Today has been a taste of things to come as the team left the relative comforts of their hotel in Xigatse at 3,900 metres, to travel to a new high point for the trip of 5,500 metres – Lhakpa La, the entrance to the Everest National Park.
However, undertaking just a 500 metre walk to the view point proved really taxing for the team due the low levels of oxygen at this height, with some starting to experience shortness of breath and headaches. Despite the many months of training preparation he has undertaken, Challenger Simon Wright said that, “I can’t believe how much energy it took to walk 500 metres up a 100 metre ascent and back down again.”
Those that made the walk were however treated to their first glimpse of Everest.
Wooden Spoon Rugby Manager, Matt Mitchell, explained that “Performing some of the most simple tasks – such as turning on my phone camera – is proving to be a challenge at altitude. Keeping ourselves hydrated seems to be the key to avoiding the effects of altitude sickness, so we are drinking at least two litres of water each day”. The team are travelling with a doctor, who is providing essential support and medication to address the – at this stage – minor ills of upset stomachs and headaches. The goal is to keep everyone fit enough to play the Guinness World Record breaking games on 30th April/1st May at 6,500 metres.
The reality of the rigours of the trip also kicked in when the team checked into their hostel this evening, which is quite basic, although of course much warmer and more comfortable than their tented accommodation when they reach Base Camp tomorrow.
However, the humour and team spirit which the Challengers have demonstrated so far is still in evidence.
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