Its around 6.30 in the morning perched on the black rocks of Kala Patthar. Its a prayer-flag-wrapped point of rock with truly stunning views. The dull and serious black triangle of Everest to the east, Pumo-ri to the north so close you could lean on it (you’d need thick gloves though, its icy) and numerous other peaks of rock and snow scattered in every direction.
I am standing contemplating this sunrise view. A Dutch couple are doing the same. Not much needs to be said. There is so much to absorb visually. More people will soon be arriving and there is a small, slow trail of early morning people trickling up the hillside.
“Yea, I’m just going to put some layers on Pemba”, informs the girl, who has just arrived with her guide, reaching into her rucksack. Pemba says nothing, rightly, as this just audible brain activity and needs no response.
“Can you take a picture of me, Pemba?”
“And one more? Ooh, one more, the cloud’s moved!”
“Now can you get one or me and Everest together?”
Pemba does his best to keep his client happy and moves around carefully, snapping the American girl in various poses, taking care not to fall to his death.
Meanwhile a few meters below on a small platform, the boys from South Carolina have turned up.
“Hey, I know exactly what picture I want!” Boy gets down and begins doing press-ups on the cold rocks while his friend takes pictures.
“Yeah! That’s definitely going on Facebook. You’re tagged bro!”
To Pemba I mentioned that it is a shame that people summiting Everest late this morning won’t enjoy the spectacular view from the highest point on earth. Between 6.30 and 7am a thin cap of lenticular cloud over the summit has thickened, darkened and descended.
“My friends are summiting today.” Informs his client. “They’re really strong climbers and they can probably do it in like 5 hours from camp 4 so they probably like summited at 5am already.”
Maybe its just early and I am tired, but I feel deflated. In a few short moments I’ve been Americanated and now it is time to go away and leave this view behind.