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No-frills Pheriche (4250 m/14,000 ft)

We arrived at Pheriche yesterday from Deboche, after criss-crossing the river by various suspension bridges and with a net altitude gain of 550m/1800ft. It's a wind-swept spot, known as "no-frills" and famous for housing the HRA (Himalayan Rescue Association) clinic. The HRA is a wonderful outfit, founded in 1973 to provide free medical care to Nepalis and paid-for help to trekkers. Its daily briefing on altitude sickness is excellent (over 40 trekkers attended today's) and apparently nobody who has attended it has later died of altitude sickness - so far, at least.

Outside the HRA stands a stainless steel memorial to those who have died on Everest since the 1924 Mallory/Irvine expedition. It's inscribed with the names of nearly 200 climbers and sherpas who have died in the attempt. The chilly vertical surfaces of its split pyramid in have ample room for adding the names of those who have yet to die. The death ratio seems fixed at a predictable 1 in 10: one death for every 10 successful attempts. But of course everybody who attempts Everest thinks that this refers to somebody else.

This morning I completed my testing: the normal diary set, plus blood samples and the infamous bicycle ramp test. Although my maximum power output was much lower (125 watts cf 170 watts in Kathmandu) and maximum heart rate also down (160 bpm cf 181 in Kathmandu) I can't say that pedalling the bike was any less effort. However, at least the testing was brief, so there was time to go for a walk and also to attend the afternoon briefing at HRA. We have dinner at about 6.30 pm and retiring later than 9pm is considered staying up very late!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 16, 2007 5:03 PM.

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