20.01.10 – 7.40pm (1.55pm UK)

I had managed to eat a couple of rounds of toast & a cup of boiled water for breakfast, but having eaten nothing nothing for 24 hours I knew today was going to be tough. & it was. Really tough. So tough in fact I was all for stopping & turning around to go home. But I didn’t, I kept going, & it felt like it nearly killed me, but it didn’t.

As I mentioned previously in the blog, some of the group are struggling in various ways & each day gets tougher for all. We’re all just focussing on tomorrow I think – the big one, the big cahoona, the icing on the cake: Everest Base Camp! But more on that in a minute…

The actual trek from Dingboche to Lobuche (4960m/16368ft) would, under normal circumstances, have been a very pleasant day’s trekking – & the fit sprightly young things amongst us breezed it – but on the back of varying levels of extreme fatigue & poorliness at various stages it felt a long hard day. Even though the fit ones are making light work of the treks, the conversation levels have dropped significantly, as everyone fights for the same low levels of oxygen – currently at about 50% less than we are used to. At over 16,000ft believe me, it’s very apparent – even putting our sleeping bags away is a real labour.

Along the route we came to ‘The Tombstones’ which is the burial place of many who have lost their lives whilst climbing & decending Everest. Many of the names of those whose pictures we had see at the museum as we left Namche Bazaar were listed there. It was a very sobering sight as these memorial stones stood out against the background of magnificent mountains like teeth.

There are no trees now. We left them behind this morning. The landscape is very barren & there are rocks on rocks on rocks, left from a time long ago when the glaciers above have melted & made giant slashes in the mountainside to make way for their water flow – with it have come the rocks. Now, as the waters have long ago ceased, all that remains is the huge & impressive rocky river beds.

After arriving at Lobuche at about 2.30pm, we were given an after lunch ‘option’ of climbing to a ridge at 5200m to see Everest Base Camp ahead of tomorrow & to see the Khumbu Glacier. It was a long walk & the group were able to see the sunset too – which I’m told was magnificent. Sadly I didn’t go due to ‘conserving energy’ for tomorrow…

Right, tomorrow – a monster day! Up at 5.30am, breakfast 6.15am, leaving 7am & walk for 3 hours to Gorak Shep. Quick rest, then 3 hour trek to Everest Base Camp! Back to Gorak Shep for around 4pm to eat & get ready to collapse! We will stay there overnight. We have been told tomorrow will be the coldest day yet – full thermals & down jackets required at all times!

OK, off to bed now, time’s 8.10pm – I need sleeeeeeeeep! Nite nite.