Quiet contemplation … Om Mani Padme Hum
Quiet contemplation … Om Mani Padme Hum
Eyes peeping out from the yellow fringe seem sad against the grey cloudy backdrop. Despite being badly cracked from the 2015 earthquake, the stupa still stands sentinel at the end of the main path into Khumjung and watching over the Sir Edmund Hillary School.
Leaving our lodge in Namche Bazaar was a bit sad. We had stayed there four times and a total of six nights with the acclimatisation days. It was in the middle of Namche, the owners and staff were lovely, the menu and food good and the hot showers wonderful.
Leaving Namche Bazaar and the Kwangde Range
Not long after we started out, Basanta our porter guide pointed out a Danfe or Danphe Nepal’s national bird, a beautiful large black pheasant with a metallic green head and a chestnut tail.
We had our last look of Everest at the resting spot on the way down. We crossed the high bridge again across the Dudh Khosi gorge. The fourth time over it I was still glad to get off however The Trainer stands in the middle looking over at the view.
Back down on the old river bed we posed for a photo together and watched some of the porters with huge loads of building materials slowly make their way up to cross the bridge.
We stopped at Monjo Lodge where we had stayed on the first trek and another place that I felt a connection to. Waiting for lunch in the garden in the sun we took some more happy snaps feeling relaxed, fit and happy. The Trainer, yes, my husband Sam looked really relaxed in the photos, his job was done. His training and planning had got us up and back without mishap. Following the no more than 300 metres increase in altitude a night had been a key factor I am sure.
Porters carrying building materials up the trail
Waiting for lunch in the garden at Monjo Lodge
The lodge we stayed in Phakding on the way up and on the way down
Dughla to Lobuche 1 October 2015
I had a shocking night’s sleep because of Diamox the altitude sickness tablets, which make you pee all night. We left our lodge quite late as we did not have far to walk and also wanted to wait for some of the cloud to clear. It was a steep climb up from Dughla. After the climb we saw some very large quail type birds called the Tibetan Snow-Cock or Snowbird on the slopes.
Above that there are many cairns or chortens, memorials to the mountaineers who have died on Everest including Scott Fisher’s memorial. Some of the climbers made it to the summit and then died on the way down. The area is quite beautiful.
The clouds cleared above the chorten area. The landscape became very much like a moonscape with a small stream and reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands.
The walk was only two and a half hours. The Trainer went for a walk to see the Italian weather pyramid. Inside our lodge was very warm with lots of laser-light in the roof letting the heat in. I was happy to stay in and rest up for the next two very big days.
One reason why you should take a guide or porter guide with you…
…they teach you all the names of mountains ! But there are lots more reasons…
See the post about The Porter
On our first flight to Lukla a European man in his seventies was sitting across the aisle from my husband. As we flew along the magnificent Himalayas mountain range he pointed out the names of the various mountains to Sam. I was impressed. This guy knew his mountains. Obviously it wasn’t his first trip. Warning: trekking in Nepal is addictive.
I wanted to be able to list off the mountains too, so before our 2015 trek I studied up on them, well the pictures at least. (Back home I’m still working on that). Apart from Mount Everest which is not that easy to spot because it hides a lot until the very end of the trek, Ama Dablam is one of the first mountains you will come to know and recognise wherever you are. The mountains change shape as you move along the trail because your view changes. Ama Dablam is different it has that funny skinny cone shape and later it has an armchair shape. Remember you’ve got to use your imagination a bit.
Ama Dablam is first visible after Namche Bazaar and there is good view of from Khumjung, which is above Namche Bazaar. In fact the guide books tells you Ama Dablam towers above Khumjung. And she does. Are mountains referred to as male of female? Well I’m calling Ama Dablam a she as it means Mother’s Chest or Mother’s Treasure Chest or a jewel box if you like. And by all accounts she deserves some respect.
Here she is.
Up for another Everest Base Camp Trek Titbit?
Bridge Too Many or Bridge Love – bridges on the way to Base Camp and some photos
Love them or not, the Everest Base Camp Trek has many bridges to cross. For the personal trainer it was Bridge Love. Probably at first sight. He stood in the middle of the bridges looking over the edge enjoying the wind and the rush of water underneath. He put on his documentary maker’s hat and strolled across them filming, making his commentary against the roar of the water underneath. On time he threw the camera at me and asked me to video him crossing the bridge. Not my idea of fun especially when he started jogging on the bridge while I was on it filming.
Yes bridges weren’t my favourite part of the trek. Continue reading
Namche Bazaar 3420 – Khumjung 3780 metres 2.5 hours walk
Khumjung is the largest town in the Khumbu region.
The climb out of Namche is steep and we were in thick cloud. We could not see very far but sounds travelled up the hill to us – the chinking sound of the stone masons and the anthem and then music for a fitness program from the school below. I practiced my newly learnt Tashi Dele greeting, much to the delight of the Sherpas passing us. Possibly they were going down to prepare for the market the following day. The large market on the Saturday is very famous and sadly as we had changed our itinerary and we would miss it. Perhaps next time.
The landscape changes and reminds me of the moors in Scotland. The thick cloud made me focus on the low heath like plants. Spider webs bejewelled with water droplets reminded me not to forget the beauty at the ground level. Consequently, new Nepalese words included putali (butterfly), makura (spider) and makura zal (spiderweb).
I was keen to see that the school built by Edmund Hillary had not been badly damaged by the earth quake which had affected Khumjung. I was pleased to walk into the town and past the school just as the children finished their half day Friday. Sadly, though the gompa near the school had been damaged.
We found a lodge, organised our room and had lunch. Later we walked to the town’s monastery and home of the famous Yeti skull (Wikipedia). The monastery was quite beautiful and worth the visit.
We were the only guests in the lodge and after our dhal bhat we watched a video about the life of Hillary.
We woke in cloud, walked straight up out of Namche in cloud and went to sleep in cloud.
See photos for our walk into Khumjung
What does it mean to trek to Everest Base Camp? Do you actually stay there? Not unless you want to sleep in a tent on very cold rocky ground and climb Mount Everest. Which incidentally is barely visible from Everest Base Camp (5300m).
The best place to see Everest from is from Kala Pattar (5545m). How do you get there? From Gorak Shep (5170m), the end of the trail for the average person. Not that you feel very average after walking from eight to eleven days to get there. It feels like walking to the Middle Earth.
Gorak Shep is pretty average when it comes to accommodation. Situated on what was once a lake it has a handful of lodges. But at that stage of the trek you just want a warm bed and a toilet and somewhere to have three meals – lunch, dinner and breakfast usually in that order and to go to what will possibly be the two most special and remote places you will go to in your lifetime. And when you have been there you will want tell the world.
Apart from walking to Base Camp also abbreviated to EBC the best part is the Himalayas spread before you in the most magnificent vista that will be hard to top. You see this from what I discovered was a fairly insignificant looking “hill” of which I had never seen a photo of. So here is one, so you know what you will climb to see that view.
Looks insignificant in the scheme of things with all the massive mountains around it. Innocent even. But that little brown in the middle ground, Kala Pattar is 5545 metres high. It takes two hours to climb to the top, an elevation of 375m from Gorak Shep via the trail on the right. The snow covered mountain in the middle is Pumori.
Louise and Sam Terranova were at Everest Base Camp at the very start of the trekking season after the Nepal earthquakes on 2 October 2015. Lodges had been repaired and the Khumbu was ringing with the sound of stonemasons building new lodges and repairing others along the trail.
A note about Pumori the big triangular mountain in the middle, it is off this mountain that the avalanche came as a result of the April 2015 earthquake. It dumped snow at Base Camp.
You can read an account from Svati Narula who was at Base Camp when the quake hit.
My choir sang Climb Every Mountain to me last night to wish me luck. It was magic.
Thank you Open Door Community Singers. Thank you Shaun Islip.
Below is from a shot post in January 2016.
A great way to start the week, singing with a choir, in this case a very big choir. Our version of The Prayer is taking time to perfect but starting to sound good. The interesting thing about singing with the choir is, my training seems to help my singing and my singing helps my breathing when I train. Mutually beneficial one might say.
I love my choir… Open Door Community Singers