<- Day 8
April 7th 2019
Gokyo Ri Summit (17,570 ft) from Gokyo ( 15,744 ft)
Today was the day we all were waiting for. We were supposed to be climbing Gokyo Ri mountain if weather permitted. Babu told us last night that we would need to head out at 5 am to view the sunrise over the Himalayan Panorama.
Anuj and I woke up at 4.20am, looked outside the window, and saw that the storm had stopped at night. We got super excited that we would get to summit the mountain. We quickly got ready and headed to the dining hall at 4.45 am. It was too early for breakfast, Babu insisted that we ate something, so we shared a cliff bar. We waited for everyone to show up, it was 10 minutes after 5 am when Babu suggested that we start walking with Yuvraj and he would bring everyone else as soon as they got there.
It was still dark, cold and there were many patches of icy trails. We carefully navigated our way, we didn’t want to slip and fall. I regretted the fact that we didn’t pack our microspikes. The climb was very steep and uneven as we moved up the mountain. It was more powdery as we headed up, which made it a little easier to walk on.
The day started breaking in, I looked up and saw a clear sky. We were so lucky! I hadn’t seen a clear sky like this in the past two days. 45 minutes in, the sun rose behind the ridge with the Everest and Cho La Pass. What a glorious moment! The mountains around us lit with bright golden color! This moment was totally worth waking up early for. This was a perfect time to pause, admire the views and drink some water.
We started walking up towards the top, it was a steady steep uphill climb. We couldn’t see the top, but we constantly climbed over several ridges before we got to the rocky section, where we felt like it was the end, but we learned that there was another third of the climb still left. It was getting tiring at this point and I started slowing down, partly because I kept taking many breaks to look around roaring mountain peaks, and I also kept on looking down to see if I saw Ritu and Jas would catch up with us.
Both of us, along with Yuvraj finally made it to the top at 8.30 am. This was the final achievement of our nine-day journey! This was the moment, I choked with sentiments, I made it here with my 14-year-old, these were the best nine-day spent together, a perfect mother-son challenge, the waves of laughter and some of the toughest moments we shared would live in our memories forever, we hugged tightly!
Next, I looked up and around, this indeed was the most breathtaking Himalayan panorama I had ever seen! There were 360 degrees of pure bliss, an unbelievable scene. I was having a hard time to wrap my head around the fact that I was seeing four of the world’s top six highest mountain peaks right in front of me, not in the photo, not on tv, all real, unfiltered, all with my own naked eyes! I asked Yuvraj to help me recognize all the peaks I was seeing, I wanted to know it all, I wanted it all to get etched in my memories, I just didn’t want to leave the place.
The sun was a little higher up now, there was no wind and the temperatures were just comfortable for us to stay there for a long time. We walked around everywhere to see all the sides. Most groups were making it to the summit now. We met the team UK- the couple we met at Machhermo, the gentleman from the Czech Republic, the publicist we met at Dole and also the solo hiker from Newzealand – we celebrated our success with every one of them. We kept waiting for our team, Yuvraj had been in touch with Babu and said they were close to making it up to the top with Babu.
Anuj and I soaked it all in before we started heading back down. We met Ritu and Jas very close to the summit, they were climbing up with Babu, both were almost there! I admired their grit and determination, I was so glad to have met them, one of the most courageous mother-daughter team I have known. Babu said Kalpu was near the top as well, and Hema climbed the first portion to see the views and decided to return with porter. It was nice to hear that everyone was safe and making their ways.
We started heading back down slowly and carefully. The snow on the trails had started melting, making it a bit more difficult to climb down. We caught up with Kalpu on the mountain, shared stories and hugged. It was a long tiring day. We made it back to the lodge a little before noon.
I started getting this massive headache which wouldn’t go away with all types of pain meds. I took a nap and hoped it would go away, but it didn’t. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hike up to the fifth lake the next day with that headache. I didn’t want to overthink, I rested the remaning of the day while everyone else sipped hot tea, took naps and played cards.
We all were tired and passed out very early that day.