20,000 leagues under the sky, 2004- travel blog

Khumbu Glacier, 5am.

Misty Pumori.

Everest with halo.

Everest with Chigatse.

Nuptse joins in.

Pumori pops out.

And turns the air blue.

then is joined by friends.

Nuptse alone.

Nupse with yaks.

Khumbu Valley.


Kala Pattar and Gorak Shep.

The evening in Gorak Shep was very strange with so many people around after days of solo trekking. A conversation started about what time people were going to climb Kala Pattar the next morning hoping to get good views. The concensus seemed to be between 4 and 5am although a German and Belgian who had been there a few days already said 3:30am. I told them they were all morons and that I'd get up between five and six as usual.

At 3:30 I was wide awake when I heard the early starters get ready so I decided to get up an join them. We started walking at 3:40 and with a half moon and perfectly clear skies it was easy to find the trail without torches. The mountain views were fantasic as we walked up the ridge behind Gorak Shep, unfortunately it was far too dark to take photographs. I used the GPS to tell how far we were from the top of Kala Patter as I knew it's height is 5550m, after just over an hour and at a height of 5600m I told Tim, the Belgian that he had missed Kala Patter. As it got lighter we could see the peak of Kala Patter further down the valley but apparenty everyone goes to the point we went to, a ridge-top at 5644m, my highest point and highest ever cigarette.

With the increasing light came increasing cloud cover and by the time there was enough light to take photographs there was nothing to photograph except for the valley floors, a few glaciers and a heavy line of cloud.

Being optimists we decided to hang around for a while to see what developed when the sun actually rose. At first we got a few misty glimpses of Pumori behind us, the ridge we were on on Kala Pattar are actualy parts of Pumori. I was absolutely freezing so decided to traverse the ridge and drop down to the peak of K.P. at 100m lower it should have been 0.65 degrees warmer! Soon after I got there the sun came up behind the Everest Massif and the clouds started to thin and in places evaporate. I had about an hour of varying great views then as the sun rose between Everest and Chigatse with it's much needed heat the cloud cover came back and I decided to call it a day and walk back down to Gorak. At this point Emma and Sera were just walking up and I felt sorry for them having missed such good views.

Back in Gorak I had breakfast and my usual bucket of milk tea then walked outside to find that the clouds had again evaporated leaving the whole valley clear. I toyed with staying for the rest of the day to take in the sights but decided that if the whole area was sunny then I could see some of the views I'd missed on the way up if I left then.



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