NAMCHE (3370) – SAYANGBOCHE (3880) – NAMCHE
Written by Faizel Mayet
The rhythm continues. Fueled with porridge and Nepali (masala) tea (and maskana biscuit), we head for our day of acclimatization. Acclimatization is the process to allow the body to cope at higher altitude where there is less oxygen. Base Camp has about 50% less oxygen than at sea level. All people – fit or otherwise will suffer some form of altitude sickness. It could include nausea, headaches, loss of appetite, constipation, etc. The strategy, other than pharmaceutical or homeopathic meds and lots of hydration (very imp), is to climb a few hundred meters and then return back to a lower altitude. This allows blood to generate the necessary cells to adapt. Interestingly, ones body can fully adapt by living longer at these heights which is why the Sherpa, Thamel and other mountain people have become phenomenal high altitude guides and porters.
The rhythm continues. Climbing. Step by step. Small steps. We climb. We just climb. From our lodge, it is just one moerse climb. Slowly. Important to keep your heart rate and breathing under control. Rest. Breath. Continue climbing. Take in the view. Climb. Rest. View. Climb. Beautiful rhythm as the snow capped Thamserku and Khonde peaks guard our accent while the beautiful sun shines on our backs.
The rhythm continues as we dig deep to overcome the high demand on our bodies but especially the altitude. Mental strength is a key ingredient to overcome any, and there are many, challenges thrown ones way. Importantly, one also has to understand your body and know when to power through. There are some really determined people which helps when you are feeling low.
As we summitted Sayangboche’ first ridge, tired and spent, lo and behold, we were jolted. There In front of us, with a wispy plume of smoke above stood the peak of Mount Everest. Wow just wow. Majestic. I was gobsmacked. It towered above Nuptse in front and Lotste to the right. Much further to the right is Peak 38. On the left of Everest is Tobouche and Cholache. On the far right and closer to us is another beautiful peak called Ama Dublim with its signature double ridge. I had goose bumps. My hair stood on end. We stopped and continued working our way identifying each peak with our guide Sanjay. We were excited. Tired spent – not on your life. On our immediate right is Thamserku, Khusum Khangaroo and Khangteka, and, on our immediate left Khumbla, the sacred mountain. Stories have been related of monks that attempted to summit and never returned. The peak has since closed, not allowing mountaineers to summit.
I never expected to see this view, given weather reports, but it was such a clear day with nary a cloud. I was enthralled and words cannot describe my emotions nor the breadth and depth of the fantastical landscape. I was in awe. Humbled by such gigantic peaks displaying its power, beauty and vastness. It was like my hand was reaching out and touching each peak in greeting – peace be upon you.
We were welcomed by the crowing sound of the peak’s emissaries – the mountain raven. What jollity. All the months of preparation has come down to this. Every second and every cent spent was worth just this view. If Tolkien was alive, we would have created a creature called peakbard and they would help us defeat the Orks.
A stronger breeze reminded us to continue to the top of Sayangboche where everyone gathered to celebrate, recover and quench our thirst with all the peaks in full view. Just wow.
I took out my binoculars and saw what looked like 2 climbers about to summit Ama Dublim but none of us were convinced as the ‘figures’ did not move for the time we were there.
I wanted to spend more time to soak up the landscape but we needed to return. Enroute, I kept looking back and hoping that Chomulungma aka Sagarmatha aka Mount Sikhdar would not be disappointed for such a short visit. I looked much closer to the other peaks trying to study its ridges, contours, where the ice stopped and waterfalls continue, it’s nooks and crannies. I tried to find the best route to climb asking others what they thought.
Clouds starting coming in blurring the peaks and the temperature started to drop. Our signal to push on. Descents down peaks is usually more dangerous so we were extra careful. Decents are in many cases tougher as your knees and joints take a huge pounding. But, they are quicker and within a short time we reached the lodge ready for a well deserved lunch.
Today we climbed 434m, hiked 5,68km in 4 hrs n 21 mins. Time to explore the last proper village before we move on to higher ground.
Ref: Everest + name (zakat/lillah)
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