© Copyright: Stefan Burkhardt

Kala Pattar... twice!

Previous Day October 9th 2008
Start: Gorak Shep, 5150 m, 4:50
Arrival: Gorak Shep, 5150 m, 13:05
Duration: 8:15
Breaks: 1:25 at the top of Kala Pattar, 2:10 in Gorak Shep, a few short breaks going up plus 10 minutes at the top the second time
Estimated climb: 850 m
Estimated descent: 850 m
Next Day
I got up at 4:30 in the morning to head out early. Irene was tired and decided to stay in bed, so I set off with Bhim at 4:50. It was pretty cold, perhaps -10 to -15, but we walked relatively quickly which warmed me up. Kala Pattar has a fake summit which makes you belive you are 'almost there' but instead you are only half way up. Nevertheless, it was much easier than Gokyo Ri for me since we started higher and the trail was never as steep as the one up Gokyo Ri. We made it to the top in just above one hour (damn, should have left the backpack with 8 kg of camera gear.... ;). While we waited for the sun to rise, I started to get quite cold. I was wearing pretty much all the clothes I had brought on the trek and still getting cold feet. Fortunately there was only very little wind.

When the sun finally started to hit Everest and other high peaks, I started to take a lot of pictures. Looking north, south and west was quite beatiful, but as I had expected, Everest was a bit of a disappointment since it was lit from the other side.
Amai Dablam was a bit better, at least it was possible to get a glimpse of the northeast face in pink.
Standing at the top of Kala Pattar with Pumori in the background. It was so early, we were the only two people around.
Pumori was beatifully lit from the side.
Huge snow drifts on the eastern ridge of Pumori.
Yet another shot of Pumori.
After almost 90 minutes on the top we were pretty cold and headed back down against a stream of people coming up from Gorak Shep. Everest was surrounded by high altitude clouds and the wind had started to pick up. We raced down in 30 minutes, so much easier than going up...
I had breakfast, spotted some icicles in the shower and went back to bed for an hour or so. Irene was up by now and we decided to go up again because there were still no clouds to be seen. The lake at Gorak Shep was now in the sun but the wind was quite fierce by now. Fortunately, it pushed us up the hill so it was not all bad. Going up the second time we were much slower, there were many photo stops and we made it to the top just past noon.
Halfway up, Everest was surrounded by beatiful wispy clouds.
My calibration shot for the tripod timed exposure. Despite the sun, the wind still cooled us off very quickly at the top.
Together at the top!
We started back down after just 10 minutes since it was so cold. The picture on the left was taken looking west. The glacier coming down Pumori from the righ was much higher than on my map.
The Khumbu Ice fall and glacier. The Mount Everest base camp is just behind the tip of the black ridge in the foreground but not visible in this picture.
This close-up shot shows the tents in the base camp. We heard there was a big Italian expedition at BC.

After heading back to Gorak Shep, we had lunch, took a nap and relaxed for the rest of the day, chatting with our Spanish friends as well as Yvonne and Rene who had gone to base camp that day.
In the evening, the clouds that had moved in during the afternoon cleared a little and sunset was glorius again. I guess I should have gone up Kala Pattar a third time, but I was a bit tired so I just headed up for 10 or 15 minutes to get a slightly better view of Everest.
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