Day 10: Gorakshep to Dzongkha – 15,850 feet

Sleeping last night was especially fitful. Altitude does that. I recall vividly from Kilimanjaro. Our norm is typically to give up the “sleeping” ghost around 5am (albeit we aim to turn in by 8pmish). Blessedly, it was warmer in our room last night than normal, probably due to our being right above the dining/commons room that was unusually warm via heating by gas, not yak dung.

This morning we got on the trail around 1130am. With sadness, Amy had been feeling ill for multiple days and simply felt she could not continue. She’d eaten very little and not enough fuel to tackle the passes. I SO admire her perseverance in making it all the way to Everest Base. Our guide arranged a helicopter evac for the afternoon before today but fog in Lukla prevented. This morning it was clear where we were but not in Lukla. Finally the heli came late morning. With collective tears, we embraced, she thanked the guide and porter, and loaded on route to Katmandu Hospital. She will have to stay one night in hospital for observation and then assuming all is fine (she and I were both optimistic she will be fine, although with internet down all over Himalaya, I’ve not yet been able to communicate with her, let alone post to my blog). I’ll be hanging a prayer flag tomorrow at top of Cho La Pass that will in part be for her. POSTSCRIPT: As I send this, it is my first moment with WiFi since before Everest Basecamp day. I just learned Amy is fine. She was released from hospital and spent a few days in Kathmandu. She heads back to states today and sadly, I won’t be able to see her before I’m back in Kathmandu (more hiking down to Lukla and airport ahead for me).

Back to today though. Weather was good in AM and we flew down trail back to Lobuche (down is awesome, and for breathing thicker air) for lunch and then headed back up more slowly to Dzongla, arriving around 4:15pm. After my usual afternoon lemon tea, I jumped into sleeping bag for a nap. Dinner was simple – pasta noodles and tomato sauce, aiming to eat only things I trust and have a modest appetite to consume. Guide watches me like a hawk to be sure I get adequate fuel. I have many Cliff and Power Bars which are probably better than the food I consume. I also take vitamin supplements.

Tomorrow we depart at 5:30am with headlamps. Higher up we don helmets where rick falls can occur. Mine has Lilo and Stitch on it which think is a hoot since our eldest daughter works for Disney in Orlando. Casey texted a few days ago relating that while dad was climbing in Nepal, she had just ridden the Everest roller coaster at Disney. I had a great laugh at her humor.

That the news for now. Going to turn in and do my best to get a “good” night’s sleep.

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