Thursday (15th November) – the EBC team awake early (0630hrs) to the wonderful breaking news that the climbing team are (or about to be) on the summit of Lobuche East (6119m). What a fantastic achievement! Full credit to all concerned. As for those still on low-level terra firma (Steve, Jon and Dave)the day’s target is to head south down the Khumbu Glacier and to revisit the Himalayan Lodge in Periche. We will descend just under 1000m – it will be great to have more oxygen in our lugs and to have a bedroom a shade ‘warmer’ than the deep freeze of Gorak Shep. The trek down was relatively uneventful – but just to add a twist to the tale, on arrival at Periche Steve witnessed 50 mad French men and women attempting their own version of mass suicide (a marathon for the over 40’s). Vivre la France! To save his sanity, however, he (and the EBC team) was thrilled to welcome the climbing time back at Periche (circa 1615hrs) after an exhausting 36 hours. Warm embraces all-round. Jake’s abiding memory was the cold, the rope-pulling, the endless struggle over many false summits, the joy of reaching the summit (of course) AND the dreadful hot milk and cornflakes he had for breakfast before the climb. It’s a wonder he even survived the first 10 minutes. Andrew’s joy of success was tempered by the pain of his frozen toes which remain numb 12 hours after the climb (and counting). Richard’s abiding memory of his nocturnal climb to the stars was the incessant following of the snowy footsteps in front and the sheer hardship of it all. We all now sit around a candle-lit dinner at the Himalayan Lodge feeling exhausted but elated. This tough trek and climb is beginning to bring its true rewards – life-changing memories.