Having hiked so many hours yesterday, and with no pressure of my schedule today, I slept until almost 8am before I leisurely enjoyed breakfast with Pasang and Dawa. My acclimatization went so well that we didn’t need to take those rest days. So I’m heading back to Namche today, one day ahead of schedule. But my legs were definitely tired when I had to make the 400m ascending from Phortse Tenga to Mong La again.
Had to wear a down parka whenever sitting around during the past few days, now the air is getting hotter as we are near Namche. It’s like getting back to summer again. Clearly, there was no precipitation here when we had snow near Gokyo; the air is dry and dusty, especially when wind swirls by.
My dirty socks are at their limit already— they almost can glue my feet to my boots. I kept on telling myself that this as far as I can bear with one pair of dirty socks! I kept on calculating how fast I would want to get ready for a shower once I arrive at Namche.
I took a long shower and did laundry. This was only a week. How am I going to bear the dirtiness when I arrive at Everest Base Camp (EBC)?
I met my other team members. Trip leader is Justin Merle, and he will be the private guide for one of the climbers. Our Sherpa guided group is lead by Greg Vernovage, who will serve as coach for the team while trying to make his own first summit on Everest. Legendary mountaineer Phil Ershler will oversee this season’s climb.
Among the 14 members of the Sherpa guided group, there’s another female climber besides me— Anastasia from Greece. She had reached North Col a few years ago with a Greek team. There are also two other Asian climbers— Davis from Taiwan and Lein from Singapore.
There is also a large group from California! At least one member (Al Hancock) had previously summited Everest, while several other climbers had reached very high up on Everest in previous attempts or have climbed Cho Oyu. A few of them are also on the quest for the 7 summits.
Over the first dinner with the group, we shared a lot of laughs. Atmosphere is different from the previous few days. More hopeful jokes about the climb than the serious advice from Sherpa. Though we are staying at the same lodge and being served by the same kitchen staff, we enjoyed a buffet dinner with three choices of main dishes, including two different veg curries, and one meat curry. Everyone loaded their plates full and many went for second rounds. This is so different from my experience of the past week, when I couldn’t order enough food when following local style. I couldn’t understand— how do those Sherpa get so much energy with just such a tiny portion of potato/carrots/cabbage/rice/lentils for each meal? Asking our IMG guides, they couldn’t understand either!
Group went for a training hike this morning, but I have the perfect excuse to rest. My legs were tired, and this is a needed rest day for me. A perfect day to catch up on all the writings and emails.
Tomorrow we will head out towards EBC via Tengboche.