|October 14, 2006:
Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,170 m) to Kala Pattar (5,600 m)
Cold but gorgeous morning. I reckon about minus 10 degrees Celcius. Had breakfast, toast and
pancakes and then around 8 am we started our hike to Gorak Shep. The first part of the hike was
rather easy and the weather warmed up fast as we were walking in the sun. After an hour or so, we
had to cross the Kangri Nup Glacier and then it became a constant up and down, probably more
ups then downs, on the glacial moraine. I send Bharat ahead again to get a room in Gorak Shep as
the rumor was that Gorak Shep was booked out for the next 2 weeks (which of course was not
true). He got a room without any problems and was waiting for me. I got to Gorak Shep shortly
after 10 am. We had a quick early lunch, fried noodles. After eating, we started our hike up to Kala
Pattar. Still no cloud in the sky. After two and a half hours laboriously scrambling up the hill, we
finally reached the top of Kala Pattar at 5,600 meters.
The hike up Kala Pattar was pretty hard on me, but I got rewarded by the beautiful vistas of Mt.
Everest, Nuptse, Pumori, Shagatse and, of course, downvalley: Ama Dablam, Kangtega, Thamserku
etc. Also great views of the Khumbu Glacier, the Khumbu Icefall and Everest Base Camp. This was
the place I wanted to go for a long time and it did not disappoint. It was much grander than I
expected. Bharat and I stayed up on Kala Pattar for about 2 hours, from about 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm.
It was pretty windy during the entire time, but then, it also became cloudy and cold. So we decided to
head down to Gorak Shep as Mt. Everest started to get obscured by clouds and we did not think
there would be a sunset on Everest.
On our way down we met the Brazilians again who thought they were smart and rested in Gorak
Shep for a while and started late for Kala Pattar in order to be able to see the sunset on Everest. As
it was getting increasingly cloudy, I don't think they were too happy with their group leader's
decision to leaving that late. They could have enjoyed several hours of cloudless sky earlier in the
day on top of Kala Pattar. I didn't see them anymore after that, so I don't know whether there was
a sunset on Everest or not, but it was highly doubtful seeing all those clouds racing in.
It took us about an hour to get back down to Gorak Shep, taking it slow and enjoying the still
magnificent views. On a very sad note: On the climb up, when we were only 200 meters from the top
of Kala Pattar we saw a big avalanche coming down from the Pumori Glacier behind Kala Pattar.
Apparantly this avalanche buried several sherpas who were fixing ropes etc. for a Pumori climbing
expedition. No word yet on whether anybody survived (I wrote this that night. Apparantly there
were no survivors, but I am not sure whether it was the avalanche we saw as somebody said it
happened "in the morning" and we saw the avalanche around 1 pm. Very sad!). I actually found an
account of this tragedy on everestnews.com.
Back in the lodge, it was typical lodge routine: Ordered my food, wrote my journal, read a little,
talked a little and watched the other people. The lodge was completely full as was the dining room.
There was nobody here I had met before. For dinner I had tomato soup and fried rice with egg.
Kept reading until about 8 pm and then went to bed. Horrible night. Very noisy. I had a downstairs
shack right by the wooden stairs and close to one of the toilets, so I could hear people walk
around/above me all night long. Also, there were mice running all over the place and on the ceiling
of my wooden shack. The guy next to me snoring like a bulldozer didn't help much either. And
then, to top it all off, we were at 5,100 meters altitude, but I didn't think the altitude caused me not
to sleep good as I was well acclimatized.
Hike toward Gorak Shep. Pumori (on right), 7,161 meters high (23,494
The beautiful location of Groak Shep.
Kala Pattar on the left in front of
Nuptse (left) 7861 m or 25790 feet
The "Classic" Kala Pattar
View Downvalley from summit of Kala
The famous South Col of
Ama Dablam 6,812