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Adapting to the Unforeseen on the trek to Machhermo

High-Altitude Challenges: Adapting to the Unforeseen on the trek to Machhermo

Day 06: Thursday, April 21, 2011 (Dole to Machhermo | 5-hour trek)

Join us on our Trek to Machhermo, as we navigate through stunning landscapes, face unforeseen challenges, and make difficult decisions. Discover the beauty and peril that coexist in the Himalayas, and learn how we adapted our plans to prioritize the health and safety of our group. Experience the highs and lows of our journey, and witness how we persevered in the face of adversity during this unforgettable five-hour trek.

the only ascent of the day

Despite feeling mentally fatigued, we were reassured that today’s journey would be relatively short, with no more than four hours of walking. With spirits slightly lifted, we began our day’s adventure by climbing a hill behind our hotel. This was to be the only ascent of the day, and we completed it in no time. The trail then led us to a mesmerizing location surrounded by towering, snow-capped peaks. Below us, a river flowed through a seemingly bottomless valley. The awe-inspiring landscape instantly dispelled our weariness.

Over the next couple of hours, we continued walking, captivated by the stunning views on offer. Many in our group eagerly captured these magical moments with their cameras. Suddenly, a small settlement appeared below us, and we were overjoyed to learn it was our destination for the day. The four-hour trek our guides had promised had indeed taken precisely that long. We eagerly made our way to our hotel, set down our day packs, and awaited the arrival of the rest of our group.

reaching Machhermo

Machhermo was a charming village nestled at the base of soaring, snow-covered peaks. Clouds hovered just below the mountaintops, partially concealing them while their summits peeked out. The sunlight filtering through the clouds created an enchanting sight. However, our guides reminded us that we were above 4,000 meters, and this idyllic valley could become a “death valley” for those unable to acclimatize. At the Rescue Post, a doctor discussed altitude sickness, and as we listened with bated breath, one of our fellow trekkers suddenly collapsed. After vomiting several times and showing severe dehydration, he received treatment for a couple of hours but displayed no improvement. He had to be evacuated. We soon learned that two others were also unwell and had decided to remain at Luza, a settlement en route to Machhermo.

a difficult decision

Back at the hotel, we found many others in poor health. The doctor advised that we seriously consider descending for better acclimatization. After consulting with our guides, we reworked our itinerary to descend to Portse Tanga, acclimatize properly, and take the regular route to base camp. This meant abandoning our plans to visit Gokyo Lake and Chola Pass. It was a difficult decision, but we prioritized the well-being of our group and our ultimate goal of a successful journey to the base camp.

Coming up next – The Great Descent

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