Practice Run No.4: A Nice Fresh Dusting of Snow

In Practice Run No.4by Steve

Tomorrow We Head To Mera Peak High Camp.

Having a rest day in Khare today at about 5000m. And by “rest day” I mean sleeping in the same spot for two nights and not gaining altitude. Did however go for a walk up a nearby hill which had spectacular views over the surrounding valley, especially after a fresh dumping of snow last night.

Five days in and I feel like I’m acclimatising well. After the second day crossing the Zatra La Pass my resting heart rate jump to 62bpm. Not catastrophic but not as good as it could be. Few days later and up at 5000m my resting heart rate down to 50bpm, still a bit higher than my normal resting heart rate at sea level, but not too bad given the altitude. Although the real test will come when I start pushing above 6000m and beyond.

On all these high altitude trips, there’s typically a lot of down time due to weather and the need to acclimatise. Most days we’ve only been trekking around 4 hours between overnight stops. Any more and I’d be gaining altitude too quickly with insufficient time to acclimatise. The rest of the days are spent relaxing, chatting with other climbers and friends I’ve met along the route and generally killing time. Yesterday I found a discarded book in the teahouse which has been a godsend, “Seven Years in Tibet”. The true story of Hienrich Harrer’s incredible feats escaping an Indian P.O.W. camp at the start of WWII, traversing through the Himalayas and trying to settle in the neutral territory of Tibet. It is phenomenal what he endured. The movie with Brad Pitt’s terrible fake German-Tibetian accent with underlying American twang really doesn’t do the story justice. Anyway, thankfully I’m such a slow reader as this one book will give me hours of entertainment.

So far the weather has been very predictable, clear sunny mornings followed by cloud and mountain mist rolling in in the afternoons, before clearing again overnight. Yesterday however the cloud brought with it a fresh dumping of snow. Watching the fresh snow falling across the Himilayas was a beautiful and mystical, yet hideous sight. Not looking forward to wading up through soft snow in the coming days.

Looking ahead, the plan is to climb to Mera Peak high camp (5800m) tomorrow and then push for the top (6476m) on Tuesday. Weather permitting…

“Go with the decision that will make for a great story”.