18 October 2018
Hello everyone from Khare, on our acclimatisation day.
We started today with our kit check. Our guides checked our mountaineering boots, crampons, ice axes, harnesses and clothes. I haven’t had to do this before on any previous trek and it brought it home that this was a serious undertaking.
Due to the cold and wind at the moment (current forecasts range from 40 – 60mph winds and -30 and -32 temperatures), I was advised to buy some padded warm trousers. This will be on top of two thermal bottom layers and my thick trekking trousers! I didn’t argue and, as many of you know, I love shopping but these are the least attractive item of clothing I think I have ever bought! If they keep me warm, though, I’ll be very grateful.
We then trekked up to 5,200m in our mountaineering boots which was incredibly hard work. It turns out that walking around my garden in them doesn’t really replicate wearing them at over 5,000m in the Himalayas up steep mountains! We walked on a very steep and narrow path that I would find hard at sea level but I managed it with only a couple of hands to help at points. The views from the top were more than worth the pain in getting there. One of our team gave me an impromptu lesson in coming down steep hills – walking like John Wayne apparently! It worked a treat and I came down safely.
We then visited the German Bakery! It was amazing again! We then spent time packing and getting organised for tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning we head up onto the glacier to Mera La, the lower base camp at 5,400m where we will camp for the night. On Saturday, we will trek up to Mera Peak High Camp at 5,900m where we will camp for a few hours before setting out for our summit attempt at about 3am on Sunday morning. We have seen the summit clearly now and it looks a long way away still – just under a vertical mile above us!
I am excited as I have planned this for over a year. I am, however, incredibly nervous. The cold, the altitude and the terrain will need me to be at my best, both mentally and physically. I can only control certain elements – I can’t control the weather or how my body reacts to that altitude. I am trying to take each stage at a time and not worry about the future stages.
Knowing I am doing this for charity makes a huge difference. More than anything though, your support has, once again been so wonderful. Everyday I wake up to messages – videos, voice messages, what’s apps, emails, tweets and LinkedIn messages. I can’t tell you how much it means when I am sat at over 5,000m in a beautiful but incredibly remote part of our stunning world. I’ll be thinking of you all as I put one foot in front of the other and attempt to reach the summit. I’ll update you on the other side! Thanks so much everyone.