My fleece pockets were bulging with electrics – head torch, camera batteries, phone – and I was propping up a leaking water bottle in the crook of my elbow. Anything you don’t want to freeze overnight at 5,000 metres (16,404ft), you’d better radiate with your body warmth. Darkfall had brought a temperature of minus nine Celsius, and that was indoors.
I pushed my Sherpa hat above my eyes as the 5am alarm bleeped, and wriggled out of my two duvets to begin the slow hike to Everest Base Camp. Slow, because the oxygen in the air was almost down to 50 per cent of that at sea level.
I and 12 other travellers from the West, ranging in age from 18 to 70, had been trekking for seven days with Canadian tour operator G Adventures. Despite cautious acclimatisation, this altitude was making every…
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