Saturday (9th November) – D Day. After a sleepy, half-dazed breakfast in the final darkness of the previous night we finally set off for Gokyo (4780m) at 0600hrs. Tendy (our lead sherpa) suggested the trek would take around 9 hours. In the event it took a good 11 hours and there were times when we all wondered whether it had been a wise move to attempt the crossing. Some team members suffered from ailments of one kind or another, this slowed progress and caused some distress. The view from the pass (5300m) was stupendous (without question the most spectacular possible of the ‘High Himalaya’ – magnificent mountains, Cholo (6089m); Pumo Ri (7165m); Everest (8848m); Nuptse (7861m); Lobuche West and East (6146/6119m); Makalu (8100m) – to name just a few). However, the descent to Gokyo was, for most, a nightmare. Many slipped on dangerous and steep icy slopes. Bob, our team buddy from Boston (USA)was on a mission impossible (having had a hip operation barely 2 months before the trek). Bravely he forged on and often he fell to the ground in contorted shapes, raising the spectre of serious physical injury. Dave confessed on numerous occasions that he was ‘running on empty’. Steve, struggled for much of the day, both with altitude, stomach pains and boots determined to glide at every possible opportunity. Others fared better. Jon was tired, challenged but otherwise unscathed. The dynamic duo of Richard and Andrew sailed through this trauma with ease and Jake with panache. As Richard coyly but accurately declared after the trauma was over and we sat, in a state of stupor, in the dining room of Namaste Lodge, ‘what do you expect from a trek through the Himalaya?’ For Bob, this was a Red Letter day. As he confessed to Steve, for the first time in his life he had reached his physical limits and it had shocked him. Tomorrow we rest and take stock.