Climbing to Gokyo Ri
Trip Start Mar 27, 2008
27Trip End Apr 23, 2008
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We change the original plan and I have breakfast before we head off. They too had something to eat but we will take something to eat with us. As the other guides head off they encourage me and are sure that we will make the top today.
As we leave the sun is just catching the mountains at the side of the lodge ( see photos)
We leave the lodge and follow the path on the right which takes us to the other side of the lake where water from the mountains is running into the lake. There is a series of stepping stones so we do not need to get our boots wet but we do cross here with caution. From the valley floor the walk looks steep. We will ascend one thousand eight hundred feet today (549 metres) it seems a mammoth task for me but I am determined that I will make it.
The foot of the path takes several snakelike routes winding backwards and forwards gradually getting higher. We are almost the last to attempt it today as the winds pick up in the late afternoon making it cold on the top. At the start the top is not visible so you just keep on walking ever upwards with the air thinner everyone takes their time. It slows even the younger trekkers but the target for everyone is Gokyo Ri. The walk is now down to stamina, determination and commitment to reach the top for a view of Everest and the other 6000m plus peaks.
We are almost at the halfway stage and Bhimsen suggests we rest and look back to the lake and what a fantastic aw inspiring view. The lake is partially covered in snow and some of the overnight ice has begun to melt , the sun is up and the mountain at the back of the lake is reflected in the unfrozen portion of the lake ( wow)
As we sit halfway up to the peak others pass us but everyone travels slowly. We then resume our route to the top. As we look up we can no longer see other trekkers they have reached the top and disappeared behind the ridge. We continue up the paths and gradually there is only one route to follow and finally we can see the prayer flags on top. They still seem some distance away but the sight of them means that with our target in sight each slow step brings us that much nearer to our destination.
At somewhere around dinner time we successfully reach the top and what views meet us there. Some of the guides, porters and trekkers are still up here and one of the guides offers us some of his rations. I try the dried meat ( no idea what it was) and it definitely exercises the jaw bones. In return we offer the sweets I brought from the UK ( yes the M&Ms) and some sweets we sell at the local youth club. They enjoyed the M&Ms with the surprise of the peanut inside. We spent some time up on the top and ask two other visitors to take a photo of all of us un the boulder.
The wind begins to pick up bringing the temperature down
Although it is quicker to walk down it has to be undertaken with caution as it would be very easy to sustain an injury coming down when the success of reaching the top could make you careless.
Although it takes about four to five hours to reach Gokyo Ri the return trip takes only half that time. The temptation to run is great but with a little bit of risk assessment ( you know we all have to do these even if it is just driving a car) you resist the temptation.
We retrace our steps and reach the lodge , I am tired but jubilant that I have been successful this time. I had in fact added the extra time for crossing Chola Pass to Everest Base camp so that if we had any delays we would still be successful. The guide that saw me as they set off in the morning asked if I had been up the Ri and I gave him a thumbs up. He was pleased that I had made it. ( So was I)
Once again we all sat in the lodge talking about what we would be doing the next day
It is almost the Nepalese New Year and I had brought a kite from the UK to celebrate it with them and Bhimsen is puzzled that Ashok cannot find it in my bag ( it was hidden in the bottom as it has no poles so it is easy to carry.) More about this later.