Its know to anyone who wants to attempt any high altitude hikes, that altitude can and does affect anyone. A person who is super fit might suffer altitude sickness, while the guy next to them, who has never been to a gym in his life, deals with the height fine. You just can’t pick it.
Throw in sub zero temperatures, food poisoning, long days of hiking and plain stubbornness and you have a recipe for disaster.
We were almost at base camp, a days hike away, and after a rather long and wet hike, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right upon arriving at our accomodation and removing my shoes.
It was like Pins and Needles, but not the ones you get from sitting on your feet too long. No, no. I mean it was like that, but it was literally like my feet were being stabbed by pins and needles.
I hobbled into the dinning room, and after my pathetic attempt to clam myself down and hide the pain, i burst out into uncontrollable hysterics.
I have never felt pain like that. When doctors ask you”rate this pain on a scale from one to 10, 10 being the worst pain you have ever felt” i will forever be rating my pain in comparison to the 10 i felt that day.
My feet were frozen for lack of a better word. I had been walking all day in wet socks, and although i had realised that my feet had gone numb sometime in the afternoon, i didn’t realise the extent of just how numb they had become. They were blue, cold and wrinkly. Beaut!
I was hysterically crying as my sherpas and porters rubbed them in an effort to warm them and get circulation to return. Now you know when you try and walk on pins and needles, or you touch them and it radiates down the site of numbness? Yeh, imagine that but amplified times 1000 and then having someone actually rubbing them viciously. It was immensely painful.
Now i don’t know if I’m doing this justice, or if i just seem like a little kid who sooks about pins and needles. But by golly was it bad.
But then came the hot water. That was the worse part. It felt like my feet were getting burnt while i was there watching on helplessly.
I was so upset and in so much pain that my sherpa was talking about getting a chopper for EVAC. I knew if i didn’t calm down and control my crying and screaming that i wasn’t going to make it to Base Camp. I could get through this. I mean obviously. I wasn’t dying. But wow. It took so much self control to control my breathing, to stop yelling and to just suck it up.
As my feet began to return to body temperature and the pins and needles subsided after what felt like hours, i began to calm down, breath and realise just how close i had come to doing some serious damage.
I was very naive going into the trek, i was 18 out on my first solo adventure and i really did feel invincible. The thought of something actually going wrong, really didn’t even cross my mind. So in a way it was good that something serious enough to shake some sense into me, but not serious enough to any permeant damage, had happened.
You quickly learn on treks and adventures in the elements, that you really are merciless at the hands of mother nature. She is powerful, forceful and amazing. And it makes you realise just how powerless, small and insignificant you are to her elements.
PS i made it to base camp and returned with two feet and all my toes √√√