After breakfast, we had a short acclimatization hike 1,100 ft. up the Nargkartshang Peak near an old seasonally used gompa. It was cool and by that I mean air temp. A light dusting of snow had covered the ground again overnight and unfortunately, the clouds were low and thick. Blocked from our view were four 8,000m peaks: Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu. Returning to the lodge for lunch I didn't feel bad about missing Mountain Conditioning.
As an option, another hike for the afternoon was available: 45 minutes over to Pheriche to listen to a lecture on the effects and potential dangers of high altitude. Many of us opted out and were feeling pretty good about our decision as we watched more snow come down from the comforts of our burning Yak dung heated dining hall. FYI: burning Yak dung does not smell like burning shit. It's a bit more woody.
It's been great to just hang out and chat with folks. One trekker works in finance at Shell Oil and is ticking off the world's greatest treks. Another has read about Everest for years and always wanted to see it but no real interest in doing mountaineering. He and his 25-year daughter are trekking together. There is another father - daughter doing the trek too. He climbed Island Peak four years ago and she is a small business owner.
There are three other folks that I will be climbing Island Peak with: a woman from Seattle that has done tons of climbing raising money for cancer research with Fred Hutchinson; an ESL teacher from Alabama that works in Seoul; and a CEO of a biotech company. Everyone has a great story. Such a diverse group of people.
Munching on the now expected cheese, crackers, tomato, and cucumber as we wait for diner at 6. It feels good to rest.
Tomorrow we head to Lobuche where we will see and begin to parallel the Khumbu Glacier all the way to Everest Base Camp. The big challenge of the day will be climbing the 800 ft. steep hill that is actually the terminus of the glacier. The climbers will spend two nights at Lobuche, where as the trekkers will move on to Gorak Shep after one night. It's hard to believe that we will be in Everest Base Camp in just three days.
FYI: I'm not planning to walk down to the end of the village to the Internet cafe to post this so, it will likely go out tomorrow or I might try the sat phone again.