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14th May 2013 Rest Day – Nagakarsang Peak

A mistake in my blog yesterday I mentioned that Dingboche was at 4530 Meters. This was based on a map that I used. Apparently the correct height is in between 4280 meters (our hotel location) to 4410 meters (highest point in the village). We were explained that in order to get ourselves very well acclimatized we are to attempt the Nagakarsang Peak (5100 meters) today. The top of the peak was visible from our hotel and we estimated that it should take us about 2 hours. We were however told at the beginning itself that it would take minimum 3-4 hours for us to get there...... if at all we “get there”. The climb we were explained will be very tough.

It was a sunny day once again with beautiful view of Tabuche and Cholatse Peaks to our left and Thamserku, Kangtega, Ama Dablam, Makalu, Island and Lohtse peaks to our right. River Imja (Dingboche is situated on its banks) also looked lovely from here. About an hour into the climb and we realised how difficult it was going to be. The top of the peak still appeared to be the same distance as when we started and the height we had gained so far was also not too much. Dingboche village appeared not too far off to our right. It was a bit windy as well. The only thing that kept us going was the absolutely fascinating view. Prashant and Nimish were carrying the GPS equipments that allowed us to track our altitude. At about 9.45 we had managed to gain barely 290 meters and two of us took a decision that they would not continue any further. One of our guides accompanied them back. Further 45 minutes into the climb and more than half of our team had returned. At around 11 am, 3.5 hours after we had left the hotel, the wind picked up considerably and a few clouds appeared at the top. We took a conscious decision that we should all return back to the hotel. At this point we were at a height of about 4835 meters and needed another 1-1.5 hours over 200 meters to make it to the top. Over the next hour we descended all of the 555 meters we had managed to climb since morning.

For those who have not trekked in the Himalayas, here is a brief perspective. Sinhagad in Pune is about 550 meters from its base to the top and it takes about an hour to climb it and about 50 minutes to come down. So what we did today was may be just about that...... only it was at an altitude of over 4500 meters and that has made a very big difference.

After we returned, we have not taken our customary stroll in the village today and have spent most of our time soaking in the sun and chatting in the restaurant.... of course cards and Uno is a way of life now.

Tomorrow we will be going to Lobuche that should be about 5-6 hours of uphill walk. There was no telephone connection here in Dingboche and we are all cut off from the world since yesterday. Tomorrow in Lobuche also looks dicey. So Gorakshep seems to be the best bet to reconnect.

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