Today was one of the proudest days of my life. After a short two hour hike from Lobuche, we arrived in the village of Gorak Shep (village is a very generous term for this place), which is also the last stop before we arrive in EBC. We had a quick lunch and set off for an acclimatization hike on Kala Pattar, the peak behind Gorak Shep.
Anders, Geoff, Brent and I set off on a fast pace, per usual, ahead of the Dads. The hike was 1,800 ft of elevation gain, up to about 18,600 ft, and we were pushing to speed our acclimatization. The Dads have been great sports and continue to encourage us to push harder, to increase our chances of success in the coming weeks. As we topped out, we turned around to see incredible views of Everest, Nuptse, Pumori, Ama Dablam and countless others.
The wind was whipping and we quickly layered up before snapping some photos from the top. In the rush, I briefly forgot about Dad and turned around to see him about 200 ft below. Geoff had run down to encourage him and Dad was giving it everything that he had. I began to descend to meet them and while I was doing so, I realized how blessed I am to be living this experience. There I was, at 18,600 ft in the middle of the Himalayas with the wind whipping at my face, short of breath and tired. Most people would be miserable but I wasn’t, I was watching as Geoff helped my Dad achieve something that would have never been possible nine years ago.
As Geoff, my Dad, and I reached the summit of Kala Pattar together, I reflected on my journey over the past nine years of my life. During this time, my Dad and I grew closer, I discovered climbing through our relationship, and I found one of my closest friends, someone that is like a brother to me. Life is a wild ride and an incredible adventure; one that might just find you in the middle of the Himalayas on a windy mountain top with amazing people.
It seems fitting that we arrive at EBC tomorrow, after an emotional day. We can see it from the hills overlooking Gorak Shep and it should only take about an hour or two to reach it. Once there, I’ll settle into my own little tent, which I will call “home” for the next 5 weeks… and I can’t wait!