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 ..