Day 184 (1): E.B.C. trek day 10, Watching sunrise from Kala Patthar (5550m)
Gorak Shep Travel Blog› entry 224 of 260 › view all entries
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: John (Scotland), Kirsten (Australia), Matt (Australia) & Helen (UK)
At 4.30 I got out of bed and dressed myself in as many layers of clothing as I could. It was freezing cold, even when wearing longjohns, trousers, waterproof pants, thermal pyjamas, two T-shirts, a longsleeve, two fleeces, a wind proof jacket, two pairs of fleece gloves, mittens, a fleece scarf and a woolly hat.
In pitch black darkness we started the climb to the top of Kala Patthar to watch the sun rise over Everest.
Without wanting to sound too dramatic, this is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Climbing up the steep mountain in these oxygen deprived and cold conditions is incredibly hard. Every three steps I had to stop and catch my breath.
I made it to the top though. In fact, John and I were amongst the first to make it to the top (although we were beaten by our guides, who did a bit of showing off by sprinting the last part to the top). Crawling down on the narrow and windy rocks to take some pictures, the views were amazing, even if Everest was still shrouded in clouds. 360 degrees around us there were massive snowcapped peaks: Lobuche, Changri, Chumbu, Pumo Ri, Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse, Everest, Nuptse, Ama Dablam - all peaks over 6000 metres high.
I had wanted to stay up at Kala Patthar until the sun had reached above the mountain tops. I expected the weather to clear between 7 and 8, as it had done so the previous days. But it was just too freezing cold to stay at the windy mountain top.
Halfway down we caught up with an English/Australian couple we had met the previous day, Matt and Helen. As the clouds seemed to be lifting and the sun had slowly started to warm up the atmosphere, we decided to wait a while for Everest to show itself. Although the views were marginally less than from the top of the mountain, it was still bloody impressive to see the near-perfect pyramid of Everest appear above the ridge of Nuptse.
I know it sounds cliché, but this was the highlight of the trek. Both literally and figuratively.