Trek Day 9
Ascending Gokyo Ri (5360m)
Sunday 19th November 2006
“Jum Jum!” shouted Ngima.
I looked at my watch, it was 4.15am, the sherpas brought no tea
or hot water this morning. We
had slept in most of our clothes so we simply wiped our faces with wet wipes,
pulled on our boots and went down for breakfast of porridge and black
tea. It was bitterly cold in the dining room and everyone was
quiet, busy with their own thoughts about the climb to come. One of our party decided not to do the climb, he had found
the going very hard for the last couple of days and was now also suffering
from a stomach upset. Sue
was determined to go but was obviously still unwell. Carole, Clive and I were feeling strong and ready for
the day ahead.
We switched on head torches and left the lodge, walking along the lake shore and crossing a line of stepping stones before arriving at the base of Gokyo-Ri. The path zig-zagged steeply ahead into blackness. I found it a much harder climb than Thorung-La on the Annapurna Circuit where steep bits alternate with level walking. This was a relentless climb. We slowly zig-zagged our way up, Carole, Ngima and I at the front. At the rear was Lakpa and one of the yak men walking with Sue, each holding an arm; she looked poorly and I wondered if she would make it to the top.
We paused every 100 feet or so of ascent to rest and catch our breath. As we climbed a pink glow lit up the mountain tops and looking back we found we could make out the lakes and Gokyo village in the dawn light. We switched off our head torches and pushed on and after a little more than two hours we reached the top of Gokyo-Ri. We had made it. A group hug followed and as each trekker ‘summitted’ he was cheered. Sue arrived exhausted but she had made it through sheer determination. Lakpa produced a bag of Mars Bars and passed them round.
We took photographs of the peaks, Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu and of course the amazing Ngozumpo Glacier, and then photographs of each other posing in front of the said peaks. It is hard to describe the view from Gokyo-Ri; it made any difficulties we had encountered seem trivial. We were so lucky to have both good weather and this view against a background of pure blue sky but after about an hour or so the cold started to bite and we decided to go down. As we set off another small group of trekkers arrived; what a great day, we had even had the summit views to ourselves!
|Dawn from Gokyo-Ri||Carole climbing Gokyo-ri||
Day breaks on the peaks
Glacier behind Gokyo
|The descent was very much faster than the ascent and soon
we were crossing the stepping stones again and back in the Namaste Lodge
for a pot of black tea in the famous ‘sun room’.
We were all ready for lunch but as soon as it was eaten we were
on the trail again, all the way back to Machermo.
Today was a long day and it was quite a walk just from Gokyo to
Machermo with no stop for tea. It
must have seemed like an endless day to Sue and one or two of the others
who were really sick. We
were very tired when we got back to our lodge, but not so tired that I
would forget to ask for blankets. A
good dinner and we were all in bed by 9pm.
Carole on top!