Climbing higher than Mont Blanc – a tough but rewarding day in the Himalayas

16 October 2018

Hello everyone from Tangnag. We’ve spent the day here acclimatising. It’s been a tough but rewarding day. 

It was a cold evening – minus 1 inside our rooms. I managed to sleep well, wrapped up in five layers! We woke to stunning views of Mera. Every day, the sun comes out in the morning but by midday the cloud comes in very quickly and it becomes cold and atmospheric. 

We had breakfast before setting off for our acclimatisation hike. Many of you have asked about the food. It’s fair to say it’s fuel, not food! Given what the Tea House owners are cooking on, however, it is amazing that there is any food! The kitchens are tiny and they have small gas stoves. There is a mix of egg, rice and pasta available everywhere we go. I am trying to eat enough but it’s hard as my appetite has started to wane due to the altitude. I have mini mars bars with me and I eat a couple of those each day but I have no doubt I am in a calorie deficit! 

Our acclimatisation hike took us to 5,100m, which was a great achievement. It was very steep and so a tough but rewarding day. 

We set off before the sun came up and it was bitterly cold. My hands were painfully cold and so I will be trying my ‘Everest oven gloves’ tomorrow in the hope they keep me warmer. Once the sun came up, it was stunningly beautiful and I got sun burnt, despite using factor 50! It was still cold, though, and I was wearing several layers. The path up was incredibly steep and so hard work. It involved a boulder field at 5,000m which I would have found terrifying at sea level so I was delighted to complete it on my own. I focused on counting steps and supporting someone else who was struggling, which made me not worry about myself. 

Coming down was just as much of a challenge, due to the steepness. We have a great team now and put those who were nervous in between those who were more confident, to help cope with the difficult moments. We all got down successfully and were met by our porter crew with hot lemon, which tasted divine! 

We are moving up to Khare tomorrow before heading to base and then high camp, both camping, and then trying for the summit when the weather is clear. It’s getting very real now and my feelings are a mixture of nerves, excitement, doubt and gratitude for being here. It is a very special place. 

Thank you so much for the emails, texts, what’s apps and LinkedIn messages. I can’t tell you how much they mean to me.

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