The route took us a rather long ways through the Nepalese Khombu region to Gorak Shep, the place where most tourists don’t stay more than one night. It is at 5,207 meters. From there, we headed out, with only a few hours to the base camp at Mount Everest. Already pretty beat and exhausted, we got ourselves going. Grasses don’t grow up here anymore and as the elevation increased the remaining oxygen content sunk. Finally, we were there – arriving at the base camp, we were now at 5,350 meters. But I couldn’t really enjoy all of it in peace. Loud music pounded out of ghetto blasters, hundreds of people, a wedding, tourism en masse – I just wanted out of here, what a nightmare. I first just sat down, and I had to increasingly fight with the lack of oxygen since my cold was getting worse. All of our moods were really at an all-time low. Was all this my dream? Should something like this remain on the “to-do” list? NO. TOTALLY not.
The return trip to Gorak Shep was another nightmare, hardly any energy, and sick, really completely sick. The air was icy, windy, and I noticed that I was staggering, and coughing like mad, my head was pounding and I was really super nauseated. Heading down I had to take a break. With this flu, I had all the signs of altitude sickness. With my last bit of strength, I dragged myself into the lodge. Everything was surreal, like in a dream. I was not hungry at all, felt totally sick, and it was clear I had to get down the mountain. Heading the next day to Kala Patthar, with its elevation of 5,675 meters, was also off the agenda. A friend of mine was also feeling some altitude sickness so we headed down at a good clip.