Day 6 The walking begins  Lukla-Karkarkading (4200m)

13/01/13

I had I rather large bowl of porridge for breakfast, almost too much to eat (which is saying something) and the standard cup of black tea. We headed off to the Lukla environment agency/ tourist office so we could register our trek, it opened a 09.00 but this being Nepal it ended up with Aashman finding someone who eventually came and opened at 10.30. But they weren’t qualified to sign our form so we had to wait another hour for the boss to arrive; 5 hours after we got up we finally left Lukla with a massive day of trekking ahead of us.

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My heavy pack before we set off

After 300m of ascent out of the village, at 3000m, we had our first stop at a deserted settlement, we climbed another 200m and had another break at another ghost town, at the third settlement there was still no sign of human presence. By this point we were worried that there would be nobody further on either but luckily a little higher up the trail we bumped into 4 Nepalis on their way down who told us that the owners of the next lodge had gone to visit the settlement over the col and might be back this evening. It was a relief to hear as we past our days scheduled stop a while ago. We arrive at the hut and could see 5 figures coming down the hill, we waited and thankfully  it was the owners of the lodge but they were going down the hill to Lukla for the winter but they had pity on us and left their oldest son in charge. We were very grateful and after 3 cups of tea were feeling more refreshed but I still had a mild headache from the altitude. At over 2500m the recommended altitude gain per day is to sleep at no more than 300m higher than the previous night. We had climbed 1500m in desperation to find somewhere with food and shelter.

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A terrible photo of me at the third empty tea house

Tomorrow we are doing 2 days in one because nobody is at the lodge at the high pass (4500m) but in the next valley we should find another open tea house and we will have a rest day to look forward to when we eventually get there which will be much needed after this very rapid ascent.

On another note it has been much warmer than expected, I was sweating in just my baselayer. It felt about 20°C around midday but the temperature drops rapidly and is nearer -5°C in the afternoon and it gets much colder in the night (well below freezing). We came across our first trail bridge today (2 trees laid down with logs bridging them) and ended up crossing another 4 and also saw some pretty ace ice formations, we followed one up the valley which must have been about 1Km long. During this steep stretch I took many, many stops, counting paces and singing songs to keep myself going. Not the most enjoyable days when you’re carrying 20kg+ of mountaineering equipment but amazing scenery so it makes up for it.

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Assman crossing one of the trail bridges
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