Today we slept in. Once we finally roused ourselves we had breakfast, and then packed our gear. We had to check out by noon, but our flight is not until 23:30. I decided to tackle the massive task of transferring my written journal onto here, while Kempy read the guide book and kindle. It’s 15:30 and I’ve finished updating this Journal ~ the rest will have to wait until I return home, because it’s not happened yet 😉 Really enjoyed this trip, but can’t wait to be home. 13 hour stopover in Hong kong airport should be interesting too… See you all soon!
Spend the day reading on the kindle and recharging our electronics. In the evening we checked out some local pubs ~ not much going on in any of them. We settled on an Irish pub, where a rather drunk swedish guy seemed to be intenet on cracking onto Kempy, and telling us to come back at 18:00 tomorrow before we fly out to see the band that will be playing there. Eventually we returned to the hotel. Exciting day! 😛
Awoke at 6:30 to the sound of planes landing, and decided to get up and start packing everything. Breakfast was at 7:30. Kempy didn’t like his french toast, which I thought was brilliantly fluffy. According to him it was just doughey. Instead of the french toast he found himself a freshly made doughnut at the bakery next door. As seems standard in Nepal, our 8am flight left at 10. Our guide arranged for our bags to be checked in and gave us some vegetables to take back to the tour organizer in Kathmandu. The flight out had a touch of turbulence early on which left Kempy feeling a touch less comfortable. In addition we were in a Dornier 228 this time, which appears to be more of a cargo plane than passenger plane. It’s bigger, but holds less people. Once back at Kathmandu, our tour organizer was once more waiting for us, and got us straight back to Hotel Thamel. We had a short chat and he let us know that he’ll arrange for a driver to take us to the airport at 8pm on Friday night. Kempy and I settled into our room before returning our sleeping bags, having lunch and shopping for souvenirs. We have no idea how we’re going to spend 3 full days here, but we have power so I’m sure the iPhone, kindle and Kempys mobile will see us through. Oh, that and Soduku 🙂
Woke up ridiculously early – about 6 am – and decided to head to the dining room to do some soduku. The lodge owner had already lit incense and was playing tibettan chants. Made for a cold but nice atmosphere early in the morning.After breakfast we headed off by about 8am. Two and a half hours of solid walking later we arrived at Lukla. After lunch we exchanged some US$ to local currency as we were running a bit low and wanted to buy the porter and guide dinner and drinks tonight. After watching planes and helicopters land a few times, (check out
Happy Anniversary Amy and Nathan! A casual 7:30 start this morning. I knew full well what lay ahead: Going down the steepest part of the entire trip ~ just outside of Namche. It nearly killed me on the way in, and it’s well marked on the map as ‘Steep Climb’. So with hiking sticks in hand I tackled the beast. Turns out it’s easy on the way down. I think the altitude adjustment on the way up makes it feel way harder than it is. About 6km and 5 suspension bridges later, we got to the spot where we had lunch on day 1 and we’ll stay here for the night. In the evening two tour groups arrived at the lodge and we gave some information to a bunch of English trekkers who are doing the 14 day Everest trip. Made me realize how much I’d learned! Kempy wanted to check out the local pub, but there wasn’t much going on, so he went for a walk instead in the evening. Really not much to report on the way back! 😛
Today started nice and slowly. We had breakfast at about 8:30 and then got ready for the day. We headed up to the local sherpa museum, and read about some local history.It’s a quaint place, it’s in a world heritage area, right next to a military base, complete with Razor wire fences and an old AA gun.>>They had displays of hoe the Himalayas are growing, of conservation efforts, religious and climbing history. All quite interesting.>>>>After this we headed to a private museum across the road (
By all standards today should have been an extremely easy day. The trek covered only about 6km. Turns out the half way point is Lusiyasa ~ aprox 2800m. By my math it’s about 1km down and then 600m back up… all in the space of about 1km. VERY step down and quite steep up. Kempy still has a could and found the walk really hard. It wasn’t easy, but it was particularly hard for him today. We had lunch at Tesing (3380m) and I dug up some more ibuprofen for him from my med kit. We had lunch next to an older German man, who had to turn back after Gokyo because of a lung infection while the rest of his group went on. That would have been so disappointing! I’m glad that, within reason, both mine and Kempys health remained good for the trip. While there I also found a replacement for the bracelet that I’d lost. Not quite as good quality (painted instead of carved) but still pretty cool. We eventually reached Namche Bazar via Sansa, with Kempy doing much better for the meds. I knew we were getting close when I was staring down a long flight of stairs. Probably about 500m of them. The sight just broke me a bit, and I really struggled with the last 10 minutes or so of our trek. We did reach the hotel eventually. The rooms are very nice and (best thing ever!!!) it has normal toilets. At the advice of our guide we both had a hot shower. It was hot, but… different. Really ti was a small shed which is usually used as the toilet by employees, and a plank placed over the indian style toilet, which was the drain. Water was heated by a butane gas cylinder powered system. It was hot, but there was no cold to even out the temperature, so it was a quick shower for me. Still felt good to get cleaner ~ after 16 days of trekking any shower is appreciated, no matter the surroundings. Freshly showered we had a look through for souvenirs for people. Souvenir shopping is hard! I couldn’t find anything, so I bought some postcards instead and wrote those.
The Day started early ~ I had set my alarm clock for 5 am, but there was a gentle knock on the door at 4:55am. So I turned off my alarm and woke Kempy. He wasn’t feeling well at all, he blamed a cold but I’m pretty sure it’s also related to the altitude. Either way I made him have some Diamox before I left onto the Kala Patthar track with the guide but without Kempy. It was a hard trek. It was light enough not to need a head lamp, but still freezing. By the first 1/4 of the way up, the down jacket gloves and hiking sticks got put away. At 100m below the peak I was ready to give up. I didn’t though. Even though Everest was mostly in the clouds, ‘just’ a sunrise surrounded by snow covered mountain peaks was /amazing/!! The peak of Kala patthar is at 5550m, which is the highest point I’ve ever been to, and physically the high-point of this trip. It was also small and crowded with around 30-50 people. I climbed as high as I dared and posed for some photos, but I was sweating with fear through my grin. It’ll be interesting to see how those photos turned out. 10 cm to my right was a sheer drop of about 500m. 10 cm to my left was people crawling past me. The angle at the top is about 60-75 degrees, so it’s steep enough to feel like you need to climb a bit. Unsurprisingly the trip down was easier, but hard on my knees. When we returned, Kempy had just got up and we had some breakfast. I also gave him some imbuprofen to get him through the morning. We re-packed to have nothing in his bag bar the essentials – Water, spare jacket, cash and hiking sticks. The rest was put into the porters bag and my own backpack. Then we slowly mozied away from Gorakshep. The first part of that walk is quite intense, but Kempy found a rather quick pace and stuck to it. At Lobuche pass we dropped about 150m and I could tell he was starting to feel better. By his pace if nothing else 😛 I vetoed an early lunch at lobuche, and so we pushed on past Thokla pass (dropping another 200 ish meters there) and had lunch at Thokla/Dhougla Tea house. We only stopped for about 30-40 minutes in total before pushing onto Pheriche (4240m). By then it was about 13:30, and our guide offered us a choice: Push onto the known comforts of Pengbuche (about 2 hours walk with some strenuous up parts) or spend the night here and walk further tomorrow. After some discussion, we pushed ahead to Pengbuche. By now my shoulders and hips were sore from carrying a heavy backpack all day, but I felt so energised that I didn’t want to stop. I’m guessing that’s the effect of coming into an area with more Oxygen in the air! 😛 Back at pengbuche we stopped at the shop where I bought the bracelet last time, only to find they didn’t have another. (Did I mention I lost it the day after buying it?) I guess if I can’t find one before, I’ll have a look around for a replacement in our days at Kathmandu. Oh! During the walk today I finally managed to take a snapshot of a bumblebee! They seem to operate at all heights ~ they’re all over the mountain. We’ve managed to get well ahead of schedule, and we have 2 days up our sleeves now. The guide suggested we’ll probably take an extra day in Namche Bazar to rest. Side note: There’s been some pretty funny engrish things and signs around, but my favourite so was was at Gorakshep. On the menu: “Private Roo: 2500R”
Lobuche (4910m) to Gorakshep (5140m) [And everest base camp] My day started extremely early when I heard a loud ‘bang’ next door which shook my bed. That was around 3am. I just dozed off again when the neighbours knocked on the wall asking for help as their door was stuck closed. Kempy was awake and out of bed instantly and opened the door without any problems. He returned muttering that they must have been trying to push, rather than pull, the door open. I just got back to sleep when an extremely noisy group started to check out at 4am. Noise continued until 6:30 when I decided to just give up on sleep and get up. It was /FREEZING/. The mist on the windows had turned to ice and after 30 seconds outside in my down jacket (but without gloves) I felt like my fingers would get frostbite. We had a great breakfast of french toast with baked beans around 7, before heading off on the 2:30h trek to Gorakshep. As soon as teh sun emerged it turned into a faboulus day for walking. The trek wasn’t too hard compared to the last few days, but still hard. Importantly for me, though, I made it all the way up CARRYING MY OWN BACKPACK!!!! The porter only carried my day-pack with my sleeping bag in it. GOAL ACHIEVED!! 😀 When we got to Gorakshep, clouds were just starting to to form around Kala Patthar, so we decided to trek to Everet Base camp today instead. After already hiking reasonably today, it felt hard, but we did eventually make it. Kempy and I also built a snow-tux (the linux penguin) because I’m a complete nerd. Unfortunately the pie-cart apparently only runs during peak season of April/May, so I didn’t get to try the Mt Everest Apple Pie. The lodge we’re staying at has apple pie on the menu though, so I plan on buying a round of it for our little group after dinner. Ryan got hit hard by the hiking today, it’s only about 4pm and he’s exhausted. I’m tired but refusing to sleep too early as tomorrow we’re going to get up at 5am to try and catch the sunrise over Everest from Kala-Patthar.
We started comparatively early today – got up at 6:30, packed and had breakfast at 7. By 7:30 we were on our way. After a short, steep, ascent over a hill, most of the day was reasonably flat with only a slight upwards incline. Kempys shoulder started to bother him a bit so we stopped a couple of times to let him stretch it out. Both the guide and I offered to take his bag, but he insisted it would make no difference. After about an hour of strolling along, we hit the hard part – Tokla pass. It’s only about 350m high, but the path is rubble and it’s at about a 45-60 degree incline. It was /hard/. At the top there is a space dedicated to memorials of people who have died on/around Everest during an ascent. The rest of the days hike was quite plesant, and mostly flat. Eventually we arrived at Lobuche, which is probably the roughest town we’ve stayed in so far… Ah well, it’s only for the night. It’s got a bit of a shanty-town feel, everything seems to be made of plywood. After lunch we went for a bit of a hike where we got to see Kala Patthar and the Itallian research station (aka the pyramid) all be it in the distance. I’m only one day away from having carried my own bag all the way up. After Gorakshep it’s only a daypack for kala-pathar and base camp. And after those two it’s back down the mountain. I’m really looking forward to a real shower when I get back!!! As we waited for dinner, we got to see quite the spectacle unfold out of our rooms window. A chinese tourist succumbed to altitude sickness and was carried (on a stretcher) to the local medic tent. Our Guides older brother is a helicopter pilot with a local tour organizer. He tried desperately to get the man an evac, but without success. Apparently he’s in a stable condition after getting some oxygen and rest. Still a bit scary, it’s easy to forget just how dangerous this mountain can be. Kempy and I are playing it fairly safe the next few days anyway, and taking preventative doses of Diamox. It’s also bloody freezing here. I’m sitting in the common room wearing two layers of socks and pants, a t-shirt and two jumpers as well as a beanie. And it’s still chilly! I have a little bit of a headache tonight, but I’m pretty sure it’s from the cold and slight dehydration. Seems I don’t drink enough when it’s cold. Being extra conscious of this fact in the next few days should fix that though! I also noticed that I’ve become desensitized to the local toilets. Still don’t like them, but they don’t bother me anymore either. Though putting toilet paper in a bin is still weird, and hand sanitizer has become my best friend.