May 3 high camp - climb Loubuche East.

 
Lottie's report: 3am start and I'm already flapping! I couldn't quite decide on jacket-socks-clothing combination, but we were ready to leave by 4am. We set off on a sharp climb out of camp and I immediately overheated. [keep reading...]
It was really hard and I just thought "I can't do this" I took my big down jacket off, and carried on and then we stopped after about an hour. As I changed my boots, told Hugo "I really don't think I can do this". As always he was completely supportive and non-judgemental, We agreed that I would go on as far as I could with Dendi looking after me and turn around at any time. Ade and Doug went off with Hugo and Gaulgin and I started to climb.
 
Did I say crossing the Chola pass was the hardest thing I've ever done? Wrong again! I took some reserves from somewhere and started to climb - I can't describe adequately how hard this was. We started on rocks clambering up and up and then the rocks gave way to snow - I then had to use an ice axe to support me which felt alien and worse still was the cold steel chilling my hands.
 
The climb was often sheer, and I was wondering why there were no ropes fixed - which is what we were practicing yesterday. I wasn't too far behind until Dendi set me up a rope to help me up a particularly steep section. On and on we climbed until we reached the crampon spot - where Dendi put on my crampons and we climbed up over a glacier to a level position below where the push to the summit would start. I knew I had reached my summit at that point - Dendi told me it was another 2 hours to the top we had already been going four and a half hours and I knew I still had to get down. I really felt no sense of failure at all and I very proudly watched the four figures ahead of me start on the climb to the top. I had panoramic views of Everest and its base camp and it felt very powerful to be standing looking down on the massive tented camp 1000s of feet below me.
 
[Hugo’s words: Summiting Lobuche Peak was great fun. A real mountaineers mountain with steep scrambling, rock cliffs and an ice head wall over 70 degrees steep. Great views from the top and Doug and Ade did amazingly well to summit a very tough peak. Also a shout out to Gyalzey who did a great job of fixing the rope ahead of us.]
 
[Lottie continues: ] The way down was just as hard, but somehow because I'd made the decision to descend I just went at my pace as carefully as I could. I can't speak more highly for Dendi who was with me every step - often holding my hand as we crossed particularly icy or steep parts. Three times he set up a line for me to abseil down really steep sections. Half way down his nephew turned up he was on his way down from the summit - did I say that Dendi knows everyone on these mountains! They helped me down every step of the way, and I will always have a huge soft spot in my heart for this strong little man who has twice been to the top of Everest and who took such good care of me.
 
I got back to camp at around 11.30am - 7 and a half hours after setting off and collapsed into my tent and slept like the dead for a couple of hours. The sun was beating down and it felt amazing.
 
From camp I had a great view of the summit and when I arrived back I could see four pin pricks just coming down from the top. I was so happy that the boys had obviously summited, but knew I'd have four hours for them to arrive back. I dozed and waited and sat by the side of the tarn waiting for them to get back. Eventually around the corner of the mountain they came into sight. I couldn't have been prouder of Ade for what he'd achieved, and also for Doug who, with no mountaineering experience, had got to the top of an over 20,000ft mountain. I know it had been really hard work, the two hours from the crampon point that they took to climb to the summit had been a relentless 70 degree climb. I know it meant a great deal to Ade to summit a significant mountain out here and I really couldn't be prouder of him.
 
Even though everyone was shattered we decided to take down the high camp and walk back to base camp. It was actually a lovely "bimble" down a very steep slope to slightly richer air and our cosy tent.