Day six greeted us with a thick morning fog when Evgeny and I were leaving our lodge at Dingboche (4410m). This village is a base for a variety of treks in any direction (Nuptse, Lhotse, etc.). Therefore, we had a hard time figuring out which of the small trails would lead us back on the Everest Base Camp trek. But we managed and after a short climb, we reached a lookout where we could only guess how fantastic the panoramic view must be. But we were in an excellent mood and acknowledged that not everyone was lucky enough to enjoy this place in such a mystic fog. I guess Evgeny and I should become coaches for self-motivation.
Walking through the clouds
Nearly 80% of the easy and short climb to Dughla (4620m) was covered in fog. This weather condition didn’t bother us too much since we were fighting with heavy legs and deep breathing. Here, we started to grasp the impact on the body of the people climbing to the top of Mount Everest. If such an expedition would ever have been on my mind, this was the day I have deleted this item from my bucket list. Sure, the Everest Base Camp (adding another 900m in altitude from here) is doable. But there is no way, which I will ever continue from there to ascent to 8000 meters.
It took us the better part of the morning to cover the small distance to Dughla. Our original plan was to continue after breakfast and head on to Lobuche (4930m). But I felt tired, the little terrace at the Dughla lodge was very inviting, and the warm sun had appeared in the meantime. So I asked Evgeny whether we could extend our rest a bit. Just next, to the lodge starts a steep zig zag climb to the ridge. Drinking tea and watching the same people for hours slowly ascending, didn’t help at all to motivate me to continue.
Transportation in the mountains
Watching tourists coming and going, with their different moods and habits, was an eye opener. Some of them were outright rude to the locals or their porters. And some people were out of their depth. Until now, I was sure these stories were urban legends – but: We saw people in sandals, shorts and t-shirts going up to the Base Camp. I witnessed first hand how a tourist was eating almost all the food he ordered before complaining that it was not edible – asking for a full refund. I didn’t expect to go on the Base Camp Trek to watch humanity under a microscope. But hell, this was a strange people experience at Dughla.
Although we had crossed many local porters before, we now had the time to be amazed by all the goods they are carrying. A never ending connection of porters was hauling everything from the lower valleys to the high altitudes: Wooden walls, mattresses, and plastic fresh water tanks twice the size of the porter. The bigger the item they carried, the more difficult it was for them to fight the constant wind which was blowing through the valley. Sure, from time to time we could hear helicopters working their way up the valley. But those vehicles were not carrying goods. They were taking tourists instead.