Stinks to High Heaven : Travelling Lhasa to Everest

You learn something new every day .. like from this Chinese travel agency´s altitude acclimatization section :

2. Please don’t take shower at the first two days when you are in Lhasa..

Setting this level it´s hardly surprising that their first advice is to avoid using oxygen , when this is at hand. But they have a very clear agenda here , acclimatizing as hard & fast as possible , with a bat out of hell approach from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp : one night in Shigatse (3850 , two hundred meters higher than Lhasa ) and the next night .. Rongbuk Monastery  at 5050 meters.

Some things are exactly as easy as they seem : choosing a location two hundred meters higher as a midway point between 3660 and 5050 gives small , next to  none , chances of adapting . Safety guide lines are routinely broken on road travel both in Tibet and the Indian Himalayas , and most scrape by (even though it may involve some frantic scurrying to rustle up medication and a night transport ) but taken far enough it sometimes involves the ultimate vacation failure : you die .

I’ve had the unfortunate experience of finding a deceased person in a guesthouse one morning (at 5000m elevation) the trip leader denied any responsibility what-so-ever when it was very obviously cerebral edema (= bad case of altitude illness) from ascending way to fast and then sleeping high.

You´ll find another example a Lhasa to oblivion tour in High Altitude Illness by Steven Bezruchka , MD.

Making safe tour from Lhasa to EBC is easy : get at least a night around 4000 , and visit , but don´t stay  overnight.

For a night stay in EBC  you need (apart from basic acclimatization to Lhasa´s altitude ) two nights to come close to safety guide lines : one night around 4000 , one night well over 4000. Common options are :

Gyantse (4025)

Lhatse (4020)

Sakya (4315)

Shegar (4300-ish ? )

Tashi Dzom

The more time (i.e. nights ) you put in at 4000+ , the more you will get out of the experience. For everyone who struggles to to make it through the night there are a lot more who are incapacitated , for every  one who is incapacitated there are a lot more who miss out on parts of what is happening from the subtler effects of hypoxia : mild nausea , lack of concentration , affected color vision , etc…

Quotes from TT thread , starting  here ( didn’t survive the Lonely Planet reconstruction in 2014 , apparently )

UPDATE :  Itinerary changed (one stop in Lhatse ) – but apparently it´s still dangerous to shower ..

Retreat to Gulaba

Renewed snowfall has swept back the BRO to their camp in Gulaba , just under three thousand meters ,for a fourth time.Before the last three days snowfall the clearing of the Manali-Leh highway had reached Rahni Nullah , just under the Rothang La , and started chipping away at the forty plus feet of snow there.

Road open up to Gulaba , road clearing has started from there again today.

Source : The Tribune

BRO grinds to a halt , owner of shop # 108 rejoices

Saturday saw renewed snow in Lahaul and around Manali : 20 centimeters of snow in Keylong. BRO had to halt clearing the Manali-Leh highway between Rahni nullah and the Rothang La , while fake fur and pastel color frenzy erupted lower down as the winter rental gear shops opened one last (?) time for the season. 

Farmers are also reported to be happy . I always support the farmers , even when it means the hour of public ground pad eating draws nearer. Maybe we can all go through this unscathed. Maybe. 

Weather forecast promises heavy snow tonight . Ooops. Ordering cranberry sauce.