Dingboche acclimatisation day
Day seven on our adventure and a very welcomed rest day. I write this as day 7 on the Everest Base camp trek when in fact it is only our fifth day hiking due to being stuck in Kathmandu at the start of the adventure. What should have been our seventh-day hiking is now only our fifth and what should have been our second acclimatization day, it is our first.
At the very start of our Everest journey, we had a little issue with the weather, preventing us from getting to Lukla on time we spent an extra two days in Kathmandu than planned, you can read about it here & here.
So, we have been in the Himalayas for five days, starting in Lukla and making our way to the beautiful Dingboche village. Standing tall above Dingboche is Ama Dablam 6812 metres high and one of the best-looking mountains I have ever seen. We arrived the day before, the day that clouded over and the cold set in. We all stayed awake longer tonight, huddled around the fire swapping stories and drinking tea. We met an Indian man on a two-man mission over the three passes, his hiking stories truly inspirational. Retiring to bed felt good, even though the toilet water had already frozen and the tea house felt like the arctic. The next day being a rest day meant a sweet little lie in for the crew. Waking later and feeling refreshed we had a slow breakfast and prepared for our 600m acclimatization hike.
Even though we had a rest day we still had to hike to prepare our bodies for higher altitude the next day. After a big breakfast, we filled our water bottles, laced up our boots, and stepped out into a bluebird day. The wind chill was real today and Shankar ever so kindly pointed out the huge hill we were about to climb, I will tell you now the view was worth every step of the climb. We hiked slow and together, Kashi upfront as always leading the pack. As we reached the ridgeline, we saw the vast landscape unfolding on the other side. Tiny people hiking in the distance and Yaks spread out across the land, I thought to myself where are those people going? Little did I know that was our route tomorrow. Hiking 600m above Dingboche revealed how small the town was below. We were face to face with Ama Dablam, a mountain that resembles the Matterhorn in shape, majestically towering above us all.
We walked slow and gradually gained altitude. We walked at the back of the group with Shakar who the group had now renamed ‘Big Shanks’. He told us how his father bought land to grow rice, he laughed as he told us his eldest brother moved away to Singapore so now the land will be split three ways. We learnt about his seven-year-old daughter and eleven-year-old boy and how his wife is too expensive, she likes nice things. He said his kids are little bastards as they are spoilt and he laughed, so hard, you know that deep rumbling belly laugh. His conversation distracted us from the 600m, 1.5-hour climb we just tackled. The group sat at the top for 30 minutes, it was epic. The view, incredible, the group even more so. We sat high at 4760m and it will go down as one of the most scenic nature pees’ I will ever take. The wind bitter so all the girls had waterproof pants and wind jackets on, our outfits a sight for sore eyes.
We took a little longer than the others on the descent as I couldn’t stop taking photos. The light dusting of snow from the night before made the landscape so magical. Big Shanks let us walk alone at the back of the group knowing we would eventually retreat for hot tea. We both couldn’t believe the views, I felt very lucky.
Lunch consisted of homemade tomato soup and a side of boiled potatoes and I sat in the corner with Mads and Siobhan talking anything and everything. A rest day, after your acclimatization hike, is exactly that but we decided to wrap up and walk through the village. We stocked up on cheap KitKats and water and then found a café. They let us charge everything for free and we bought so many hot drinks while Tucker smashed everyone at Chess. Our afternoon spent warming around a Yak poop-filled fire made the day slip away. Our group, hands down a bunch of absolute legends, every day was filled with laughter and the card game ‘bullshit’ was the mood lifter we all needed.
The day went fast and before we knew it dinner time rolled in. Garlic soup is excellent for altitude sickness and we had two large bowls, with a side of vegetable noodles and fries. We felt extra indulgent. It started to snow outside, and I had an overwhelmingly good rush over me. It was such a great feeling to be sat around a fire with good people, in a beautiful place surrounded by epic mountains.
After a final goodnight from our crew and a clear weather check for the morning, we settled into our sleeping bags one more time. I felt very blessed and very lucky to be here.