22.01.10 – 7.10pm (1.29pm UK)

Last night was the coldest night ‘on record’ for us since the trek began. Outside, temperatures dropped to -34c. Thankfully it was warmer inside the lodge, although not that we felt it at -9c. We all kept waking up with headaches & frozen noses (complete with contents) & each went to sleep with a feeling of dread that there would be a horrible nudge from nature at some point during the night…

I haven’t researched, but in our room, nature called once for Rob & twice for me – & yes, it was unbearable. To top it all, I ran out of loo paper & couldn’t find any replacement, then when I had eventually found it I was about to get back in to bed & realised I had the raging munchies! At the point Rob opened an eye to see what on earth was going on, I was huddled at the bottom of my bed munching away on a packet of Digestives I had bought to feed off a couple of days before! He said I looked like a little mouse! Although noisier though, obviously, as I had woken him up!

Nevermind. We were blessed with a lie-in today as it was the first day of our return trek & we had chosen not to take part in the optional trek to Kala Patthar at 4.30am – of course! & the brave soles who had chosen to do it weren’t due back until 9.00am – hence, we got up at 8.00am & prepared our yak bags for the first trek day back.

It was a steady trek all day, over very very loose rocks & uneven rubble which was very very tiring. It’s a miracle no-one turned an ankle or worse. We were also walking headlong into a bitter ice cold wind which was coming straight up the valley towards us – no prisoners. Our pace was good though, & although we’re not dismissing the continued wonder all around us, there’s a definite determination in our step now as we can see the next goal in sight – home.

We dropped 1000m in height today (3300ft) & walked for 5 hours (we had a break & lunch in addition to this time), arriving at our lodge in Pheriche at around 4.30pm. Sadly, Pheriche is right slap bang in the centre of the valley we walked though, so consequently there is a cold draught running down the corridor & the rooms of the lodge. As I type, we’re all huddle in the dining room in just about every piece of thermal clothing we own! The journey to our bedrooms is going to be a hard hard one – goodness only knows what the temperature will drop to tonight…

Anyway, only 6 sleeps to go – 4 in lodges – so it’ll soon pass.

Everyone very upbeat, health levels good overall.