Mt Everest Trek: Day nine

By Ian Connellan 7 November 2013
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Our editor sees kite flying and the first signs of snow against an unforgettable backdrop on his Himalayan adventure.

Read more about the AG Society supported Ama Dablam Everest Trek in Nepal, run by World Expeditions.

DAY NINE: There’s a little snow overnight and an unreasonable amount of excitement about it in the morning. Unreasonable because it isn’t very much and, like all snow, it’s rather cold. The frosty rime spread over camp is helping to bring temperatures down, and it’s the coldest morning yet. There’s a lot of silent hugging of porridge bowls in the mess tent until sun peeks over Ama Dablam’s flank and touches the tent walls; instantly we’re warming up.

We set off up the valley, following yak trails that contour along the side of the foothills. The Imja Khola is below us and the sound of its swift-flowing water is the morning muzak. We pass stonewalled yak fields and herders’ huts as the breeze picks up and the sun beats down to warm us. The wind is steady by the time we stop for lunch and all the trekkers and crew are entertained when trekkers Linda and Adrian Weedon fly my kite high over the lunch stop. Higher up there’s a flock of vultures circling. We wonder if they’ll come down to check out the kite: they don’t.

The afternoon is notionally easy but it proves to be quite enervating. We follow poorly-used tracks near the river and spend a lot of time breaking through spiky, fragrant shrubs. The wind is picking up all the while and temperatures are dropping; we’re headed for a campsite at about 4500 m near Bibre. We haven’t long been in camp when a few spots of sago snow rattle against the tents; by 5pm it’s snowing properly. Views are obscured — and this is a shame because we’re now only 7 km from 7861 m Nuptse, and about 10 km from 8501 m Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain; the rampart-like ridge that connects them rises almost sheer for 3 km from the valley just north-east of us.

The snow continues; at least it’s keeping temperatures a little higher than they were last night.

Read more from Ian’s daily Himalayan blog.