20 October 2018
Hello everyone from High Camp for Mera Peak which is a tiny rocky outpost perched 700 vertical metres below Mera Peak at 5,800m. The scenery is stunning but the place itself is bleak. The wind is whipping through and it is so cold that we have to stay in our tents in all of our layers to keep warm.
Last night was a new experience for me – camping at such a high altitude. The food that our team managed to cook on tiny stoves was incredible – probably the best we have had all trek. We went to bed about 7.30pm as it was bitterly cold and we needed to be in our sleeping bags. I didn’t sleep well due to problems breathing at that altitude and the rocks under our thin mattresses! We woke to stunning scenery and the sun shining, although still well below freezing temperatures.
For those of you who have done similar treks, you will understand that toilet facilities leave a lot to be desired and it has been one of my worries throughout the trek! Last night was the worst of them all so far – when I headed to the toilet tent, it was being blown so much that it was at a 45 degrees angle!
We were tested last night for our oxygen levels and that led to one of our party being taken down this morning and so we are now a group of eight. It was concerning to see someone being given oxygen and sad that they couldn’t achieve their aim.
We had a good breakfast and set off onto the glacier. We walked up 500 vertical metres and it was harder than any marathon I have done. There were parts that were incredibly steep and each step literally felt like a mile. The wind was horrendous in parts and I had to make sure I steadied myself to avoid being blown over! It is hard to describe the effort needed to do anything here but simply taking a ruck sack off requires you to sit down and rest for five minutes afterwards. It is hard to eat as to close your mouth makes the breathing afterwards even more laboured.
We all made it to High Camp and are now wrapped up in our tents. I have on four lower layers, including two thermal layers and the delightful padded trousers that I bought. I also have on six upper layers, including three thermal layers, a fleece and a down jacket. All in my heavy duty sleeping bag! I am very worried about how cold it will be tomorrow at 3am but I hope I have enough to keep me warm enough until the sun comes up at 6am when it should warm a little bit.
I am very apprehensive but excited too. I’m delighted to have made it this far and tomorrow will be amazing if I can make it to the summit. I’ll be thinking of all your well wishes as I count my steps and avoid focusing on the pain, cold and wind.