Day 7: Need A Boost – Gokyo Ri

November 10, 2022
Start: Goyko 4790m (15,711ft)
Via: Goyko Ri 5357m (17,571ft)
Stop: Goyko 4790m (15,711ft)
Distance: 3km (1.9 miles)

I get up several times during the night to pee and the once flushing toilet is no longer working. It seems to be the water source and I wonder if the lines are frozen. My digestive system is still not happy. At breakfast, I attempt to eat a plain omelette but it’s not cooked enough. My stomach gives me a hard no on the gooey eggs. Today is considered a rest day but the plan is to do an acclimatizing hike up to the top of Gokyo Ri. It’s a nearly 2,000 ft. climb and I’ve been looking forward to it the whole trip.

I’m still trying to adjust my layers as we rock hop across the mouth of Gokyo Lake 3. Dipak, Sophie, Jeremy and Clearance move quickly up the trail as I slowly plod along. Bikram can tell that I’m not feeling well and he offers to carry my pack. I shake my head in refusal. My stomach and digestive track is full of uncomfortable pressure. Overall, my body doesn’t feel well and I have no energy. Caspar leads the way and sets a slow, steady pace. Mostly I just keep my head down and focus on taking one step at a time. Sometimes I make the mistake of looking up and I see that the summit is not even visible. But I know that I have the mental strength to keep moving until I reach the top. I look down the slope and Silke and Tiger are moving about our pace not far below us. We climb for hours as the village of Gokyo starts to look small below us.

As I take the last few steps towards the summit, I can hear the prayer flags whipping in the wind. Literally, the sound of prayers being answered. Have I really made it? It’s the thing I’ve been looking forward to before even starting this trip. Despite the sun, it’s cold enough that I don’t want to take off my gloves and I don my down jacket. I’m elated to be at the summit but you can’t tell by my face. I don’t have any energy for much celebration. I take several pictures of the stunning view in all directions. The Gokyo Lakes reflect glacial blue. The Himalaya’s largest glacier, Ngozumpa Glacier stretches beyond view. Peaks Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam and more whose names I don’t know all say hello. There’s a small bird at the summit, undoubtedly looking for crumbs from hikers, but it flies off before I can get a picture of it. Apparently 17,571 ft. is no problem for it.

Obviously, hiking down is a lot faster but it also is an incredible strain on the knees and joints. I strip off my down jacket once it becomes too warm. It takes about 1.5 hours to hike down what it took nearly 3 hours to hike up.

Back in Gokyo, I opt for toast lunch again. I try the shower and it’s almost warm water. It’s hard to control as it swings from scalding to freezing. Dr. Bronner’s for the hair which seemingly only makes my hair greasier? As I try to dry my hair in our chilled room, I watch the roaming yaks out the window. Several of them walk into the lake and stand there for a long time. With no energy to write in my journal, I spend the afternoon in bed. Caspar convinces me to have dinner in the room and I go out on a limb and have french toast and tea for dinner.