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Alpine, Arctic & Antarctic Tundra

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ABC Day 09 - Annapurna Base Camp

ABC Index

Annapurna Base Camp


I awoke with a start in the pitch darkness of the empty dorm room to the sound of the alarm on my Suunto Spartan Ultra. It took me a few seconds to get my bearings, which was unusual, and to recall why exactly I had set the alarm that early. The watch had told me when exactly sunrise was and I had given myself just enough time based on my pace the day before, but had not, for some reason, had the foresight to factor in more time for all the snow. In my pre-dawn grogginess, I also made the beginner mistake of not packing another pair of dry socks. Read more
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ABC Day 08 - Machapuchare Base Camp

ABC Index

Machapuchare Base Camp


I took my sweet time that morning, as the views that greeted me overlooked the magnificent valley. The cliffs that ran down the sides of the mighty mountains were still shrouded in the dark tapestry of the mountain's shadow, but as I watched, that tapestry was once again pulled away by the light from the rising sun. Once I had my fill, I made my way up the stairwell past the final lodge and down into the valley. Read more
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EBC Day 18 – Namche Bazaar to Lukla

Nepal Index

Back to Lukla


The scenery that awaited me just south of Namche was absolutely gorgeous. The pinewood (Pinus sp.) forests that laced the southern hills were a mix of vibrant reds and greens, and the backdrop of white and silver layers of snow that adorned the southern slopes of Nupla (elevation : 5885m) really brought out the contrast of colours. Read more
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EBC Day 17 – Lungden to Namche Bazaar

Nepal Index

Leaving Lungden


Despite the ferocious wind that was blowing up the valley from the south, it only took 30 minutes to hike from Lungden (elevation : 4375m) to Marulen (elevation : 4210m). At first, Marulen was akin to a ghost town, as all the houses were bolted from the outside and there was not a single person in sight. I did however end up seeing three people right at the end of the town, which struck me as somewhat odd for a fairly large town (at least by Nepalese mountain standards) of about 12 houses. The days were getting much colder and the nights were getting much shorter, so the scarcity of people was most likely due to the coming of winter. Read more
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EBC Day 16 – Renjo La Pass

Nepal Index

Renjo La Pass


Since today was going to be a big day, I decided to spend a bit more time 'fueling up' with three cups of coffee (NPR300) and macaroni and cheese (NPR450), whilst enjoying the views of Gokyo Tsho that lay just outside the lodge. I left slightly later than the other hikers as I did not want to hike with anyone along the way. This was because I was in search of the feeling of complete isolation (or rather as close as I could get it), as the thought of no one being around you for many kilometres, although initially disconcerting, can ultimately be very emancipating. Read more
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EBC Day 15 – Lakes of Gokyo

Nepal Index

Thonak Tsho


I had another lucid dream that night. For some reason I was in Singapore this time around, and was standing on a beach with a rented bicycle by my side. I was looking out over the ocean and was watching some world-class waves being churned up by hurricane-strength winds. Suddenly, a huge tidal wave swept through the coast and washed away everything in its path except for me. The dream had probably been inspired by the ridiculous howling winds that had swept down the valley that night and had buffeted the small town of Gokyo. Read more
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EBC Day 14 – Gokyo & Gokyo Ri

Nepal Index

The Ngozumpa Glacier


I slept for ages that night, going to sleep around 18:00 just after dinner and waking up around 06:00 the next morning. I am accustomed to getting about six hours of sleep every night, so such a long duration is very unusual and was an indication that the Cho La pass must have taken a toll on me. The 'Khumbu cough' had also finally caught up to me, leaving my throat not just dry but also a little phlegmy. Read more
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EBC Day 13 – Cho La Pass

Nepal Index

Leaving Dzongla


*When someone tells you that the Cho La pass is closed because of snow, be sure to take what they say with a pinch of salt. Porters and guides have been known to tell hikers this to try to dissuade them from crossing the pass*
It was still chilly that morning but the perfectly clear skies were an indication of good weather. I added an extra layer to keep me warm but began to perspire as soon as I started walking, so was forced to quickly take it off. Sweating in cold weather can be quite dangerous as sweat that is not wicked away can freeze and will end up lowering one's body temperature. Read more
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EBC Day 12 – Kalapattar

Nepal Index

Kalapattar


The day before had been the first day of the entire trip where I would actually have considered myself to have been exhausted. Perhaps that is why my dreams at that point were so vivid.. or maybe it was just the altitude? The dream that I had that night was strange and very muddled, yet was somehow very clear. Some researchers think that the decreased oxygen levels at altitude somehow affect the recollection of dreams, Read more

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EBC Day 11 – Everest Base Camp

Nepal Index

Altitude Sickness


That morning, a sad farewell took place in Lobouche (elevation : 4940m) amongst a group of hikers from New Zealand. One of the party members apparently had been suffering from a bad headache and had just begun mumbling unintelligibly. It was (wisely) decided that he would need to make a quick descent back down to lower altitudes, whilst the rest of the party continued up to Gorak Chep (elevation : 5164m). I say wise because the altered mental status (a.k.a AMS) indicated an onset of HACE. Read more

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