Everest Base Camp Trek Part 9/11, Day6 - Dingboche acclimatization day

Last night was one of the worst so far I had on this trip. I could not sleep as again I could not stop thinking about “her” and on the top of that my sinuses were blocked, I could not breathe properly and coughed from time to time. The time dragged slowly and whatever I tried, I just stayed awake.

I do think I must have slept a little as I opened y eyes at 6 am. I was really cold in the room, almost the same temperature as outside, well below zero. I put all the layers I had, read a few pages from the book and at 7 am found my way to the common room. For the breakfast I ordered Tibetian bred with jam as I wanted to try something else, my German friends shared a big pot of mint tea with me. All of us were dressed well, it was freezing there and it was funny to see everyone eating with their down jackets, hats, and gloves.

After the breakfast, I removed the unnecessary things from my backpack, checked how much water I had, put some extra layers in, just in case as for the first time in my life I was going to trek above 500m above the sea level. The highest I have been before was in India - where I climbed to just over 4700m on my paraglider. I got really cold that time and bailed out while my friends tried to reach 5000m. So today I wanted to prepare myself for the high altitude and possibly cold weather.

My plan was to hike up to the top of NANGKAR TSHANG (5616m). The weather was just great in the morning - blue sky with a lot of sunshine. I did expect clouds to come later on so I wanted to hit the trail as soon as possible. The good thing was that the path started virtually next to the Snow Lion Lodge where I stayed so it was very easy to get on with it.

My two German friends have joined me for the first 30 minutes, then I left them behind thinking they will catch up. I have not seen them again until I descended back to Dingboche after midday.

About a third way up to Nangkar Tshang I met up with 2 English gentlemen and their Nepalese guide. They were heading to the top as well. After a brief chat, I actually found out that I won’t be able to go to the top of the summit as planned as the trail finished at about 5170m. Feeling a little disappointed I kept pushing on. It would still be the highest altitude I have reached anyway in my life so far.

I have to say I was not prepared for this ascent. Well - my expectations, if I had any, were different. This was one of the steepest if the steepest hike I have ever done. It took me 2.5 hours to reach the top and it was worth it! The views were just spectacular, I took a lot of photographs, including some panoramas. I think I spent there a good part of 20 minutes, having a snack as well before decided to descent down.

At this point, I would like to highlight the value of the Black Diamond trekking poles I bought in Kathmandu. I have never used poles before and now I fully understand how big help they can be. On the way uphill I was able to sue my arms and upper body to pull myself up, giving my legs a lot of support. If it wouldn’t be the altitude, I could possibly ascend quite fast, here I was stopping to catch my breath almost every 20 meters I got higher. My Garmin Fenix 3HR was giving me reading of about 145bpm while going uphill. The sense of satisfaction when I reached the top was just fantastic. Again, I also have to mention that there was a bit of sadness yet again, as I could not share this experience with my sweetheart.

The downhill section was rather brutal. Again, the trekking poles proved to be invaluable. I could feel my hamstrings and tights working hard, but not as hard would I not be using the poles. Based on this experience, I can only recommend the use of trekking poles everyone at any age.

The whole hike including the short break on the top took me exactly 3 hours and 40 minutes. Considering its length - 5.47km, it was very slow going - the average of 1.5km/h. So far I have hiked almost 54km this week. Don’t forget, this will account of ascending from 2840 to today’s 5170m above sea level.

Upon my return to the Snow Lion Lodge where I stayed, I started to feel quite unwell and stuffed myself into the sleeping bag where I remained almost till half four in the afternoon. My sinuses were blocked, got a bit of a headache and because of it, I was even shivering. You don’t want to be sick while trying to climb to the Everest Base Camp!

I ordered myself a big pot of hot Lemon tea and visited a local pharmacy, where I picked a packet of antibiotics - CLAVAM 625. They contain Amoxicillin Trihydrate - 500mg and 125mg of Potassium Clavulanic Acid. I hope, they will help me to reach my destination without too much trouble. Of course, you do not need any prescriptions here, all you need is just good old money.

For dinner I ordered pasta with tomato sauce, to have a break from Dal Bath which I was having almost every day up until now. And it was delicious. Tom, my Ozzie friend even gave me half of his vegetable Mo-Mo which he didn’t finish.

I took the first tablet of Clavam 625 at half six, starting the procedure of getting better.

The rest of the time I spent reading a book and thinking of my sweetheart. I know, I keep repeating myself, but you tell me, how can you not to think of someone you loved with all your heart and soul? As much as I try - I just can’t stop myself. She was a large part of my life, for 2 years we spent almost every day together. After a few days of being panic attack free, I experienced 3 mild ones this afternoon. And yes, Trevor, I’m trying to make up good hats, it’s just very challenging!

I know there are psychologists and psychiatrists to help us with conditions like that, but it makes me question how well they actually understand what is going on in people’s minds unless they have been through it by themselves.

I would have never thought in my life that I will be having suicidal thoughts. never. And now I do. I feel empty. Life feels like it has nothing else to offer me. I knew what I wanted and by losing it my life feel worthless now.