As we climb higher, the nights are much colder. Luckily, the sleeping bags that were provided for us were nice and toasty. Immediately after opening my eyes, I threw open the curtains and gazed out the window for the most picturesque view of Mount Everest surrounded by the tallest peaks in the world. The view stayed clear, but only for about fifteen minutes before the clouds moved in.
Most of our day was spent gaining elevation. We had slept at 12,664′ in Tengboche and would end the day at 14,469′ in Dingboche. The day’s hike was kept at a slow pace and our motto was “steady be steady” which came from our amazing guide that kept an eye on how we were all coping with the altitude. For a huge chunk of the morning, we were behind a long line of yaks that were carrying supplies up into the mountains. At one point, another group of yaks was coming down the trail. Both herds of yak met and neither would make a move to go around and continue on. Instead, the yaks parked it and started to chow down on some grass along the side of the trail. We sat at a standstill for a bit because if you have to pass a yak on the trail you must stay on the mountainside and not the cliff side. The yaks have the right of way and standing on the cliff side could send you tumbling down the side of a mountain.
We stopped for lunch in Somare, where we decided to sit inside to get out of the cold. A large group of Japanese trekkers had walked in just before us so it took quite a while to get our food. Later, we found out that one of the men in the group was going to continue on and attempt a Mount Everest summit. After lunch, we finally made it above the tree line. Unfortunately, the clouds had already rolled in so visibility was very limited.
By midafternoon we made it to Dingboche and decided that it would be a good time for an acclimation hike or “climb high, sleep low”. I was excited about this because of the previous day I felt amazing as we descended for lunch. This, however, was a hike that literally went straight up. Taking a few steps warranted a break and my breathing was so heavy it felt as if I had just run my fastest 5k. The hike probably only gained us about 800′, but it did make a difference sleeping that night. Once we reached the turn around point we should have had an amazing view of the mountains surrounding us, but the cloud cover was still heavy so we settled for some summit pictures in a cloud. If you are finding yourself researching and wanting to make the trek to EBC, I definitely recommend (if your guide will allow) taking these short, but difficult acclimation hikes once arriving at your destination for the evening. *April 5th, 2018.