Thursday, 18 October 2012

Namche Bazar to Dingboche

On a rest day in Dingboche, so time for another update.

15/5/2012 Namche Bazar to Deboche

This was a day of 2 halves!

Part 1

We were on the trail just after 7:00 for the short walk up the hill out of Namche to the Everest/Sherpa museum. The museum contain photos and articles of the many Everest expeditions and the walls were plastered with pictures of the many Sherpa summiteers, including one of Kenton Cool, 10 times Everest summiteer.

We left the museum around 7:40 on the relatively easy trail, wide with only a few ups. The path skirted around the hillside until we reached Kyangjuma, where we took a quick stop. From here the path descended down to the river, it was uneven and steep in places which killed my knees as there was no way to get into any rhythm. On reaching the river we crossed a suspension bridge and entered the tiny village of Phunki Tenga, it was 10:30. Too early for lunch, but we stopped for 30 mins for snacks and a rest before the next part of the trek.

Part 2

Leaving Phunki Tenga the path was all uphill, around 600m of climbing to Tengboche. I found the path hard going, steep switchbacks made more difficult by the yak trains carrying large loads. My heart was beating so fast that I thought it was going to jump out of my chest. Nearing the top I spotted the prayer flags and stupa for the monastery. It had taken me 1.5 hours to walk this small section. Most Sherpa take only 40mins to 1 hour.

We were originally meant to stay the night here, but there are only 3 lodges which were all full. Luckily Gelu who was a day ahead of us booked us a room in Deboche, 15 mins further down the trail. We arrived at 12:30 (the walk took 5 hours with a 30 min rest), I had some lunch then went to my room for a like down to rest my weary legs.

As we head higher the air is getting drier and colder. My sleeping bag is doing a great job of keeping me warm at night.

16/10/2012 Deboche to Pangboche

Very short day today, so we got up late and had a leisurely breakfast.

We set off for the 50min walk up to Pangboche, after about 20 mins we crossed the river, where the path climbed into Pangboche, arriving around 9:30. Today was a scheduled rest day, but doing this short walk would reduce the the climb the following day to Dingboche. During the walk Pasang had received some bad news. One of his guiding friends had died in a climbing accident on Pisang Peak the previous day. We walked in silence to allow Pasang to be with his thoughts. I was glad it was a short day.

During the afternoon the wind picked up and blown the clouds in over the valley, obscuring the views of Ama Dablam. This also reduced the temperature significantly time to put on the down jacket for the first time.

In the evening, I sat around the heater in the dining room, which was burning dried yak dung and chatted to Dawa, a teacher at the school in Namche. He was on his way up to the Italian Research Pyramid to do some work.

Early bed, nice to get into my sleeping bag and keep warm.

17/10/2012 Pangboche to Dingboche

The time spent trekking each day is getting quite short each day, mainly to allow me to acclimatise properly and because we have a few days spare due to a change in itinerary. Its nice to take it at a relaxed pace and enjoy the views.

After a late breakfast we head out on the trail from Pangboche (3750m), the path winds its way around the hill above the Imja Khola River, always in an upwards direction, only steepening at Syomore (4010m). For the next 12 days I will be living above 4000m above sea level, which I find quite amazing. I'm not sure what its going to do to my body.

After Syomore, the trail flattens out into a wide valley and we make good progress. The path drops down to the river then we tackle the final uphill of the day to Dingboche which takes around 40 mins. The climb was not as steep as I thought.

Dingboche comes into view and sits in a wide valley, that is over shadowed by Ama Dablam on the right and at the head of the valley I can see the 8000m peaks of Lhotse & Lhotse Shar, as well as the popular trekking peak - Island Peak.

We arrive at 10:30 so another short day only 2.5 hours of trekking. I wandered around the village, but soon the clouds roll in and the temperature drops, so back to the tea house to warm up and some lunch.

In the evening I teach Pasang & Dawa how to play Gin and Brag (card games). After dinner I treat myself to apple pie then it's off to bed.

18/10/2012 Dingboche Rest Day

Late start, up at 7:00 then breakfast. After breakfast we walk with Dawa up the hill behind the village. He is off to Loboche.

This is also a good view point to take photos of the valley and I can add another 8000m peak to my tick list - Makalu. I have now seen 6 of the 8, 8000m peaks in Nepal. I will only see one more Cho Oyu, as Kanchenjunga is too far east in the country. Saying that I have seen Shisapangma which is in Tibet!

The valley is quite barren and dusty, at this altitude there are no trees, only small juniper bushes.

After tomorrow, I have some bigger trekking days as we head over 5000m and up to Everest Base Camp and over the high passes of Cho La to Gokyo. I'm feeling in good shape, acclimatising well and enjoying being in Nepal and the big mountains. I have some amazing memories and lots of photos that don't do the landscape justice, it's just stunning with amazing people.

Note: Sorry for the lack of pictures, but they take too long to upload on the slow and expensive internet connection. I will try and add some when I'm back in KTM.

 

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