Everest Base Camp - Day 9 Part 1 (Climbing Kala Pattar)

Gorak Shep Travel Blog

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Everest as the sun peaks over the horizon.

The alarm sounded at 5:15 AM, but it did not wake me up.  I had been awake most of the night tossing and turning restlessly, after only a few short hours of sleep from the sheer exhaustion that accompanied yesterday's nearly 10 hours of trekking.  When I woke up around midnight, I never really got back to a solid sleep after that.  Worse was that I was starting to set in with the Khumbu cough from the dry, dusty air I have been inhaling up here around Everest.  Snuck out of the room quietly so as not to wake my roommate, Al, who was not going to make the climb to Kala Pattar.

In fact only myself, Rachel P, Chris, Mike, Dom, and David were heading across the dry lakebed of Gorek Shep with Prem, Pashan, and Naran at 5:40 AM.

Ama Dablam and Kantega from Kala Pattar with Khumbu Glacier viewed below.
  The climb was steep immediately as we attacked the mountainside of Kala Pattar.  It was quite cold - I could feel some ice sloshing around in my water bottle - and the thin air made it feel even colder.  David ultimately had some problems with the cold and decided to descend.   The rest of us continued upwards and Everest finally graced us with its presence coming out from behind Nuptse.   And then the sun cleared the mountains and besides the incredible views as it rose over Everest favored us with some immediate warmth.

But still we climbed (and rested).  Mike was nearly exhausted and probably should have descended but stubbornly insisted on going forward.  As we neared the top, it became a rocky scramble the last 50m or so of vertical ascent to the top at nearly 5600m (18372 ft), nearly 200m higher than Thorung La on the Annapurna Circuit.

Gorek Shep in the distance
  The views from the top were superb.  A wide swath of Everest was visible in the early morning light.  An entire panorama of the mountains we had seen throughout the week (Ama Dablam, Kantega, Thamserku, Tabuche, Cholatse, Pumori) surrounded us up and down the valley.  We could also see up and over Lho La (Pass) into Tibet (China) only a few short kilometers away.  After being awed by the views and taking the requisite photos it was time to descend.  What had taken almost 2 hours going up took less than 40 minutes going down, a story that would prove achingly similar over the next three days.

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Everest as the sun peaks over the …
Everest as the sun peaks over the…
Ama Dablam and Kantega from Kala P…
Ama Dablam and Kantega from Kala …
Gorek Shep in the distance
Gorek Shep in the distance
Everest view while climbing Kala P…
Everest view while climbing Kala …
Everest as the sun peaks over the …
Everest as the sun peaks over the…
Everest as the sun peaks over the …
Everest as the sun peaks over the…
Ama Dablam in the distance from Ka…
Ama Dablam in the distance from K…
Ama Dablam, Kantega, and Thamserku…
Ama Dablam, Kantega, and Thamserk…
At the tip top of Kala Pattar - 56…
At the tip top of Kala Pattar - 5…
With Rachel P and Chris at the tip…
With Rachel P and Chris at the ti…
Changri Mountain and Changri Shar …
Changri Mountain and Changri Shar…
Himalayan Panorama from Kala Pattar
Himalayan Panorama from Kala Pattar
Himalayan Panorama from Kala Pattar
Himalayan Panorama from Kala Pattar
View from Kala Pattar
View from Kala Pattar
Everest view from Kala Pattar
Everest view from Kala Pattar
Laying out some Buddhist prayer fl…
Laying out some Buddhist prayer f…
My photo with Everest at Kala Patt…
My photo with Everest at Kala Pat…
Descending Kala Pattar back to Gor…
Descending Kala Pattar back to Go…
Looking back to the top of Kala Pa…
Looking back to the top of Kala P…
One more shot of Everest before le…
One more shot of Everest before l…
Gorek Shep zoomed in from Kala Pat…
Gorek Shep zoomed in from Kala Pa…
Yep, that angle is about right.
Yep, that angle is about right.
Gorak Shep
photo by: Biedjee