On the way to base camp when the biggest disaster in Everest history occurs!

Roomy found a porter crying in the toilet this morning. Bit weird, he just ran off apologising when she opened the door. Not the nicest toilet to sit and have a cry one other! Feeling down and miserable again, cold room, dirty toilets etc etc!! Another restless night feeling ill, need to be sick but can’t. Then realise period has started, what a time for that to happen, just before two tough days! But as usual once I am up and walking love being here!!! I’ve set today’s daily roomy challenge after a break yesterday. Photo bombing! Who can bomb the most photos. So funny to start with, even at breakfast I jump into hagrids picture, we both keep popping in everyone’s photos on the walk in the morning including random people to. I saw a. Woman taking a picture of a statue so quickly walked into shot and posed!! Ex pat noticed and had a good laugh at me. We do soon realise that we may become annoying to everyone though but at the moment everyone is laughing at us. All good fun. First part of the walk is desert like, baron, windy, never ending, reminds me of the friends scene when Joey is left in desert after film folds, so I keep humming the tune (I walked through the desert with a man with no name? I think??). Warm weather again so back in shorts, getting a bit of a tan on my pins!! we stop for a drink at Thukla which is a busy point just before a big climb, but not stopping for food because it’s apparently the least hygienic place!! No one even dares use the porter loo! Nice. It’s now very busy, loads of tourists about. Hagrids response was ‘fuck it’s the first time I feel like a tourist!’. Miss the quietness of the last few days, we’ve been lucky going off the beaten track. Lots of helicopters passing today, we’re all hoping there’s not injuries from people starting to climb Everest as it’s that time, we’ve heard camp one is climbers current position.
We start the walk to the memorial stones along with hundreds of others. We bump into the 5 lads from the hotel who are doing island peak. All seem fit and well however they do tell us there’s been an avalanche near base camp and six are dead and 15 missing. We are all in shock, how awful. That’ll be what all the helicopters were about! The mood changes as we wait to hear more info from other guides and groups. Passang our guide has friends who are missing so it really is close to home.
As we continue our walk we pass many people struggling to walk up, music blaring from stereos, phones and the most colourful outfits going. It’s a great place to people watch!! It is a tough up hill walk and it’s pretty hard at times, I’m glad I’m with a group as you can stop and chat to each other, encourage one another, and generally have more fun. At the top you walk into a huge area of shrines. Scott Fischer from the 1996 disaster is the most colourful and decorated. But I take time to read even the smallest. So many tributes, so sad. Even more poignant today after the sad news of the avalanche. Many Sherpas have memorial stones as well as tourists although never as lavish or prominent. The update on the disaster is maybe 21 dead. Worst ever day on Everest.
Our walk continues to lobuche, 4950. In the book ‘into thin air’ it was a shithole in 1996, as base camp was over flowing with climbers loads stayed here, and there was literally shit everywhere as toilets overflowed. Fortunately we find it fairly clean and pleasant. Busy tea house unlike most of our stays where we’ve been the only people. A large Chinese group are in one corner, we take over another and then some kiwis take the last large table meaning any small groups have nowhere to sit!
As we start to relax our minds turn to what our families will think when they hear the avalanche news on the tv. I know my mum will panic when she hears about it. I have no phone signal though!! Were off for a walk up higher to see base camp from afar so I take my phone up in case I can get a signal to call home. I have a signal but it won’t bloody work! Damn orange phone. In the distance we can see the colours of tents which is base camp, tiny little specks. Not what I expected to be honest. I think I thought it would be more like a small town of tents with some other facilities? Just tents though.
Back at the tea house I pay for wifi and message mum and Facebook status of I’m alive! Feel better now that people shouldn’t worry! On the web thee are various stories of the disaster, all who dies were Sherpas or guides, no climbers. Just shows you how much these Sherpas give up to help westerners climb!
The long drop toilet has a bonus point for its lovely mountain view out of the window, if you face backwards, however someone has missed the hole and left a nice present in there when facing forwards so it’s in your bloody eye line!! Pleasant hey!!
Chilling in the communal area and in walks a black man. I realise it’s the first black person we’ve seen all trip, wonder why it’s such a white excursion and why it made me double take?
The news on the avalanche is that 17 have died, 2 of our guides friends included. Passang tells us that there was an issue with the ladder so there was a queue which meant they were just trapped when the snow fell on them.
Gragma was quiet today. We find out he has an awful tooth ache and felt like absolute shit and didn’t complain just got on with the walk, poor thing.
The tea house rooms are basic, but do have a lovely painting on the door to brighten the corridor up. There is a bucket with a tap for running water, that’s quite a luxury. Now back at home I’m not sure many of us worry about how much toilet roll we use, however suddenly when it’s on rations you become quite pedantic about it!! 2 sheets at a time unless a number two! Note to self though, be careful wearing a head torch to the long drop toilet, by instinct you look down to place your feet and I got a lovely view of a pile of shit mounted up looking at me!! What a great sight just before I go to sleep. Off to bed Early to bed as up at 5am.
Not a great nights sleep, creaky floor boards, lots of noise from people going to the toilet throughout the night. Have a bad stomach ache to add to the tiredness, may be a long day!! My bloody socks are wet when I go to put them on, clearly too damp in the corridor where they are left to smell and to dry so have to put dirtier socks on from another day. After a quick brekkie off we walked heading to base camp. Mexican headed off ahead of us and as he had his music on he couldn’t hear us tell him to stop! So we didn’t see him until lunch as he just kept walking and walking. Walk was awesome today, the glacier in view throughout with caves, crevasses and ice formations everywhere to amaze you.
We arrive at tea house we’ll be staying at tonight, very busy, cold as doors don’t shut but seems ok. Just having brunch before heading to base camp. Exciting times! Luna has put suntan cream on in the style of tribal paint! She asks if it looks silly, I say well no but it is a bit different. Actually yes she looks bloody stupid but thats her choice! Off we go, via a sign that says way to Everest base camp so we need to stop for obligatory photos! And we are off!! You pass a lot of wet patches! It hasn’t rained at all, yep you guessed it they are toilet stops, but right on the path, bloody men!! Everest pops in and out of view. Very cloudy so not the best views today which is a shame. Lots of helicopters in and out of camp again today, each time we hear one its a reminder of the disaster.
The group is rushing again today. I started at the front and am quickly near the back as others just trudge onwards. It’s a shame as you miss the views, even in the cloudy skies!!
I didn’t see indie at all, she is suffering with altitude sickness so walks slowly at the back. Hope she makes it, she keeps throwing up. I’m constantly wondering how on earth the yaks manage to walk up the steep hills, over huge boulders, across unstable steps. Clearly they are fine as they do it every day but I’m clearly such a softy!! There’s the Danish guide who pissed off some of our group with his talk on how Everest is now a commercial climb, not for real climbers. And when they said our guide had done it last year he just dismissed it, arrogant arse is what hagrid called him! Anyway we pass him on route and he manages to annoy a yak shepherd on the walk, makes the yaks stop so some of his group can pass, then stops 5 mins ahead so the rest of the group who are behind the yaks can catch up. The shepherd calls him an idiot and rants in Nepalese! Love it. He cuts up gragma without an apology as well so not the most popular guide around. So there it appears, Everest base camp, you arrive at a memorial stone with hundreds of prayer flags. Lots of us have photos, I lay a prayer flag and write a message on it, roomy leaves one for her nan who died last year. Have a photo and pom and hagrid photo bomb me, very funny!! Everyone poignant but happy. Swiss and Pom head into the camp itself, we’re not supposed to go there. I head down to near it, call home. Dads still in bed but mum is pleased to hear from me. She thought I’d died! Tells me how when she heard the news she ran to my dad and cried, then saw my message saying I was ok. Silly mare, bless her though. My dog was ill and she thought its because he could sense I was in danger?? Er no I never was mum but whatever you think. Whilst on the phone I see a helicopter with a rope and what looked like a body bag on the bottom, I later found out it was. They’d found another body in the ice fall. Very sad. Bloody Danish man turns up with his group and stands in front of the memorial talking about base camp etc so no one for 10 mins could get a clear photo for themselves. There really was no need to stand there for the talk, plenty of space elsewhere. So base camp is literally loads of tents, satellite dishes and flags on a glacier, nothing glamorous, nothing spectacular. We spot the English doctors on their way back to base camp, think their trip will be over as it’s rumoured the mountain is closing for the season after the disaster. Indie makes it, really pleased for her! So we get a group shot although the weasley twins are missing. I have an Everest beer to toast the achievement with mini miyagi and Mexican!
After a lovely hour at the memorial we started to head back. No sign of the weasley twins still as they are still in camp? It takes two hours to head back, pass lots of people on the way try and encourage them. It’s tough and we had more acclimatisation with gokyo. Back at tea house and we get to relax again. We find out that our assistant guide lost his cousin in the avalanche, the stories just get sadder. The weasley twins turn up covered in snow 3 hours later. They went right into camp and even sat in on a meeting about the mountain that Sherpas led. They were with our guide so didn’t just invite themselves. It’s snowing hard outside, typical as we have the highest climb tomorrow and now it’ll be freezing and cold under feet making it harder. What a day though, Everest base camp ticked off the bucket list!!

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