In the mountains, we often spend as many days resting as we do climbing, if not more. While the purpose is obvious, it is even more important when climbing at altitude because the human body has a much more difficult time healing. Muscles don’t recover as quickly and your immune system is taxed, which can cause the body to crash if you push it too hard. For that reason, today was supposed to be a rest day but Geoff and Brent had different plans for Anders and I. Instead of a leisurely hike up the hill behind Dingboche with the rest of the team, they decided that we were going to push it a little harder and accelerate our acclimatization.
So what does a “little” harder mean? Well according to Brent, a “little” means more like 3,400 vertical feet, up to 17,600 ft. We were all feeling very strong and were up for the challenge. It was a perfect opportunity to gain altitude and trigger the production of more red blood cells. As I mentioned yesterday, anytime that you can climb high without damaging your body, it’s “money in the bank”, as Brent says.
The Father/Son teams set off at around 9 AM with only a vague idea of what Brent had in mind. Dad and Randy held their own and our crew gained altitude at a very respectable rate. The best part of the climb was that every step that Dad took was a personal record for his highest altitude ever! He topped out at 16,500 and we all gave him high fives. He was pretty damn proud! After Dad headed back down to Dingboche, the rest of the squad pressed upward.
The air became thinner and our conversations shorter but we finally topped out on a col overlooking the remainder of our trek to EBC and Nuptse. The views were incredible, so we took some time to snap a few pictures and grab a snack. Before heading down, I fired up the speaker and initiated the dancing with one of the greatest songs of all time, You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling. Feeling inspired, we raced down the hill, back to thicker air and coffee.
Geoff and Brent leading the way back down to Dingboche.
When I got back to the tea house, I realized that they had a shower and paid my $5 to use it. What I didn’t realize was that it was a solar powered shower and since it was already past sunset, it was a nice ice cold shower. I’d complain but I was just grateful that I was able to finish after it shut off twice while I was covered in soap. Probably my last shower for a while…
Hope all is well in the States and where ever else you are reading from! I sure could go for a burger and an IPA right now…