The retreat from Mera, back to Lukla
Khote Travel Blog› entry 8 of 17 › view all entries
October 26th, 2008 – by: cja17
The only way to have a go at the next hill then, was to hack it quickly back to Lukla via the shortcut pass we'd avoided on the way out, and make our way up most of the Everest base camp trail, before branching off underneath the Lhotse Wall. By the time we started walking away from Khare the following morning our Western trip leader was on a helicopter back to Kathmandu as he was unwell, and we were back under the sole leadership of Ang Pemba Sherpa, which suited us all fine.
We backtracked to Tagnak, not stopping this time, but passing straight through and down the side of the valley to Khote again where we learnt that this morning's rescue helicopter had also dropped us off a fresh chicken, a gift from our Kathmandu local agent, Basant, which was a lovely gesture. Not so lovely was what our otherwise talented chef did to it - attacking it with a cleaver to ensure splintered bone was in every piece, then deep frying it until pitch black. It was at least KFC though - Khote Fried Chicken...
From Khote we took a new path up to the final village in the valley, where we had what was effectively our final night's camping below the Zatr La. Like most in the group, I spent these days glumly reflecting on the Mera experience and my own failure to summit. It wasn't a very pleasant 48hrs and at first I considering leaving the group at Lukla, flying back to KTM, and doing something else for the remaining fortnight of my trip.
And even this phase of the trek was filled with beauty - once we climbed out of the trees the views opened out for tens of miles South and East. Our final viewpoint in the Hinku allowed us to look across in the past - our route into the Valley the previous week - a sketchy little path which clung to the side of the mountain - already a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
By the time we tramped back into Lukla my wobble had gone and I was definitely staying with the group - the trick on Island would be to learn from my mistakes - stay hydrated, keep eating and stay in the right frame of mind.
I was still pretty much exhausted from the Mera experience, a feeling which would stay with me for several days, but things were looking up.
We were back to square one at Lukla but, no longer fresh faced newbies (if not grizzled Himalayan veterans!) it was cool to be back. Some nice small world moments as well - the Aussie opposite me on the plane was wandering up the main street, arm in sling from a dislocated collarbone - ice climbing had its risks it seems! He'd left his buddies on the approach to Lobuche and was on his way back to KTM in a surprisingly good mood - they were moving onto Thailand after Nepal and nothing was going to stop him from joining them.
Best thing about Lukla though was sleeping in a bed for the first time in god-knows how long! Things would change from now on - because we would be using the Everest base camp trail from now, a network of lodges allowed us to ditch the tents and removed the need for complete self-sufficiency.
It was goodbye too to Andy and Dave, who had signed up just for Mera and would be flying back to KTM the following day - incredibly sad to see them go, as both had contributed so much to the group dynamic, but they at least were able to hit the beers as compensation.
Back on the trail tomorrow - Island Peak here we come!
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