After struggling with increasing back problems for some days, this morning Jerry decided he had to return to Kathmandu. Everybody was extremely sorry at this turn of events. The decision was extremely difficult but was respected and understood by all. After exchanging fond farewells, the rest of us continued to Lobuche. The first hour of our walk today took us along level but stony ground to the hamlet of Phulung Karpo, which is a few rustic buildings for the herdsmen who graze yaks. After that the ground started to rise steadily as we climbed the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier which flows west from Everest. We had a light lunch at Dughla at about eleven and then continued climbing steadily along the lateral moraine, eventually reaching the stone monuments which mark the extraordinary achievements of those who have lost their lives on Everest. To the west spectacular mountains towered over us, while to the north east the Lhotse Nuptse ridge became more visible. Mt Everest is still hidden behind this ridge. Richard has told us that our morning call is at 2:45! We have all our kit ready for a quick cup of tea and then off into the night at -15 Celsius with our head torches in search of Gorak Shep for breakfast at 6:30 and then on to Kala Pattar, 5540 M or 18200ft, the summit of DrekTrek’s expectations (this time).

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