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Khumbu Cough

While the team rests at Base Camp before the next acclimatization rotation, the Sherpas have completed fixing ropes to Camp 3, and will begin supplying that camp tomorrow.

While back at EBC for a few days, one of their highest priorities will be staying healthy.  EBC is a small city this time of year, with hundreds of climbers and trekkers passing through.  That can mean a lot of germs floating around, so everyone will be taking precautions to reduce the risk of catching anything.  Fortunately, most everyone caught the “GI bug” during the trek into EBC, so they’ve developed some immunity by now.   Every cloud has a silver lining…

There’s one malady at EBC that afflicts almost everyone to some degree.  Here’s some words on that from Edie Marshall, one of our trekkers and Lobuche climbers:

Note the neck warmers.

EBC Instruction. Note the neck warmers


“I’m still trying to shake off my “Khumbu cough” that is a scourge of trekkers and climbers in and around EBC.  The cold, dry and sometimes dusty air, coupled with an increased respiratory rate to compensate for the low oxygen levels, is rough on the respiratory tract. Folks will try to ward it off by wearing Buffs/neck warmers and breathing through masks or the neck gaiters to try to warm and moisten the air they are breathing. You will see people in the photos wearing them sometimes. Unfortunately, this can enhance the feeling of difficulty breathing, and does slightly lower the level of inspired oxygen, so it can be challenging to maintain the fabric around one’s face through all activities and at night. The Khumbu cough can get so bad that it breaks ribs, so it is a real concern for staying healthy and ready to reach the summit of Everest. Our team seemed to be doing a pretty good job of taking care of themselves for most of the time I was with them. For the Lobuche climb, I threw caution to the wind and figured I needed any and all oxygen more than I needed warmed, moist, and slightly less oxygen, so I got to come home with the Khumbu cough. Let’s hope our guys are faring better!”


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