Monday, August 13, 2012

Everest Calling - Lobuche to Gorak Shep

5 AM, 27th April 2011, Wednesday

The needles hurting our skin turned to knives. On the morning we started trekking from Lobuche to Gorak Shep.
When all earth was covered in snow, freshly fallen the previous evening.
No protection helped. Neither woolen gloves. Nor leather gloves. Nor stuffing hands into pockets of down jackets. I hid my hands anyway.
When I looked back, there were mountains with sun kissed tops. Simply looking at them did not give warmth, as goes an old legend. I kept looking back at them anyway.

It hurt. It simply hurt.

The previous day, it had just begun snowing and we were not sure about the next day. If the snow was too deep, we might not be able to proceed. It turned out the next morning however that, we could proceed.

This is where we had come from. A picture morphed beyond recognition, by the white carpet covering the whole landscape.

And this is where we were headed.

We walked in a single file, those of us in the second group. The first had left already.

We passed other hotels in Gorakshep on our way.

This was the picture as I turned behind. Note those faraway snow peaks.

As I turned behind again, that faraway snow peak had acquired a hazy yellow crown.

As the minutes passed slowly, the whole of mountains behind became golden.
But not a ray touched us. We were in the shadows and for the first time in the longest while, I craved sunlight.

Snow on flat land merged with low hanging mist.
The only solace was that the snow was fresh. You could walk on fresh snow without doubt and be sure about your step.

This was Pumori, far ahead of us.

When the curtain of mist parted, huge mountains revealed themselves quite close to our trail and we started speculation; Nuptse? Lhotse?...

When we reached trodden snow, we slipped. We had to try stepping on fresh snow that bordered the trail, place the foot on a stone protruding from the snow covered trail, or slide etc.

The agenda for the day was an aggressive one: to reach Gorak Shep, have breakfast there and head to EBC.

After walking and scrambling some, we saw a spectacular panorama. A series of snow covered peaks bordering what seemed like a snow flecked valley, so close to us, it was tempting to think we could reach them in a few steps.
No, I won’t say the picture was worth the struggle. I would say: for all our struggle and soreness, the final picture, the climax had better be as good as it was. If it was any lesser than that, it would not have been worth it.

Glacier in the valley…perhaps the continuation of the Kumbhu glacier beginning at the base of Mt. Everest.

We reached Gorakshep.

No comments: