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Heading down

Sun 31 Oct 2010 16:43 » Jon

We had a pretty relaxed start today, leaving base camp at around 09:00, by which time I’d managed to wash (in a bowl again), eat and sort out my kit.

There was a small amount of blue sky when I crawled out of the tent but the change in the weather that Andy first spotted from the summit of Lobouje East has continued today. The blue sky disappeared pretty quickly and the walk down to Pheriche was pretty cold, then after lunch it began snowing. It’s been very light all afternoon but began properly dumping once we’d arrived in Pangboche and were safely inside our lodge. The fir trees now have a layer of snow on them and it’s beginning to settle on the ground, but nothing too serious to affect our little walk yet. The only question is whether the airport in Lukla will cope…

As the weather has worsened today I’ve become increasingly grateful for our weather window. Although we lost 5 days at the start due to the delayed flight to Lukla, we’ve had perfect weather since we climbed above 4,000m soon after Deboche. We had blue sky for the walk up the valley and for all three summits, which is all we could ask for really. Losing the chance to do Gokyo Ri is a shame, but a sacrifice I’d happily make to have good weather for our summit days. Snow and rain the next two days wouldn’t be the end of the world, as long as we get to fly on Wednesday. If we’re hit by more delays at Lukla then our flight home to the UK on Friday could become a bit of an issue.

When we reached Dugla about an hour into the walk this morning we rejoined the EBC trail. After the solitude of Lobouje it was a horrible shock to be back on such a busy route – suddenly there are trekkers everywhere and we’ve realised how luck we were to be off the main trails. Today we were queuing at times as we followed some very slow groups down the valley – one Japanese group looked like they were going to take weeks just to reach the next village, they were going so slowly!

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