come out from this expedition. He had so much to overcome, and that fact that he got to the top is just fantastic.
QECVI students – not sure about proof of summit. I think that if it was disputed you would then have to show photos but mainly it’s based on other people seeing you there.
Sean, I’ll let Fiona answer the questions when she next does an update.
Karlyne, Fiona says Massage please. Do you deliver!?
Hi Manon, None of us got frostbite and you need about 3600 litres of oxygen to go from C4 to the summit and back. This is 2-5 bottles depending on their size. Our duffel bags are big – almost 1.5 metres long.
Bye for now,
PS Mary thanked a whole lot of people last night, but didn’t include Tim, who had to port the site from one web host to another, when the first one changed their security policies, stopping us from updating it. I had developed the site, and hadn’t thought to leave documentation on how to set it up on a host, so Tim had to figure it all out himself!