October 13th 2013:
So this is it! Today’s journey is Dublin to Dubai and finally Kathmandu! After much deliberation and thinking between Kilimanjaro
, Mont Blanc
, Inca Trail
, or the Tour of the Matterhorn (not climbing it), I finally settled on Everest Base Camp
for October. And given its proximity and popularity in general I have added on Island Peak
(IP) to the trip as an option. However, I will decide on doing this part this only after I have got Everest Base Camp (EBC) finished first.
This is after all my first time ever going to altitude, first time doing back to back day by day trekking, and if IP is decided then first time using crampons and ice axe. A lot of “first time” moments being thrown in here so.
For little background on my own hiking experiences, I mainly have spent most of time in the Wicklow mountains
in Ireland. Places such as Glendalough
, Djouce, and Lugnaquilla
. Also did Ben Nevis in the UK but weather prevented us from taking the more challenging CMD Arete route so went the popular pony track way up instead. My last big one was Ireland’s highest point, Carrauntoohill
. An amazing hike!! Passing over the Beenkeragh Ridge. Also did some jumaring and abseiling courses tailored towards Island Peak. I will post up the next section of my report in a few days time on how things are going when I have got to Kathmandu but more importantly…when I have got through the hair raising Lukla flight!!
October 16th 2013: Darragh and Team got on the flight to Lukla but were turned around due to Thick cloud cover and poor visibility. So close yet so far. They are getting up very early tomorrow to try again.
October 17th 2013: So we made it out on a flight with only a day lost. I must say the Lukla flight is in itself an experience. Very scary stuff. After I arrived I was told by my guide that Island Peak is currently inaccessible due to snowfall and there were some fatalities also on Mera Peak due to an avalanche and some more missing. Not exactly the story I wanted to hear on arrival myself. Our first day was pretty much up and down in rocky terrain where we ended up in a town called Phakding. We ended up 200 metres below where we landed, 2800 metres. The lodge accomodation was surprisingly better than I expected too.
October 18th 2013: Today was quite tough and tiring. A straight slog up to Namche Bazaar. Went from 2,600m to 3,441m. Have noticed the air beginning to thin out now. Along the way we ran into people on their return who told us that Everest Base Camp is snowed in but there is still hope we will make it if the weather today keeps up (and of course if bad health doesn’t turn me around). We also heard that a few died on the Tibet side of Everest. Which is currently the main topic of conversation in the lodges. Tomorrow is our rest day so will have another update in few days.
October 19th 2013: Had our acclimatisation day today. Up to the Everest View Hotel and down to Khumjung village to see the school Sir Edmund Hillary built. It was very insightful. On the way down it was touch on the knees though as it is very steep back into Namche.
October 20th 2013: Made our way to Tengbouche today. Overall was relatively easy compared with yesterday but there are so many moments we lose our altitude only to gain it back, that is lots of ups and downs with a final push of 600 metres. The lodge was pretty freezing and was the first time on this trip that I slept in my down jacket. Visited a monastery too in the village. Altitude started to kick in now though as appetite is declining. However today marked the first time we could see Everest without it being clouded over. It was awesome.
October 21st 2013: Today it was onto Dingbouche and now Ama Dablam is in full view. In fact it stands right outside my lodge window with a clear view to the summit. Even though I have some minor aches in the legs and a bit of a sore left knee. I keep telling myself this is why I came here….. to see these giants first hand. Tomorrow will be a second acclimatisation day and after that its onto Lobuche. Hopefully health holds out for now. Have never walked so slow in my life!
October 31st 2013: Here is a recent update from Darragh. Sadly I had to pull it back before Gorak Shep. The altitude really played it’s tricks on me. As for Island peak as it would have been my first attempt at something like that and fresh snowfall making it that much harder for crampons. I had pulled the plug on it a few days beforehand. Shame, but at lease now I can say I know how altitude tends to hit me. Darragh is safely back in Kathmandu. His Everest base camp and Island peak journey is over for now.