Monday, August 18, 2008

Goreck Shep to Khumjung Day 32 18/8/08

Day 32 (slide show)
A long 8hr trek down today with rain most of the way. The group split in two this morning. For those who wanted to climb up a separate trail to Kala Pathar it offered a chance to see the top of Everest. As we woke though I went to get coffee at about 6am and several of the Brit's were starting to get ready to leave. I didn't get the word about the 6:30 departure but it looked cloudy already so I didn't think there was much of a chance to get a shot. Paul was just coming out and asked me if I wanted to go but I said no but he went for it. I never did see any of the pictures so I'm not sure if the clouds broke for them or not. I hope so that's a long way to go at 16,000 feet. At 8am the rest of us left to go down. The trail was steep and wet. It is very easy to slip and fall. When we came to the drainage area where the Lambushe Khole River begins it was raining pretty hard with wind. Try walking down this trail with a poncho on. You can't see your feet to know if your stepping in the right place or not. I like the poncho though. It is very convenient and compact. Its from Sea to Summit and has several nice features. A little tip for my friends at REI. . As we approached the drainage area I realised it was much harder going down then coming up. The wind and rain made it hard to pick a spot to place your foot. This went on and on for 3 to 4 hours. I can't remember, I do know I was cold. I'm glad I had gloves. The group of seven was 4hr behind us and the weather kept getting worse. At this point I knew I made the right choose not to go up there. We arrived at Khumjung at about 2:30pm. It was nice to get out of the wind and rain but of course the stove will not be fired up until 5pm. That's all right I'll wait. A little later I noticed a few of the porters sitting and saw that the guy that had carried my bag on several occasion's was there. I went over and talked to them for a while. Real nice guys. Broken English but we got along great. I especially like the guy that was handling my bag. He knew it was mine. I have his name, I'll add it later.
Note: A real nice guy named Juan from Barcelona, Spain was sitting on the trail back up at Labuche when we stopped for a lunch break. He was with his guide Bishnu and he was having problems. Juan had been my card partner two nights earlier when I meet him and the Belgian Julian. Bishnu and Julian took on Juan and I for a great game of Harts Spanish style as Juan said. We had a good time and Bishnu is my friend and the Vise President from the Porters Progress in Kathmandu. Juan was on this wall by the trail having bad chest pains. Bishnu told me he couldn't take the altitude and he had called a helicopter. Juan was apologizing to me for not being strong enough, he felt real bad about it. I knew his age because he told me at the card game. He was 63. He made to 16,000ft I told him that was a great accomplishment. I reminded him that he told me he wanted to get back to the beaches of Barcelona during the card game and now he can be there in a couple of days. As I left him I was thinking, I just hope he makes it, he looked quite pale. Poor Bishnu could do nothing but console him. It's a bad deal.