October 11th - Nearing our Destination

This is Wally Berg from Lobuche. When you are on an extended expedition, you always have those days when the weather changes; sometimes is for the better, sometimes for the worse. This morning at Lobuche we woke up to definitely improved weather, the first perfectly clear morning we have seen. We saw Nuptse very beautiful right across the glacier.

We are staying at the new Eco Lodge. Lobuche is notorious - Lobuche deservers to be notorious - as being not a very pleasant, clean or healthy place to set up a camp or stay in the old styles teashops. So we were happy that we had our reservations for private rooms at the new solar powered Eco Lodge.

Mark’s continues to be our team’s main liaison with the medical students; surprisingly the study has already ended. I think that is probably just for the best. We had already concluded that Mark who had tingling fingers, no headache and quite high oxygen saturations probably had the Diamox; where as Amelie who had a pretty pronounced headache, not quite so high oxygen saturation and no tingling fingers was probably either on the placebo or the Ginkoba. The tingling fingers of the Diamox was the key.

Of course we have Dafna, our super trekker, who would not need any such thing as that and then we have Steve who came with a plan all the way from Iowa.

Today we walked up the Khumbu glacier. One of the first landmarks we saw was the Lho La, this of course being the pass into Tibet. Mallory stood on the Lho La in 1922, on an Everest reconnaissance expedition and spied what he named the Western Cwm and the Khumbu Icefall; he noted at that time that perhaps this other approach in Nepal to climb Everest would be the best. Of course it was a quarter century later, after the World War and the many changes that took place subsequent to the World War including: China invading Tibet, Tibet being closed to western climbers for 30 years, India gaining independence and soon after Nepal opening its borders to the outside world - that gave access to the Khumbu, the homeland of the Sherpas, by foreign climbers and explorers and quickly following the successful ascents of Everest.

You will hear a lot about the 50th anniversary next year of Tenzing and Hillary’s ascent but I am thinking a lot of this season as well about of the 50th anniversary of 1952 Swiss attempt on Everest which was quite nearly successful; a very strong attempt which went above the South Col, and it was when of course the famous Geneva Spur that we cross in route to the South Col was named.

Now we are at Gorak Shep. It is about 5100 meters or 16,800 feet. We will have a 2-night camp here along the edge of the Khumbu glacier. We will be climbing Kala Pathar for views of Everest, and certainly tomorrow will trek up the moraine and visit the Everest Base Camp.

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