After three days (planned) acclimatisation, and for me, convalescence, in Namche Bazaar at 3440m, including a hot shower, lots of apple tarts from the Namche bakery, a walk up to the village of Khumjung and a visit to the Hilary school there; we begin three days of walking through the ‘boches’.
These are some of my favourite days of the trek. Tough but tranquil. Bright and crisp in the mornings, sunny in the day and biting cold in the evenings; we walk around 6hours each day first through rhodendron trees and the river basin then winding mountain trails into barren stony shale lunar like landscapes
We feel like the only people in the world as the places become more and more remote
We see golden eagles soar overhead and my spirits begin to follow. I feel better. The breathing is easier though the air is thin still after the acclimatisation as we reach 3860m at Tengboche, home of Tengboche Monastery and our home for the night – Tashi Delek lodge.
Out in the sq we see monks playing football and explore the calm quiet monastery. The sun sets over a postcard perfect view of Mt Everest, as ever peeking out from behind Lhtose face
It actually feels abit restful and relaxing. Away from it all. Round the fire in the lodges I read ‘into thin air’ by Jon Krakauer – a cliche but brilliant anf fascinating and the first part of the journey in the book mirrors our own on this trek. We stick to 7.30pm bedtimes for 7am breakfasts
Next day we trek 5hours further up to Dingboche at 4410m
and it feels very cold now but we are warmed by home cooked dhal Bhat as ever
Everything here has been carried by yak or porter so it is all the more surprising to see a snooker table in a club up here it’s really cold
The people in this region are kind resourceful and respectful. The man who runs our lodge looks after animals, cleans the rooms, cooks the food and does odd jobs in the village. I am humbled by their resilience and feel a little guilty that half of their endeavours are for the benefit of the tourist trekker. Mars bars and bottled water line the shelves in the shops and I’m not sure how many Sherpas enjoy a game of snooker
It’s a paradox where it’s so remote and people only have one pair of clothes but the local shack shops are stocked with bounty’s and Gatorade and wasabi peas for the trekkers.
There are no showers or toilets but WiFi is free in the lodges. When it works. It is a strange feeling but I have to admit I enjoyed a snickers before bed.
There is ice in the inside of our window in the morning and our water bottles freeze up
The next day we head for Lobuche, first, a steep climb up from Dingboche we reach the Sherpa Everest memorial, a lonely lovely plateau scattered with remembrance stones to people who have died on Everest expeditions and others across the Himalayas
It is eerie but feels serene, the prayer flags flutter in the wind the dusting of frost seems apt
The view looking back on the trail to Dingboche is beautiful, a fitting place for a tribute
We see the memorial to Scott Fisher who I am reading about in my book and as we prepare to get nearer to 5000m above sea level it all starts feeling real. We’re not going anywhere near the summit and will undertake no mountaineering but it sinks in how remote these places are. If you get in trouble it is hard to find help. You’re two or three days walk from a doctor, a helicopter flight from a hospital. There’s no police or fire service.
From here After 6 hours trek We spend one night at Lobuche (4910m) which is colder again, down to -10 and we prepare for the longest day tomorrow, Gorak Shep, Everest Base Camp then back to Gorak Shep – 9 hours or so above 5000m…