When we woke up this morning it was so damn cold in our rooms that none of us wanted to get out of bed. All of our clothes were basically frozen which didn’t help.
When I did eventually pull myself out of bed to get ready for the day, I found myself waiting outside the bathroom while an Indian guy was shitting his brains out for about 10 minutes. I kept waiting and waiting and finally he emerges and quickly says to me, “You can’t use this bathroom…there’s no water.”
Which basically meant the toilet was full of crap and there was no water in the bucket to flush the toilet with (no flush toilets around here…you have to manually flush by pouring water into the toilet). Eww eww eww. Thanks dude.
I tried the bathroom downstairs twice and found myself waiting for more Indian dudes crapping to their hearts content. There was a huge group of about 15 of them in the guesthouse that night and not only where they obnoxiously loud, they all apparently ate some bad dal bhat or something.
Finally the guest house owner brought water to the upstairs bathroom and filled the barrel. As soon as he left I ran inside and claimed it before anyone else (namely some gross Indian dude) could contaminate it further. The smell was horrific but unfortunately there were no other bathroom options.
The five of us got going around 7 am (we all wanted to beat out the Indian crew on the trail) and it was pretty darn cold outside. We were all bundled up tightly – there was even frost covering parts of the ground (which Jenny was very excited about). We had beautiful views of Ama Dablam the whole day and had Everest and Lhotse in our sight for a good portion of the trail.
Ama Dablam on the left
Everest on the left, Lhotse on the right
Today’s journey took us a bit longer than anticipated for a few reasons. First, it was cold. It definitely slows your hiking down a bit. Second, the altitude. We were climbing higher than we’d been so far on the trek. That means the air was thinner, we had to walk a bit slower, and multiple breaks were necessary.
I also had a bit of a headache that progressively got worse as the day (and the altitude) wore on. Headaches are a common symptom of altitude sickness but it’s one that pretty much everyone gets. As long as the headache doesn’t get worse you’re ok.
Our plan for the day was to head to a town called Pheriche. It was a bit lower in altitude than the slightly farther away Dingboche (by about 200m) and would keep us at a daily altitude gain of under 500m (generally the maximum distance you should gain in a day to avoid altitude sickness).
There was supposed to be a point in the road where the path split – one went to Pherice and one to Dingboche. We never saw the split and there was never any sign so we found ourselves on the road to Dingboche. If we continued on to Dingboche it would put us a bit over a 500m increase in altitude for the day. We weighed our options – backtrack and try to find the path to Pheriche (if we could) or continue on the path to Dingboche slowly and stay a bit higher than recommended.
We decided to go on to Dingboche and then spend an acclimatization day there to compensate for the extra altitude.
When we finally arrived in Dingboche about an hour later we were thoroughly surprised by the size of the place. There were plenty of guesthouses so we once again left our bags with Haim and searched for a cheap place to stay.
We ended up at a small little joint – Imza Valley Lodge (at elevation 4358 m or 14,298 feet) – run by a very nice woman who turned out to be a wonderful cook (we’d had our share of shady food over the past week and a half – and it was all the exact same food at every place – so it was nice to have a delicious meal for once).
She also had an adorable little girl who would constantly crack the door from the kitchen to the dining area to spy on us and would laugh and shut the door when she noticed she’d been caught.
It turned out to just be the five of us in the guesthouse that night. We all sat in chairs around the furnace filled with yak dung to keep warm and played with the kids while awaiting dinner. I had an artery clogging enormous plate of french fries topped with 2 fried eggs and it was delicious.
Spoilers for next time: another ‘rest day’ and the most beautiful acclimatization hike EVER
For all my Everest Base Camp trek posts visit here!