Lack of oxygen

Thorung Phedi

Wednesday 20th March

My heart is pounding and I’m gasping for breathe in an atmosphere with reduced oxygen. I follow Jim’s feet, not having the courage or energy to look up.

We’re climbing from Thorang Phedi (photo above) to High Camp (photo below), a climb of 400m straight up, ready to cross the pass tomorrow. I am barely shuffling forward, one foot only slightly in front of the other. When a larger step up is required, I have to rest until my breathing is regular again and my heart rate has slowed.

We reach High Camp at 4850m, higher than Mont Blanc, and we’re tired and breathless (at least I am), but luckily we’re not suffering any of the worrying signs of altitude. We’ve passed quite a few people going down while we’ve been heading higher and higher. One Israeli group are down to three people from an original nine. Our slow acclimatisation, field walking and surveying on the way up has paid off.

Tomorrow, we’re up at 4:30am to cross the pass, 500m further up, although Dil assures me today’s climb was the harder.

I will be relieved to be losing altitude and am looking forward to breathing normally again…

Location: High Camp
Altitude: 4850m

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