Gorak Shep 5164m/16942 ft.
Summit of Kala Patthar 5643m/18514 ft.
From Everest BaseCamp you can’t actually see Mt. Everest, it’s blocked by smaller, closer peaks. The only place for a rookie like me to get a good look at the peak – besides a distant view from Namche Bazaar – is by climbing a ridge above Gorak Shep called Kala Patthar. This is really the goal of this trek but since nobody has heard of Kala Patthar it’s just easier to say you’re going to EBC.
Kala Patthar is just a small peak, too small to qualify as a mountain, and it’s part of a ridge up to the mountain Pumori. The “summit” is 18,500 feet but we started from 16,900 feet at Gorak Shep, so it’s a steep 1,500-foot climb that takes 90-120 minutes. Many people leave pre-dawn to catch the sunrise over Everest but, after a long day yesterday we decided to sleep in. We left at 6am.
Last night was quietly joyful as we reveled in our success and also worried a bit about our friend who was on oxygen. You definitely notice the altitude here through the cold, dry air and a slight headache. It was no surprise that the bedroom here was the coldest yet. I so wished I could just curl up by the wood stove in the dining room. Even though I was in the habit getting into my sleeping bag before changing into the long johns I slept in I was still shivering. I used my clothes and jackets as a makeshift blanket on top of my bag.