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Dingboche to Labuche
by Denis Oakley in

Dingboche to Labuche
This update cpvers three days. This is partly due to a desire to conserve battery power and partly because nothing interesting happened for a while.
On arrival in Dingboche I was suffering from stomach cramps and diarrhea and the Doctor prescribed me some antibiotics -ciprofloxacin and metronizadol to help sort it out. Consequently the next day - which was a rest day - I decided top stay in camp and do nothing. I did some yoga in the morning and spent the afternoon reading.The antibiotics had a pretty quick effect.
The next day we hasd 2-3 inches of snow on the campsite bu dawn and the decision was made not to move for the day. Disappointing. I was keen to move but instead spent the day reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy which was gripping.
This morning the weather had cleared and the snow had gone. I was feeling good and slotted in about 5th or 6th from the front. The first 20 minutes were quite hard as we went straight uphill and the group started to move away from me. As we climbed up onto the ridge above Pheriche eveything started working properly again and I was able to move forward for the next while with very little discomfort.
The secret truly seems to be to move at a pace where the oxygen upplied by your lungs is more than adequate for your needs. Breathiong heavily seems to rapidly result in bad consequences - particyularly in headaches, sore throats and hot aching lungs.
We reached Thokla quickly and had a leisurely lunch surrounded by amazing Himalayan peaks. There were lots of clouds and blue skies and every so often the clouds would move to reveal an impossible high peak. Wow!
After lucnh there was a steep climb up from Thokla to the Khumbu Glacier. 300m of ascent in just over a kilometre. Slow, steady and no heavy breathing. No stopping either - which is slowly becoming a mantra for these long hard efforts.
Heat control was difficult. There was a very hot sun and a very icy wind.. You couldn't satisfy the demands of both and I always seemed too hot or too cold.
At the top of the climb which was on the verge of being runable/walkable (on the descent) there were a large number of memorials of climbers and sherpas (sometimes the same) who had died on Everest. I moved through quickly finding it quite painful and only read two as I passed. One to a japanese climber and one to a bulgarian expedition which seemed to have been wiped out judging from the number of names of the plaque. Requiem in pacet.
Everyone stopped at the top for a breather and I continued on with a vague idea of making Lobuche and then proceeding on towards Gorak Shep. I saw several mall mammals - rabbit analogues as well as some pheasants and a coulpe of maginificent eagles very close.
The pth was nice - dirt and quite runablle with a few small technical patches everyso often. On the left the mountains. On the right the massive morraine wall of the Khumbu Glacier.
I reached Lobuche quickly and decided to press on. Beyond Lobuche it became increasingly hard. I wasn't suffering from AMS but there was definitely a pre-headache lurking and there was a greyness around the edgeas of my vision. I slowed down and made the decision to turn back if I got a headache or the weather worsened.
I reached the point where I could see the climb to the Lobuche pass and then it started snowing. It was cold and I turned in my tracks and headed back down towards Lobuche.
Whilst ascending I had had on several occasions to pasuse every few steps for breath and composure. On the way down I was able to move at a similar pace to what I would use in the hills in the Uk at sea level. I was wearing too many clothes to run but had another of those "I can do this" moments.
Approaching Lobuche I decided to head up onto the morraine to have a look at the Khumbu Glacier. it was a very steep hard climb - maybe a 100m high - perhaps more. At the top I looked straight down onto the Khumbu glacier which was a disappointment. It must have been massively shrunken from the times when it created such huge morraine walls.
It was cold and the blizzard was increasing so I headed down quickly to Lobuche.The descent was fast and I got some good speed but unsuprisingly it came at a cost to my lungs and unexpecedly fast overheating.
A good day
Race day kit - I've been thinking more about this and am now prettyset on wearing compression tights and top (with a singlet in my back pack for if the temperature increases too much)
Speed - I don't think I am going to be hugely fast but my experience coming down today suggests that at the very least I should be able to maintain a fast mile devouring walking pace certainly from not far above Lobuche. This leaves 10 potential problem kilometres to cope with. we'll find out about them in the bext couple of days.
As well as the fast walking I'm pretty confident that as I head down the valley I will sprout wings and be able to fly along. I have a lot of confidence in my endurance and strength. My shoes are great and as oxygen feeds back into my lungs I will truly be an angel of speed. Alas I suspect that most Nepalis will still beat me. :(
That said it appears that few Nepalis are able to run and most slow down significantly after 2-3 hours. Not enopugh for me to catch the front runners. I should be able to run at least some of the weaker ones down


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