Things to Do the Day After the Big Climb to Namche Bazaar
Just after leaving our lodge in the middle of Namche we came upon this building which was like a boarding school. At least that is how we interpreted what our porter guide told us. I just love all the little shoes. And everything as neat as a pin.
We walked to the top of the Museum and Visitors Information Centre. My favourite part was the traditional house.
Why the Trainer and I turned back before Everest Base Camp in 2013.
We trained more than when we made it in 2015 . We were fit enough. So why didn’t we make it ?
The Background Story
One Monday morning at work, the sport teacher who took an interest in my EBC training asked me how it was going. I pulled up my trouser leg to show him the rash on both of my ankles. He told me to go to the hospital immediately.
Another colleague came to look at the rash. Unbelievably his wife had had the same rash and he told me to see a doctor. Both of my colleagues thought I had cellulitis and urged to waste not time in seeking medical advice.
Later in the day my doctor looked at the rash on both my ankles said it wasn’t Cellulitis and agreed it was probably caused by my trekking socks. My bamboo socks. He told me if the rash changed in any way to come straight back. The rash cleared up and some months later and the trainer and I left for Kathmandu to trek to Everest Base Camp. With the same bamboo socks. I didn’t really think about not taking them. They hadn’t caused anymore problems. Life is great in retrospect.
Day Five Namche Bazaar to Tengboche
On the trek to Tengboche the rash returned with vengeance. Undoubtedly it was caused by the eight hour walk that day. The dusty trail had probably aggravated it. And the socks. However it was a lot was redder than it had been back home in Australia. And coming up over the the sock line which worried me. I was a bit panicky.
It had been a unexpectedly hard day’s climb. It was freezing cold and late in the afternoon by the time we arrived in Tengboche. It was getting late in a very quiet trekking season. Consequently many lodges were closed. We weren’t that thrilled with the accommodation and the shared toilet arrangement which we had managed to avoid until then. It was turning out to being not such a great day.
Day Six Tengboche to Pangboche
The next morning after breakfast I showed my rash to a woman in the lodge we had met on the trail the day before. She had told me she was carrying a lot of medicine and as I suspected she was a nurse. As it turned out she was a nurse, and she agreed with me the rash looked like it was caused by my socks and told me if it got worse or started to feel hot to start taking the broad spectrum antibiotics and ring for a helicopter.
I was a bit panicked at this comment given we were trekking without a guide or porter. The Trainer tried to calm me down. We walked to Pangboche a lovely walk and found a lodge fairly early. I spent some time trying to find out how we would call a helicopter without much luck. We had showers which made the day seem a bit better. During the night I started the antibiotics because my leg felt hot.
The next morning the Trainer suggested we walk to Shomare have a coffee and then decide whether to go on or not. And yes, we had that drink and decided to turn back.
Life is great in retrospect I should not have taken the bamboo socks to Nepal, bought some topical cream, investigated the rash more on coming home but I didn’t.
When we returned home I heard a lot about bamboo socks not being good for trekking. They retained moisture instead of wicking the moisture away. The socks were banished from my sock drawer forever. I had actually had been recommended the socks in a camping store. In retrospect don’t buy hiking gear in a camping gear shop. I recommend finding a hiking gear shop that employs staff with lots of trekking experience.
I bought woollen socks for our second trip. Trained with them and packed more pairs.
Ironically I got the rash again on the second trek. And on the first day. Just a tiny bit at first and with woollen socks. I applied the cream I brought and raised my legs. By the end of the trek the rash was being annoying.
The type of socks you wear trekking are really important. I was very excited to find a post devoted entirely to socks in my travels around the blogosphere. Here it is
Links to related posts
Don’t be put off Tengboche. It is a hard days trek and being mentally prepared will help.
UPDATE 2022. In September this year I walked the last 140 km of the Camio Frances from Triacastella to Santiago de Compestela in Spain. With the Trainer of course! And with our two adult daughters. And my rash appeared again. As a result of training for the Camino I worked out that it seems to appear at about the 15 km distance mark. I have self diagnosed it to be a type of urticaria caused by physical exertion. A doctor friend has recommended that I start walking with flight socks and wear them in the future when I walk long distances. It did give ALOT of trouble on the Camino. But it didn’t stop me.
Anyone else have a frustrating medical “emergency” on holidays ?
The trainer was very excited about seeing the marathon runners who had started early that morning from Everest Base Camp running past, all of us on our way to Namche Bazaar. The event, originally to be in May was rescheduled to October due to the earthquakes.
We left our lodge at Pangboche as doctors prepared the medical check point and lodge staff the water bottles.
View of Tengboche in the Middle Distance
The Temple Gate in Tengboche (Thyanboche)
The following photos show the track. The steep uphill climb (600m) had nearly killed me on our 2013 trek. Coming back down isn’t easy either. It impacts on your knees so I use trekking poles. The track here has small loose rocks is slippery so the only way to go is slowly.
That’s me picking my way down with the trekking poles.
Runners taking their time
The trail from a distance… crazy
Sanasa with women selling jewellery
The Finishing Point at Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar from Above
The view of Namche Bazaar from above. I had my sights set on the red roofed lodge in the middle, right. Our favourite lodge, our own bathroom and a hot shower at last.
We had a drink at Café Danphe Bar to celebrate our successful, wonderful trek to Everest Base Camp. Huddled together in the bar we looked at all the photos the Trainer had taken. For the best of an hour I sat with tears streaming down my face, hardly able to believe the photos of the magical places we had just been.
In a nutshell – one very high bridge and one big mountain.
Most treks do Phakding to Namche Bazaar on day two. Before we left Australia, the Trainer decided to add a day to our itinerary and walk to Namche Bazaar on Day 3 instead.We had time and it would be easier on our legs and lungs. I was happy for him to do all the research and planning and trusted his judgement. From my minimal research and a friend’s first hand experience I knew the infamous climb to Namche Bazaar was a hard one. The friend had trekked with group and had been one of the earliest to arrive. He sat in a cafe and watched others from his group walk into the town. One very tough character from their group finally arrived, absolutely exhausted. He came up to my friend with tears in his eyes, hugged him and said that it had been the hardest day of his life. So when we set out from the tea house in Monjo I was mentally prepared and planned to take it slowly.
Just outside of Monjo is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park the checkpoint where Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card details are recorded. TIMS cards no longer exist as such (2018) however there is a permit and a process for registering trekkers.
The Sagarmantha National Park entrance outside Monjo
I realised I wasn’t quite up to the local speed when an older Nepali woman with a load of 40 kilos of cabbages on her back passed me.
The bridge to Jorsale festooned with prayer flags
A rest before the climb to the higher bridge at the Dudh Kosi Gorge and famous bridge.
Almost off the high bridge across the Dudh Kosi Gorge
Fruit sellers at the resting place on the climb to Namche Bazaar. there are toilets here and ….
your first view of Everest – one of rewards for the strenuous day’s climb
The trail around the mountain
The infamous climb to Namche Bazaar almost finished.
It is best to think of the acclimatisation day involving some walking above where you are going to sleep. We walked above Namche Bazaar to the helicopter landing strip and quarry. The day was cloudy and the sound of rocks being chiselled for structures over the stream near the stupa rang out across the arena shaped town.
We also visited the monastery and turned some of the many prayer wheels on the way up. On the path to Khunde we sat on a large flat boulder and looked out over the pines and down to the river way below.
After our walk at one of the town’s bakeries I remembered meeting a French woman in 2013 who had spent what I was still calling a rest day walking up to Khunde and Khumjung and back down to Namche. At the time I thought she was mad but she was walking to Base Camp in less days than us and so walking the large circle up to Khunde and Khumjung would have helped with her walk to Tengboche’s altitude the following day. I now know better than to call it anything else but an acclimatisation day.
For our 2015 trek we had decided to sleep a night at Khumjung. This was not the original itinerary. We had planned to sleep our second night in Monjo but we reached there by 11:00 and were feeling great so we decided to continue and climb to Namche Bazaar. We had our two nights in Namche Bazaar and then using the day up our sleeve on the following day we were then able to walk to Khumjung and sleep at a slightly higher altitude allowing us more acclimatisation time for the altitude. I am sure this extra day was one of the keys to successfully arriving at EBC without any issues.
I now know better than to call it anything else but an acclimatisation day.
Trekking independently with a porter gave us the flexibility to make this change of itinerary.
Below are photos taken on our Acclimatisation Day on 24 September 2015.
I knew climbing to Namche Bazaar on Day Three of our itinerary, was going to be a strenuous. We trained well for the trek and though it wasn’t easy we took the climb in our stride.
When we set out two days later for Tengboche, the Trainer told me it would be a relatively easy day. That proved far from the case. We had a breather at the top of Namche after a steep climb out of the amphitheatre-shaped town.
After a few more challenging hills with spectacular views, the track really levelled out. That bit was the honeymoon period.
The trail then descends 570 metres to the river, after crossing this, there is a relentless 750 metres two to three hours climb (according to the guide book) to Tengboche. I am sure this section took us much longer.
The biggest problem was the signage. Not long out of Namche there was sign which said “2 hours to Tengboche”. Two hours further along the track there was another sign “2 hours to Tengboche” and then about another two hours further on, you guessed it – “2 hours to Tengboche”. Hence the comment on the video and the post title. At one point after the third sign, we stopped to catch our breath. Another trekker was doing the same with his guide waiting for him. When we asked the guide how much longer to the top, what do you think he replied? I couldn’t believe it.
That day I learnt mental preparation is everything. I had heard it said in relation to physical challenges but had never really experienced it. For our next trek to Everest Base Camp we will be prepared for the “two hours to Tengboche”. In fact we are changing the itinerary to start the trek from Khunde or Khumjung and not Namche. The other tip is don’t believe the estimated trekking time between the towns and definitely don’t believe the signage.