Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stuck in the snow in Dingboche

We're stuck in Dingboche for a third night (one more than planned) due to a huge snow storm that hit the area last night.  It's still snowing and there's quite a huge amount on the ground right now - too dangerous to trek to Luboche today.  So we have a bonus rest day, which is good since I'm fighting a terrible head cold right now.
The temps are hovering around 0 deg celsius at night and not much higher during the day.  Time to break out the down pants and coats and waterproof everything else.  The scenery is muted shades of white for now, which has it's own mysteries.
Tent camping in the snow is rather fun, though.  We are staying at a tea house, which gives us access to a room that has a yak dung fired stove.  The photography workshop is ongoing, and I'm learning a lot about taking good digital photos. 
Yesterday we had an acclimatization hike up the mountain to two stupas.  We gained about 300 m of elevation, which put us higher than any spot in the continental USA.  At this altitude and everything for the next week or so, we have to take it slow.  Even with acclimatization, you feel the altitude in every motion.  Simple things like moving your duffle bag in the tent might make you breathe hard.
Diarrhea has gone through the group like wildfire.  I think just about everyone is now on Cipro.  Ditto for Diamox - the wonder drug for high altitude.
I feel really good about the accomplishments of reaching each destination.  One step at a time, we're getting closer and closer to Everest Base Camp and to climbing Khala Patar.  I've learned how to pace myself and to conserve energy on the climbs.  I feel good despite the head cold.  I'm ready for the challenge.
One note about being in this remote location.  The ambient sounds are so very different than what I'm used to.  Instead of cars and planes and the usual noise pollution, one hears the sound of yak bells, chickens, roosters, crows, people rousing for their morning routines and the like.  We've established our own routine with wake-up tea, packing, wash-up, breakfast, and getting on the trail.  It's strange to have a day with nothing to do except watch the snow fall and to try to stay warm.
We're about three days out from Everest Base Camp.  I probably won't have internet access again until then.

1 comment:

Kipkimo said...

Wow, I just looked at some pictures of Khala Patar on the internet and can assure you that a walk in Tokyo is much easier. On nice days you can even see Mt. Fuji from here [3,776 m (12,388 ft)].
I did climb Mt. Fuji 10 years ago but, I guess it's an easy walk for you :-)
Take care.