Trekking day 9, 16th of October.
We got up at 4:00 to summit Kala Patthar (5643m), close to the lodge in Gorak Shep (5164m). A steep ascent in the very cold morning (~-10degC) where we brought head lamps to better see the path. This was the first time I made use of the down jacket I bought in Kathmandu – quite happy that I had it for today. Also, long legs base layer and warm gloves. I had also brought exotherm pads for the hands and feet, which worked out quite good – and I could also help my roommate who had lost one of his warm gloves (doctors…).
The high altitude, cold, and previous exhausting days, called for short ascents and many breaks. I’m also carrying quite a lot in my backpack along with water. At these temperatures the tube to the Camel bag freezes, so it would have been practical with some insulation. I also carry a backup water bottle, which also freezes but with the larger hole I can still drink.
The purpose by trekking Kala Patthar is to see the sunrise over Mount Everest and the nearby mountains. After two hours we reach the summit, where several others are already there waiting for the sun to come up. From this height one can clearly see that Everest is the largest among the mountains – something which is difficult from lower altitudes. Incredible to think that the Everst summit is another 3000+ meters above us.
It’s quite cold, so several of the ~8 persons from our group who made it to the summit starts to decent. I wait to get more panorama photos of the light touching nearby mountains, but I do not stay long enough to see the sun above Everest. It’s also an occasion for unfolding the Dannebrog flag I have brought with me, and I get a photo together with Mads and Kasper with Everest in the background.
We decent to Gorak Shep for breakfast, before we start another long day’s trek along the same route as we came. We sleep in Pheriche (4371m) – more than 1000m below our highest peak of today. We pass through a valley in our return trip to Pheriche, with quite strong winds probably getting too cold. Several of us have been coughing due to the dry and cold air, and this is not making it better. Today’s trek ends after around 20km and 8-9 hours.