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Australian Professional Cyclist

Mount Everest Base Camp: Day by Day…..

Day Nine Trekking: Sunday 4th November.

Dzongla to Lobuche: 6.57km

Starting Altitude: 4,994m.

Finishing Altitude: 5,070m.

Elevation Gain (Not Difference): 287m.

Moving/Trekking Time: 2hr12min

Average Heart Rate: 104 bpm.

Max Heart Rate: 149 bpm.

Blood Saturation 1hr Pre Trek: 75%

Blood Saturation 1hr Post Trek: 66%

I had another rough night – not able to sleep (probably due to altitude) and coughing up green phlegm with serious chest pain again. It was the coldest night we have experienced yet and whilst my body was super warm in my ‘The North Face Summit’ sleeping bag (handling -29 degrees), breathing the cold air was not good for my chest. I was also not able to stay hydrated – as the bottled water I had purchased had turned to ice. It was -5 degrees.

Yesterday was a very tough day for everyone (the toughest on our itinerary) and you could really tell by everyone’s body language at breakfast. Everyone is struggling to eat – except me, I’m still eating like a machine, everything I can get my hands on! I’m constantly hungry! I ordered a chocolate pancake and bowl of porridge for breakfast; the pancake was the biggest/fluffiest I’ve ever seen! I should have taken a photo! How do they get the pancakes so fluffy at altitude? All the pancakes, scones and cakes I’ve tried to cook at my place in the Dolomites (1500m) end up like biscuits! I ate half the pancake and cut the other half up for today’s hike. After eating half the chocolate pancake – I smashed down the bowl of honey porridge and even sweetened it (more) with some white sugar!

Our trek along the Laklampe Glacier today was stunning. The sun was out and we had left a little later as we only had 6.5km to trek. However, I suffered again with the cold, the wind chill was freezing! I had a couple of undershirts on and a Gortex wind-stopper jacket but my chest and extremities were FREEZING! I think the issue is that my undershirts get a bit damp/sweaty and then when we stop to re-group…. I just start freezing. I ate all my left over pancake from breakfast when we stopped and could have eaten more if I had more…. I was just trying to get my body working – to warm up!

Again today I had no issues with tired or sore muscles, tendons, ligaments etc…. I think I prepared my body well. I wonder if a little more body fat would have helped with my getting freezing cold issues? I don’t think so. I think my body doesn’t regulate it’s body temperature too well even at sea-level, I’ve always had issues with over-heating and freezing. Perhaps some better undershirts could have helped here a little? Also, an option to hydrate with warm water might have helped!

My chest infection could have been caused by a number of things; bacteria, sinus infection moved down, drinking freezing cold water in the night and on the treks, insufficient quality of bra-tops/under-shirts etc….

The chest pain and cough is worse this afternoon than it has been yet so I’m still considering starting antibiotics however, I’m still trying to hold off.

We have two more hard days to Trek. Tomorrow morning we will have breakfast here and then head to our next accommodation – which is a 2-3hr trek. We’ll have lunch there and then we’ll head over to BASE CAMP (5,500m) and then back to our accommodation – 6hrs round trip! Apparently there is no accommodation at BASE CAMP so we don’t actually stay there! We just trek over to BASE CAMP and back to our accommodation in the afternoon!

The next day, the fittest of our group have the option to climb a high peak early in the morning (Kala Patar), leaving in the dark, before breakfast. This peak will take us to the highest point of our expedition – at 5,550m. After brunch we will start our descent back down to Lukla with a 6hr trek.

A number of our group are talking about taking a helicopter back down to Lukla and flying over to Kathmandu to spend a few days in 5 star accommodation and to go sightseeing. I’m not yet at all interested in this option. Have you really ‘done’ BASE CAMP if you take a chopper back down?

If my health is ok, I definitely want to trek back down to Lukla!! Apart from my chest infection, I’m feeling strong in the legs. My mind is a little fragile when I get super cold and can’t warm up during the trekking – I kind of switch off from the experience and lose concentration on everything, like taking in scenery, watching my foot placement, communication etc…. I just shut-down – thinking only about when I’ll be warm again!

So, if I can get through tonight health-wise, I’m just one day away from making it to BASE CAMP! It’s quite exciting. It was never a life ambition or dream, it was just an opportunity that came up and once I got here and got started, I really wanted to make it.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a good night (a good night’s sleep is not likely to happen) but let’s just hope that the chest infection doesn’t worsen!

More tomorrow!    

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