#43 Day 18: Lobuche – Gorak Shep, Nepal

Thursday 13 April 2017

Lack of sleep is par for the course at this altitude however the situation was compounded by a group of Australians noisily getting up at 5am and waking up what felt like the whole town! They had also stayed up chatting and laughing the previous evening. It had crossed my mind to say something to them but I didn’t want to get out of bed, and it wasn’t bothering me enough as Amanda and I never went to sleep really early. But it obviously bothered others as out of the blue, one of our group opened her door and shouted at them really loudly to “****ing shut up”. If you had been asleep at that point her shout would have definitely woken you up! I couldn’t quite recognise the voice so that morning I made it my mission to find out who it was; it turned out to be one of the more mild-mannered people in our group. Apparently she, and then someone else, had politely asked them to be quiet earlier on but they had continued so she had got really fed up and lost it at them. It just goes to show what altitude, basic living conditions (no western toilets at this height, and one wash basin in the corridor where we all communally brushed our teeth) and next to no sleep can do!

The walk to Gorak Shep wasn’t too long or that difficult really, but mentally I found it the toughest day (so far). My nose was constantly running, by now it was chilly – although the weather continued to be clear and sunny – and I was wearing two layers, plus buff, hat and gloves so it was a pain to wipe my nose. The terrain was basically dust, small rocks and larger boulders and lots of relatively small ups and downs as we made our way along the side of the mountain. I found it a bit soul destroying as every time we ascended a rocky hill thinking we were almost there, the path went down, round a bit of the mountain and then ascended again. I’m not sure how long the up and down went on for, I felt like I was in a never ending dream (or possibly a nightmare, haha), but finally we rounded a bend and saw Base Camp! 

I didn’t realise we would see it today; It looked so close, but of course in reality it was quite far away. I can’t describe how it felt to see it, part of me couldn’t believe that I’d made it this far and was excited and the other part was frustrated that we had to wait another day to actually get there because at this height lots of things can happen that might prevent us going further.

A bit later we made it to the Lodge in Gorak Shep and settled down for the night. This was the most basic place we’ve stayed in so far but I didn’t really mind – or perhaps care at this point! – I just wanted to make it through the night and get on my way in the morning. Dinner was the usual carbs. I’ve actually been eating quite well on the trek, a lot better than I thought I would, and as I wasn’t that hungry I just ate some potatoes and didn’t beat myself up about it as I knew I’d eat some eggs or porridge for breakfast the next morning. I did however buy myself an orange Fanta as a reward for getting this far, and it was nice. It cost around £3-£4, I can’t remember exactly, but it was worth it!

N.B. point to note about the toilet. As it’s so cold the water freezes in the evening, and that evening it started to snow. The light in the room was very dim so every time you went to the toilet you were risking life and limb. This is because you have use a jug to scoop water from a barrel (which also freezes overnight, to a depth of about a centimetre) and throw it down the squat to make it clean for the next person. Invariably some water gets spilt around the squat making the whole area sheet ice and very treacherous as you can’t see what is concrete and what is ice … let’s hope I avoid any unnecessary injuries in the night …

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