Why the Trainer and I turned back before Everest Base Camp in 2013.
We trained more than when we made it in 2015 . We were fit enough. So why didn’t we make it ?
The Background Story
One Monday morning at work, the sport teacher who took an interest in my EBC training asked me how it was going. I pulled up my trouser leg to show him the rash on both of my ankles. He told me to go to the hospital immediately.
Another colleague came to look at the rash. Unbelievably his wife had had the same rash and he told me to see a doctor. Both of my colleagues thought I had cellulitis and urged to waste not time in seeking medical advice.
Later in the day my doctor looked at the rash on both my ankles said it wasn’t Cellulitis and agreed it was probably caused by my trekking socks. My bamboo socks. He told me if the rash changed in any way to come straight back. The rash cleared up and some months later and the trainer and I left for Kathmandu to trek to Everest Base Camp. With the same bamboo socks. I didn’t really think about not taking them. They hadn’t caused anymore problems. Life is great in retrospect.
Day Five Namche Bazaar to Tengboche
On the trek to Tengboche the rash returned with vengeance. Undoubtedly it was caused by the eight hour walk that day. The dusty trail had probably aggravated it. And the socks. However it was a lot was redder than it had been back home in Australia. And coming up over the the sock line which worried me. I was a bit panicky.
It had been a unexpectedly hard day’s climb. It was freezing cold and late in the afternoon by the time we arrived in Tengboche. It was getting late in a very quiet trekking season. Consequently many lodges were closed. We weren’t that thrilled with the accommodation and the shared toilet arrangement which we had managed to avoid until then. It was turning out to being not such a great day.
Day Six Tengboche to Pangboche
The next morning after breakfast I showed my rash to a woman in the lodge we had met on the trail the day before. She had told me she was carrying a lot of medicine and as I suspected she was a nurse. As it turned out she was a nurse, and she agreed with me the rash looked like it was caused by my socks and told me if it got worse or started to feel hot to start taking the broad spectrum antibiotics and ring for a helicopter.
I was a bit panicked at this comment given we were trekking without a guide or porter. The Trainer tried to calm me down. We walked to Pangboche a lovely walk and found a lodge fairly early. I spent some time trying to find out how we would call a helicopter without much luck. We had showers which made the day seem a bit better. During the night I started the antibiotics because my leg felt hot.
The next morning the Trainer suggested we walk to Shomare have a coffee and then decide whether to go on or not. And yes, we had that drink and decided to turn back.
Life is great in retrospect I should not have taken the bamboo socks to Nepal, bought some topical cream, investigated the rash more on coming home but I didn’t.
When we returned home I heard a lot about bamboo socks not being good for trekking. They retained moisture instead of wicking the moisture away. The socks were banished from my sock drawer forever. I had actually had been recommended the socks in a camping store. In retrospect don’t buy hiking gear in a camping gear shop. I recommend finding a hiking gear shop that employs staff with lots of trekking experience.
I bought woollen socks for our second trip. Trained with them and packed more pairs.
Ironically I got the rash again on the second trek. And on the first day. Just a tiny bit at first and with woollen socks. I applied the cream I brought and raised my legs. By the end of the trek the rash was being annoying.
The type of socks you wear trekking are really important. I was very excited to find a post devoted entirely to socks in my travels around the blogosphere. Here it is
Links to related posts
Don’t be put off Tengboche. It is a hard days trek and being mentally prepared will help.
On our second trek we trekked back through Tengboche on our way back from Everest Base Camp. It seemed like a much nicer place in the middle of the day with the sun shining. We spent some time there, watching marathon runners coming through and taking photographs. We still haven’t seen inside the temple to we might just have to go back.
UPDATE 2022. In September this year I walked the last 140 km of the Camio Frances from Triacastella to Santiago de Compestela in Spain. With the Trainer of course! And with our two adult daughters. And my rash appeared again. As a result of training for the Camino I worked out that it seems to appear at about the 15 km distance mark. I have self diagnosed it to be a type of urticaria caused by physical exertion. A doctor friend has recommended that I start walking with flight socks and wear them in the future when I walk long distances. It did give ALOT of trouble on the Camino. But it didn’t stop me.
Anyone else have a frustrating medical “emergency” on holidays ?
My You Tube of Walking to Tengboche.
More photos of the walk from Namche to Tengboche (2013)
Other posts that may interest you
How hard is it to trek to Everest Base Camp ?
Our trek itineraries in 2013 and in 2015