Day 11: Acclimatisation walk and hurt ankle
I woke up this morning and my face was feeling swollen so I took some ibuprofen. I decided to ignore the pain though because, knowing the benefits, I really wanted to do the acclimatisation walk.Breakfast was at the more student-friendly hour of 9am and we left at 10 for the walk. Only about half of us came as the others were tired and thought they’d be better off resting than walking. We took a slow and steady pace, climbing 320 metres to a place called Chukhung which we were told was the main base camp village for a mountain called “Island Peak” where most mountaineers do their technical climbing training for Mount Everest.
Once we got back to Dingboche we’d found out that Dave and Andy had only made it about half way down on their own before a team of Sherpas arrived to help them. Taking it in turns, one Sherpa would pick up Andy (who, for the record, is a pretty heavy-set bloke) and literally carry him down half a kilometre before switching over. Andy was in a pretty bad way, his ankle had swelled up badly and he was in low spirits.
By the end of the day my face had swelled up even more and I too was feeling a bit down. It hurt quite a lot to smile, eat and talk; but after speaking to the guide, it was apparent that it was nothing to do with altitude - not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing!
At times the scenery felt strangely a lot like climbing in the Yorkshire Dales. There was low mist, grassy fells, dry-stone walls to keep livestock in - all very surreal. The rocks were very slippery and on the way up Andy fell between two rocks, catching his ankle. He fell pretty hard and couldn’t walk on so Dave helped him hobble back down whilst the rest of us carried on to the top. Once we got up there we stopped at a tea house for some snacks and drinks before coming back down.