Day 12: A Goodbye; Dingboche to Lobuche
I was surprised to find there was no pain this morning and my face was back to normal. Hurrah!!!Overnight, Andy had slept downstairs in the dining room being unable to walk up the rickety stairs to the bedrooms. He couldn’t keep walking with the group so guides had arranged for a helicopter to evacuate him back to Kathmandu. We all went down to wave him off from the heli-pad. We waited with him for about an hour but we finally got word that the clouds were too low in the valleys below so there would be a delay until it lifted and the helicopter could fly. So we were told to keep moving. We said our goodbyes to Andy who handed over the video cameras to some of the other guys in the group and then pressed on up to Lobuche.
The morning was beautiful and everyone stripped down to shorts and t-shirts. The scenery was picturesque: blue skies, sun on the valleys, grassy hills, snow capped mountains in the distance - good times! Even though the going was fairly steady and not too steep today everyone started to feel the effects of altitude. Alex (our token Canadian girl) threw up twice on the way up to lunch (no more eggs!) and I felt pretty groggy too!We stopped for lunch at a place called Dzugla, which is located at the bottom of the Khumbu Glacier. We had to cross a pretty big river over a pretty sketchy bridge before getting to the tea houses but the water was quite low, so not too bad. At lunch, we were blessed with a clean squat hole which became the topic of conversation for quite some time. The walk after lunch was difficult. I had an awful headache, could barely see (it hurt to open my eyes properly) and with every step upwards it felt like running a marathon. Dave took pity on me and stayed at the back, guiding me up to the top. Once we finally reached the top it was flat which was much easier to walk. We passed a number of memorials for climbers who’d died on Everest and the other mountains in the region. It was bleak and reminded me a little of the elephant graveyard in the Lion King!! A huge relief!
We finally got to the Lobuche teahouse around 5 in the afternoon and I completely crashed out (sleeping off my headache before I could do anything else - even get changed! ) The tea house was really nice though. There was a Western toilet (although it didn’t flush), lights that worked and a comfortable bed. The food was great, but a word to the wise: don’t order the sausages!That night I slept awfully, I woke up and couldn’t breathe properly. I had a slight panic attack and didn”t know what to do. I was so short of breath I was scared. Dave made me sit with him and follow his breathing patterns. Eventually this worked. I was quite relieved at breakfast the next day though because out a number of the others had had similar problems during the night.