Monday 13th April 2009
I'm currently sitting on the steps of the Tengboche monastery after seeking some time away from the group I've been left with. (Carol, Daljit, the Sirdar and cook team). It's around 3pm here (can't remember if my watch is 10 minutes fast or slow!) and we've had lunch and the others are having a nap. Peter went to Ama Dablam Base Camp with the Doc and Mingma and so he'll be back in a few hours
The totally devastating news is that I never made it to Everest Base Camp. I am totally gutted and there's been lots of tears. Saran took Kate, Ruth, Andy and Emma up to Gorak Shep yesterday morning and they should be making their way back down by now. Hope they made it ok. We don't even know if they'll make base camp. I am really gutted, words cannot describe it...
We lost 3 days at the start of the trek so that's why it's all gone Pete Tong! Then I went and got this stupid Khumbu Cough. I'm aching all over from coughing and cannot get enough sleep. Had a rough night last night with a high temperature but was allowed to sleep in the cosy Gumba Lodge at Upper Pangboche. The lodge owner was a very funny wee guy - but he snored all night! Mingma was laughing.
My view at the moment is a bit hazy. The clouds have come in low as in normal for this time in the afternoon. But behind me is the peaceful monastery, to my left is the view up the valley to Pangboche and above that on a clear day (but not just now) would be Nupste, Lhotse and Mt Everest with the magnificent Ama Dablam to the left of the vista.
In front of me in the distance is our campsite for the night (above). In front of a wee bothy type building where the cook and kitchen team are busy playing games and most likely preparing our dinner. The Tashi Delek Lodge and Restaurant is right in front of me as well as the Himalayan View Lodge.
Not many people are around, probably because the weather is closing in and quite frankly I'm freezin now!!! It's been a strange day. I can now almost touch the clouds they're coming in that quickly. Here comes a yak train, the bells around their necks ringing in a rhythmical fashion that is very soothing. It is interspersed with their owners huck-tooing and spitting out the dustiness from their throats. Of the very few people milling around is a guy wearing a red down jacket, shades and floppy mess of hair under his skip hat. He seems like he's looking for someone or something - aren't we all?
The reason for me not going to Gorak Shep is i developed this stupid cough in the dirty polluted Kathmandu air and as we've gone further up to the altitude it's unfortunately gotten worse to the point of losing my voice, wracking my ribs and having a high temperature on my way from Deboche to Dingboche (on Saturday 11th April). The route to Dingboche was very dusty. When we reached there at around 4pm it was pretty cold and the weather had come in. But you could see that back end of Ama Dablam peaking through. We went for an acclimatization walk up another 105meters or so to a ridge. That was very tough, i had to stop every now and again to take a deep breath, have a cough and perhaps even a wee spit!
After the walk we settled into the lodge for dinner and then came 'the talk'... about the next days plans - when the group would split!! We were going round and round in circles and things were getting a bit fraught. I was listening to everyones views. My view was that I wanted to go to Gorak Shep cos at least it would be closer to base camp. I'd planned this for a year! My dream wasn't going to be shattered by outside influences or other people! I would pay towards the cost of a helicopter to get to Lukla and worry about the cost later! I WANT TO GO! Of course these were the things that were going round and round in my head but they just didn't seem to come out of my mouth. Story of me really. I have conversations like this all the time in my head - like when someone asks you to do something or go somewhere and your heads saying 'no, no, no' but your mouth says 'aye ok then!' Get an effing grip Ange.... Anyway these thoughts were interrupted by my constant coughing and the conversation turned to the time it would take to get there and then back down to Lukla. The plan was to go to Gorak Shep, maybe to Base Camp (a big maybe), then head back down from there to Namche Bazaar. All in the space of 2 days. Yikes!!
And so it was decided that me, Kate, Ruth, Andy and Emma would set off for Gorak Shep in the morning with Saran. Peter, Daljit and Carol would head back down to Ama Dablam base camp and then onto Namche Bazaar with Doc. 'The talk' eventually ended but not without a few tears and a lot of tension. I headed to the loo and then to the sanctuary of the tent...