Day 184 (2): E.B.C. trek day 10, Gorak Shep to Pheriche (4200m)
Pheriche Travel Blog› entry 225 of 260 › view all entries
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: John (Scotland), Kirsten (Australia) Dave, Sonja, Annabelle & Olivia (New Zealand)
After breakfast we started the long descent back to Lukla. It had taken me 10 days to walk up, it would only take three to walk down again.
John had gone ahead (he walks faster than me) and for most of the morning I walked together with Kirsten. Sanjeev was nowhere to be seen. I had been a bit annoyed by his sprint up Kala Patthar this morning and it seemed he was still in a hurry, as he took off on the way down and never once waited for me.
Even Kirsten noticed that my guide wasn't as good as others. Neither was hers, in fact. When compared to John's guide, Rabin, or the guide that Kate and Ryan had, both our guides were inattentive and poorly communicating people.
John would describe Sanjeev as a bit of a wide boy, someone seemingly far more interested in going out with his mates and being the popular guy, than doing a proper job.
Kirsten was doing a longer trek than me, and just before Dughla she and her guide veered off right in order to climb the 5330m Cho La pass. I didn't want to think about climbing back up to that altitude again and was glad to be walking downhill.
I found Sanjeev at the Everest memorial near Dughla. I wanted to stop for lunch at Dughla, knowing that Pheriche was only 1.5 hours further down. Sanjeev said we had to press on to Pheriche and have lunch there. This didn't make any sense. I wanted to have lunch at Dughla. First of all because it was lunch time now and secondly because I knew they do great momos at the Yak guest house where we stayed on the way up.
“Then we must stay in Dughla for the night” Sanjeev said. Then it dawned on me. If he brings someone to a guest house to spend the night, he gets freebies, probably free meals, so he only wanted to eat somewhere if we also sleep there.
Sod it, I had enough of him. It doesn't make sense to have a lunch 'break' at the end of a walking day. I wanted to eat at Dughla and then continue on to Pheriche, so that is what we would do. After all, I paid for it, just as I had paid for his food as well. That he wants to earn himself more money by only eating at places where he gets free food should not be my concern.
“Are you angry?” he asked. Damn right I was angry. I told him how I felt about his behaviour today and that was pretty much the last we spoke to each other that day.
I had my momos at Dughla. Sanjeev didn't eat.
At the lunch stop I bumped into the New Zealand family and had lunch with them. After lunch we continued the walk to Pheriche together.
Unfortunately they were staying in a different guest house than I did in Pheriche, but unfortunately I wasn't all alone, as John was staying at the same place as I did (our guides seemed to get along well, so we had arranged that we would stay in the same guest houses from now on).
That said, it was just the two of us in the guest house. Quite strange to be in such a quiet place, after Dughla, Lobuche and Gorak Shep, where guest houses had been packed to the rafters.
Most people visiting Pheriche do so involuntarily. Pheriche is the site of a health post of the Himalaya Rescue Association (HRA). Besides organising helicopter rescues and treating people with AMS in special inflatable cocoon known as the Gamow bag (similar to a hyperbaric chamber used to treat people who got sick after diving), they also do daily informational talks about the dangers of AMS and how to prevent it. We arrived in town too late for this presentation, but I figured that as I was on my way down I wouldn't have been the right audience anyway. Nonetheless it had seemed interesting (anything to break the rut of the day, I guess).
I bumped into Marcus and Vera, the German couple I had met at Dughla. They had ascended to Lobuche the same day as I did, but had suffered so much from AMS that they went back to Dughla the next day. When the symptoms didn't subside they had descended further to Pheriche and visited the health post. They had spent another day in Pheriche acclimatising and were now on their way back up again. I was impressed with their perseverance.
Back in the lodge I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening playing cards with John. He taught me a Scottish game, which we played until it was time to go to bed.