Gokyo and Snow

I arrive in Gokyo mid morning with my temporary trekking buddy Sophie to find blue skies and thin air. Higher than I’d ever been before, my pace was reduced to a slow plod. Gokyo is situated next to the 3rd of 6 sacred lakes in a chain fed by a glacier and high in copper, leaving them a brilliant blue hue. After a bit of tea, Sophie and I headed up the ridge to see the dry glacier (covered by dirt and rock) and Gokyo from above. Solo once more as Sophie made her way down towards Namche, I caught some time with my book and writing a postcard or two.
After an uneventful evening for me (the two poor doctors had to evacuate 3 people by helicopter and keep one in a PAC bag overnight) I woke up at 4 to make an attempt at Gokyo Ri for sunrise. Seeing heavy cloud cover, I decided to hold off for the next day, and hike to the other lakes later in the morning. When I awoke, I was feeling the altitude amd decided to lay low as the snow started. And kept coming. Next morning it was mid-thigh deep and still coming down hard, I decided that today was the last time for a while I had a chance to get down, but the trail down to Machermo was treacherous, known for the avalanche that killed 13 Japanese trekkers a few years ago. If I was going to do it, there was safety in numbers, so we grouped everyone leaving into one pack and made our way down to the bridge, the start of the slide zone. From here the next kilometer was an adrenaline-enhanced blur, running from terrain trap to terrain trap. I was 10′ from a porter who was caught in a slide and pushed off a cliff into the river below, amazingly okay. The next slide buried a few trekkers and killed a yak or two but I had one thought, get myself down ASAP. (I later learned that all the humans caught in the slide were rescued safely). Once in Machermo, I headed for the rescue post to deliver some messages from the doctors in Gokyo, warm up, and help pump the PAC bag for yet another victim of altitude sickness (HAPE in this case). After a long night at the post, and getting roped (literally) into climbing onto the roof to clear the solar panels to charge the O2 concentrator, I was ready for bed.

One thought on “Gokyo and Snow”

  1. This is intense! Like something from a movie! Glad you’re alright my friend. I continue to watch your GPS/flickr. Take care and enjoy the rest of your trip.

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