Monday, 26 April 1982

30 years ago: 26 April 1982, Everest Trek day 7, Loboche-Kala Pattar-Periche

Monday 26th April 1982:  Loboche to Kala Pattar and return to Periche (9 miles)I was pleased (relieved?) to get up at 04:50 after my coldest night ever.  Thank goodness it was cloudy, a clear night might have finished me off!  It is too cold to contemplate a second night at this altitude, let alone any higher.  I only had to put on shoes and waterproofs to be ready to leave, the former after taking off one pair of socks.  I packed my remaining stuff roughly into my rucksack which I then left at lodge as I was definitely coming back later in the day.  Having decided that, it was an easy choice to opt for going to Kala Pattar ('Black Rock' in Nepali) rather than Everest Basde Camp.  I left Loboche at 05:05 to find it clear, crisp and just getting light.  I walked quickly to Gorak Shep (17,000 ft), arriving at 06:30, then slowed considerably on ascent up Kala Pattar (5550m/18,200 ft or as more recently calculated 5640m/18,500 ft), arriving at 07:45.  I really felt the altitude going up, with more and more frequent rest stops, although it being a steep climb did not help.  Towards the end I seemed to feel no better after a rest and so slowly plodded on as far as I could, always against the clock knowing that the clouds would come in quickly at some stage.  On reaching the top of Kala Pattar I was rewarded with magnificent views which most definitely made the not inconsiderable effort very worthwhile.  Ten Alpine Chough seen at the summit were my highest ever birds with a Sparrowhawk not far below quite a surprise considering it was 1000 feet higher up than any passerine I saw.  I finished a film with 360° panorama of at least 10 shots, mainly vertical but a few horizontals thrown in.  Half the next film went the same way, especially of the view to south as the clouds came rolling in.  I spent two hours on the summit of Kala Pattar in a daze but by 09:45 the clouds were starting to look quite ominous as they built up further down the valley.  I left, keen to get off Kala Pattar before the clouds arrived and a developing headache (altitude related?) encouraged me to head down quickly.  I didn’t stop at Gorak Shep but continued straight back down to Loboche, mostly in snowy drizzle. I arrived back at Loboche at 11:35, had a quick cup of tea and left soon after 12:00 to head down to Periche.  It was mostly into the wind but I was back at the Himalaya Hotel at 13:45 for a very welcome cup of tea.  Fortunately my headache had gone and I felt much warmer despite still being at 14,000 ft.

Birds seen:  Sparrowhawk 1 male at 18,000 ft, Kestrel 1 at 17,000 ft, Tibetan Snowcock 4 at 17,000 ft, Shore Lark 3 at 16,500 ft, Rosy Pipit 1, Alpine Accentor 6 at 17,000 ft, Blue-fronted Redstart 10 up to 16,000 ft, Alpine Chough 10 at 18,200 (or 18,500) ft, Chough 4, Large-billed Crow 8, Hodgson’s Mountain Finch 80, Brandt’s Mountain Finch 3 probables at 17,000 ft.

Kala Pattar living up to its Black Rock Nepali name and behind it Pumori from Gorak Shep.  It might not look much of a climb but it certainly felt a lot more than 1200 feet (twice the height of Beachy Head) or even the more recently calculated 1500 ft

Changtse and the Khumbu Glacier while ascending Kala Pattar

me at Kala Pattar, Changste behind, Everest in cloud

Everest and Nuptse and the view east from Kala Pattar

Changtse and Khumbu Glacier and the view north-east from Kala Pattar

Pumori and the view north from Kala Pattar

Khumbu Glacier and Everest Base Camp from Kala Pattar

Everest and view east from Kala Pattar

Lingtern and Changtse and the view NNE from Kala Pattar

Ama Dablam and the view southeast from Kala Pattar

Kantega and the view south from Kala Pattar

me at Kala Pattar with Pumori behind

me and another trekker's bag at Kala Pattar, I'd left mine at Lobuche to save weight but still only just made it.

Alpine Chough at Kala Pattar

my highest recorded species

view south from Kala Pattar with cloud starting to form

view south from Kala Pattar with cloud building up

Kala Pattar descent, now a race against the cloud

shades south of Everest during a break in the weather

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