I was pleased to see that the two Australians were still alive this morning. They had arrived last night one of them suffering from bad headaches had gone straight to bed the other picked forlornly at his dinner before heading of to his room as well. They had made it in two days from Lukla to Pangboche “because we are really fit”. When several people pointed out they were suffering altitude sickness and were likely to kill themselves they expressed some surprise and when asked if they hadn’t read the warnings everywhere told us “who reads that stuff?” Personally I always wonder how people like that reach adulthood. But they are far from the only ones and on the upside they do keep the helicopter rescue service in business
The trail this morning leaves the last trees behind and the views keep getting better with snow capped mountains everywhere. The hotel I pick for my stay once I arrive in Dingboche looks nice but turns out to be a branch of Fawlty Towers with 3 young guys trying to run the place in an almost laughable manner. They muck up orders have trouble making tea and once a pre-booked group arrives loose the plot completely. Just when I think of looking for another place the owner arrives and remarkably within ten minutes everything is like you would expect it to be.
After things settle down I get into an interesting conversation with some members of the newly arrived trekking group. One of the older group members asserts quite aggressively that trekking by yourself is unsafe and implies that I’m irresponsible by doing so. I counter that in my opinion, it’s him that runs the greater risk by abdicating the decision of when, where and how to trek to a guide who has in all likelihood no other qualifications than that he speaks English. Needless to say, it’s on for young and old after that statement and everyone jumps in with their opinions. After awhile we settle on some common ground that group trekkers are more likely to ascend when unwell because of group-think and the pressure, real or imagined, to conform and that individual trekkers have less access to an organized response when they get into trouble.