Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche

Lobuche, Nepal
16,297 feet above sea level; 53% oxygen

Although today’s trek was only 4.5 miles, there was a vertical gain of over 2,000 feet. We knew that we would have our work cut out for us.

We started with some Nepali Flats — an accurate description of the undulating hills that have characterized much of the trek. Climb up, see false summit, climb down. Rinse. Repeat. Hiking through alpine meadows and summer yak pastures, we were led toward the end of the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier where there was a steep, tough climb.

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We stopped for lunch at 9:30 a.m., a regular occurrence on the trail. While the group was chowing down on tomato soup and fries, a scenic overlook provided a quiet place for me to rest and take it all in.

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Properly fueled, we began a tremendous ascent — here, you can see the trail, as well as our yaks in the lower right hand corner, for some perspective.

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The trail was slow going, as we scrambled over boulders and took plenty of rests.

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At the summit on Thok La was a memorial to the dozens of climbers and Sherpas that have been killed over the years while attempting Everest. We wandered the various chortens (stone monuments), including that of Scott Fischer, one of the guides involved in the 1996 disaster, and thought about why so many fearless, yet often ordinary folks, would take on such inherent risks.

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From here, the view out straight toward Nuptse was truly magnificent. Given how beautiful and peaceful it was, we decided to have an impromptu photo shoot.

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Back on the trail, we continued to gain elevation and climbed onto the Changri Glacier before arriving in Lobuche, a small village with nothing more than a few teahouses.

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It had taken us nearly all day to hike just 4.5 miles. With pounding headaches, we rested at the Sherpa Lodge, a truly awful place with terrible facilities and freezing cold rooms. Dinner involved some creative thinking on my part — a can of tuna fish, some toast and a tube of Pringles, all for about $10 USD — and offered just a small reminder of life back home.

But it also gave my body the important energy required for tomorrow when we would set out for the destination that we had come all this way for: Everest Base Camp.

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