The Expedition – Day 6

Apr 14, 2009

Day 6
City – Gokyo
Elevation – 4,800m (15,800ft)
Trekking Time – 6 hours

No more fucking around. The 2 easy (if you call 4 hours of hiking easy) days has made us feel a little sick and given us some problems, so maybe it’s time for a challenging day. Completing the final stretch of the Gokyo Valley presented us with such a challenge. We rolled out of bed with minimal sleep once again and began the hike with a climb up to a ridge, not an ideal way to start the day. But once up top, we had a beautiful view of the mountains ahead, lead to by the valley that we are about to enter. A quick descend brought us along side a river, and we were able to catch a breath while walking on more level ground.

We pass through the town of Kangtega, where that Japanese trekker had passed away a few days earlier. Suddenly the sound of a helicopter is heard and Zita claims that its coming to rescue us. For any serious illnesses that can not be treated at the medical posts or if you just require assistance in coming down the mountain, a helicopter can be called in from Kathmandu to bring you back to the capital city for further medical care. And at a price of $5000US per call, you better have your travel insurance. Since we have the necessary coverage, we joked about making the call for our descend from the top.

From here, it was a steady 3 hour climb. It was long, it was difficult, but with the sight of mountain peaks appearing to inch closer towards us, our determination kept us going. I was now coughing relentlessly, passing through more phlegm that I can ever remember. My breathing was anything but regular, and it was certainly a struggle. Taking breaks along the way, we were able to snap photos to try and capture the beauty of the scenery for you all to see.

As the terrain begins to flatten out, we reach the first of 3 lakes in the valley. But due to the dryness of the season, this was barely a lake. The 2nd lake was more lake like, but still not what I was expecting. Continuing to grind our way through, we approach the 3rd lake and it is gorgeous. The glass like glacier water looks colder than the snow like condition I left from in Canada, with part of the lake being ice. Maybe if it was completely frozen over, we could break out a game of ice hockey out of the blue. We stood in awe for a few moments before taking photos and following the trail that wraps around the lake.

At the end of the lake is Gokyo (4800m), our destination for the day. We wasted little time to find our room and lie down on our beds for an hour. Today was hard work but we felt better than we did the previous days. Emerging from our rest, we next took a walk around town, seeing the lake and the peak of Gokyo Ri that we will be reaching tomorrow.

Our guide Kumar then takes up the hill over looking the Glacier of the Cho-la pass. Because we chose to come through the Gokyo Valley, this glacier is what we would have to cross if we were to head to Everest Base Camp. “I don’t think I can make it.” Zita tells me. Kumar tells us that the weather is not looking good for the next day or 2 with foggy conditions and temperatures in the -15 degrees C while crossing this passage way. But the weather in the mountains is constantly changing, so tomorrow might be good, so we will decide on our whether we can go to Everest then.

In the meantime, we head back to the lodge to rest up. With all the free time, I finished the book that I started just a few days ago. Tomorrow is our big climb to the peak of Goyko Ri and we were getting an early start. With our regular starts requiring a 6:00am wake up, an early start meant we were waking up at 4:30am, so needless to say, we crashed out pretty early. We tried taking some diamox tablets that were recommended to us to help us sleep at high altitudes. It helped, but it was not much better.

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