24 Oct, 2018

Day 9 – Kala Patthar

Written by: Russ

South Downs Way





Elevation gain:


Watch the video

Day 9 route overview

It’s a short yet arduous hike to the top and at the highest elevations you’ll experience on the trek, look behind you though and the best views of Everest Summit await and are the true reward for all your efforts.


A short yet steep hike, but made much more difficult by the lack of oxygen at these altitudes.

Over the M3

Kala Patthar

The night before my sunrise summit of Kala Patthar I didn’t get much sleep. The altitude effects kept waking me up in the night and shortness of breath made me want to sit upright. The temperatures dropped to -25°C in the night, making it even more difficult to nod off. I decided to blow up my mattress and sleep in the lobby in the hope that the wood burner still had some heat. It didn’t but I tried to get at least a couple of hours.

Shortly after bedding down in the lobby, hikers started preparing for their sunrise trek up to Kala Patthar and I was forced to get up and do the same.

With no sleep, freezing temperatures and the altitude, Kala Patthar proved to be the toughest part of the trek. My body was being pushed to the limits but I had to try.

Over the M3

Turn around, what do you see?

An impressive alpenglow coated the mountaintops in the morning air and set the sky on fire. The thinness and frigidity of the atmosphere made it so vivid and colourful, I could see for miles.

Over the M3
Over the M3
Over the M3

Everest, up-close

There she was, standing tall. Mount Everest looked like it was only a stone’s throw away. A wisp of cloud rolling behind the summit caught the sunlight and was set alight making it the best photo I took on the hike. I still had a long way to go to the top and it was so cold it was unbearable to stand still.

Over the M3
Over the M3

Mission complete

A few steps further and my body decided to take over and stop me in my tracks. I came over faint and dizzy and wanted to vomit. It came on so suddenly. The lack of sleep and a hot meal in the morning made matters worse. Had I eaten something, would this be happening? I couldn’t go any further. I knew when enough was enough and so, I decided to leave the photograph of my mum’s late sister, Linda under a rock. My fingers were so cold I could barely reach for the photo to get it out of my pack. My backpack felt frozen and brittle, my vision blurred and I could barely speak.

That moment was when I reached my limit. Until then I didn’t know what my limit was but knew it when it came along. I secured the photo before making a final push to stand up and turn back to head down to Gorak Shep.

This marked the end of my journey, but I still had 3 magical days to go when heading down to Lukla. I’ll return to the Himalayas someday, but nothing will ever top my first trek to Everest Base Camp.

Over the M3
Over the M3



  • Views and vista 100% 100%
  • Difficulty 100% 100%
  • Elevation gain 70% 70%

Start time:


End time:



Tea houses

Buddha Lodge, Gorak Shep



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