5 April 2008: Today we actually head up to the Khumbu glacier...
Today we actually head up to the Khumbu glacier. Our normal morning routine is to get up around 6:30 AM. We get dressed and pack up for a 7:30 AM breakfast. While we ate our porters load up our duffel bags and other group gear.
We had started out with seven porters, but are now down to five. Two porters headed back to Lukla yesterday wirth the tents and gear for the Island Peak climb. Several of our current five porters are now carrying one to double loads. A single load is about 30 kilos (66 pounds). Therefore some of our porters are carrying up or 60 kilos ((132 pounds). Since the porters only weigh about 120 to 130 pounds, some are carrying more than their body weight on these rocky trails now over 16,000 feet. The good news for them is that they get paid more when they carry more than a single load. Like time and one half or double pay for folks working overtime in the US.
We hiked up over a hill behind Dingboche and started a lengthy traverse through clouds. We no longer saw trees, but the trail went through lots of scrubby juniper. There were many other people also trekking upwards. At Thukla the sun came out while we stopped for a rest and drinks. Then we all headed up the steeper terrain to Lobuche. Above Duglha there is a larger area of chortens of various sizes built in memory to Sherpa’s and others who have died on Mt. Everest. It’s beautiful area. There were so many trekkers and climbers heading there as well that Mingmar sped on ahead to secure us a room at the ECO lodge, which was very nice and completely full. We spent the whole afternoon and evening in the main room playing cards and reading.
The hike today felt really good. It is so nice to feel my health actually returning. Chet is feeling better and I think Terri has turned the corner on her bronchial problems. When we get up to base camp we will have more Zithromycin that should help more. This is good news as we approach the elevation of base camp (17,600 feet).