Friday, 10 October 2008

Wednesday 14 November 2001

Distant Makalu

At 0600 hours I awoke and read as bed tea wasn’t due till 0700 hours. I then washed and shaved as usual when the basin of hot water arrived.

At 0800 we had breakfast, which consisted of porridge, fried egg on toast and toast and marmalade.

This was a rest day but I didn’t fancy sitting about all day so at 0855 hours, having discussed the matter with Rex, I set off up the valley on my own at a reasonably slow pace taking in the ambience. It was very quiet, still and hot in the sun. It was similar to the Lost Valley in Glencoe, Scotland, well maybe except for the heat. The head of the valley was enclosed by steep cliffs but I managed to find a path up through the rocks to a grassy area. Beyond that there were at least another four separate rises through large boulder fields and scree before the head of the pass. It became very difficult especially due to the altitude. I thought about giving up but decided to go on till 1300 hours to see if I could reach the pass.

At 1305 hours I reached the pass, the border between Sikkim and Nepal at 5150 metres. (highest point of trek) There was a small cornice but the views weren’t worth the effort. I took a few minutes break and started the descent. Conditions were a bit difficult and I had to take several short stops to get my breath back and take on water for the altitude. Once back into the valley I passed some Sherpas who had been sent out to look for Kate who had gone up into the hills on her own. Further down I met Cameron who was out for a stroll.

I returned to the campsite at 1545 hours and had afternoon tea at 1600 hours before sorting out my gear and tent.

At 1730 hours we convened at the mess tent, which had been decorated with coloured paper and candles etc for the Diwali, a religious celebration. A special meal had been prepared for this celebration, far too much food, with a fireworks display beforehand.

At 2015 hours I retired to my tent with lights out at 2030 hours.

Ascent for day approximately 1197 metres with a similar descent. Maximum altitude approximately 5150 metres.

This link will take you to other photos taken this day.