I took a second diamox at sunrise, and within 20 minutes I could stand up without my head throbbing. I didn’t feel great, but I was improving. One thing was certain though – I needed an extra acclimatization day. But the good news was that I didn’t need to descend and abort the rest of the trip! We decided to push our flights back one day and keep the rest of our itinerary as is. We also opted for a day hike to Chhukhung to climb a scenic overlook at 5000m.
It was a long walk. I was slow at best, but it kept the headache at bay and that was all that mattered. And the views didn’t hurt. At every opportunity I used my slowness as an excuse to take pictures. I couldn’t get enough of the sights, especially looking toward Ama Dablam, Amphu Gyabjen and the Chhukhung Glacier. Every angle of Ama Dablam is photogenic!
We stopped for lunch at Sunrise Eco Hotel. This is where Wes and Tom will stay en route to Island Peak. We snacked, chatted up folks who had just summited, and sorted out gear rentals for Wes and Tom. It sounds like the crevasses are quite a hazard this season. I tried not to think too much about how hard their climb would be. And I was certainly glad I had opted out!
After our rest we set off for the scenic viewpoint on Chhukhung Ri – 500m below the summit, but with similarly nice views. We were surrounded by Nuptse, Lhotse, Island Peak, the Ama Dablam complex, and the rest of the valley.
I didn’t think I would make it, but I’m glad I did. Our overlook was higher than tomorrow night’s lodging, so I should be in good shape and AMS-free. Still, the wind hammered us on top, and it was not long before we started the long downhill back to Dingboche.
It was a long day, and 2 liters of water each did not turn out to be enough. We arrived at our lodge desperate for more water and to empty our bladders.
It was Wes’s turn to have the dehydration headache, but after pounding a liter of water it subsided. We capped the day with our now mandatory dose of flour-free garlic soup and some dal bhat, while the Indian trekkers and sherpas in the dining room sang away the day.
The avalanche tragedy continues to unfold: we learned that the Everest climbing sherpas’ wives were threatening to hang themselves if their husbands didn’t come home. With this news, it seems that the remaining supported climbs for the year are cancelled. I can’t say I blame them.