Written on March 13 USA time
Just when I thought I was better and was handling the altitude, Wham! I had the most miserable night so far on this trip. Every time I just about fell asleep, I would be slammed awake with the feeling of suffocating. I few deep breaths later, and I was fine…and wide awake. This is actually a normal response to a fast increase in altitude. The panting of climbing in the thin air reduces ethe amount of carbon dioxide in your blood. Since breathing is mostly to get rid of carbon dioxide, the brain signals your body to slow or even stop breathing. When your oxygen level then also falls, your brain says: oops! and you gasp for air. In addition my cough and sore throat got worse through the long night. By the time it was ready to get breakfast and go on an acclimatization day hike, I was already exhausted.
The route of the day hike took us straight up about 400 m above Namche Bazar. Every step was a chore. I started counting 25 steps, then resting. I stuck with it, and eventually I rose above the village, and dramatic peaks began to emerge. I reached the dirt air strip far above town which is the highest airstrip in the world, although now it is seldom used.
Our goal was a lodge situated on the hill above Namche at 3850 m, with views up the Khumbu Valley. Sure enough, I rounded the corner of the lodge where a magnificent view of Mount Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam appeared. We spent 20 minutes or so admiring and photographing the view, before heading back down. The return trip was much faster.
I spent the remainder of the day resting, doing some shopping for minor supplies, and having a coffee and brownie at Himalayan Java. My cough has not subsided, so I am seriously spending an additional day here at Namche. Hopefully with a good night’s rest, I will be good to go.