All posts tagged: Nepal

DAY 10 Cho La Pass

Ok, no time to be flippant today, very serious business is at hand…starting with a 3.30 wake up call. Today is the longest and most difficult of our trek, and requires a very early start, i.e. 4.30am! When we were at Machhermo a group of Aussies had just arrived after being up to Gokyo and heading down before making their way to base camp. We asked why they where backtracking to EBC, and the answer was so as to avoid the ChoLa pass…the very same ChoLa pass we are ascending this morning. The reason for the early start? To get to the top of the pass before the sun hits it and melts the ice covered path, which is solid and stable(ish) as the ice sets the loose gravel and stone rubble like cement, and then unstable and prone to slippage when the sun does its magic. I must confess I didn’t realise this when I was convincing Rachael and Liz that this was the way to go to base camp. Oops! Oh, and did …

DAY 9 Gokyo to Dragnag

It would be remiss not to make amends for our lodge of the last two nights, as I may have been a little harsh earlier. Sure, it is a building under construction, us being its first boarders as indicated by the lightbulbs being installed on our first night, and the entrance being about ten steps up with no balustrade, but aside from the fresh smell of paint and plaster the beds were comfy, and the doonas exempt of the ridiculous velvet covers, mainly because they didn’t have any covers! The toilet may not yet flush, requiring manual application of water, but most lately have been this way….but a wash basin wouldn’t have gone astray. The biggest plus was the dining rooms menu and meals, easily the best so far, probably because this is a commercial operation catering to a large and varied clientele, whereas most are smaller family run shows with more limited offerings. Sleep in till 7 this morning, then a quiet breakfast, as everyone else was either struggling up Gokyo Ri, heading off …

DAY 8 Gokyo Ri

Up until now the weather has been only ok, with quite a lot of low cloud obscuring what, presumably, are pretty spectacular views. We get glimpses of what’s behind the misty veil, tantalising us almost as much as a good coffee, but until now the Himalayas have been quite the flirt! Promising fields of gold, giving flint copper. Not today though, sunrise produced a magnificent feast for the eyes, with breathtaking mountain peaks soaring up on the horizon. Clear sky’s producing an enormous promise for our walk up Gokyo Ri (5345mt) which is meant to have some of the most amazing views anywhere in this region. We made an early start at about 6.30 to hopefully maximise the conditions, setting off pretty much straight up the hill from the lake, which was producing mesmerizing reflections of the peak above it. Here’s a good excuse to stall the inevitable hike skyward…lets take a few snaps. Done, time to haul glutes and quads up, up, up. Three and a half torturous hours later we finally touched the …

DAY 7 Machhermo to Gokyo

Before we start the day lets talk about tea houses, our accommodation of choice on our trek. There may be a more upmarket choice of digs up until Namche, but aside from the odd hotel all offerings are tea houses, or lodges. Most, if not all, are family run and comprise dining room with separate sleeping quarters. Sometime in the past a very persuasive salesman must have traveled these parts selling particle board by the ton, as it is the prevailing building material in all lodges. The sleeping quarters are a 3×3 particle box with single beds on each side and maybe a small table between then. The thin mattresses sit, surprisingly, on a particle board slab, with doonas on top with very strange covers made mainly of velour, which play havoc with thermals. Every time I’d turn over I’d have the doona cling to me like an over possessive girlfriend, prompting much wrangling to extricate myself from this unhealthy relationship. We are provided sleeping bags with inner liners, but up until now the temperature …

DAY 6 Dole to Machhermo

  We had a nice sleep in till 7 this morning, so a very leisurely approach to breakfast. While we’re on the topic of food, lets explore the culinary delights of the Nepalese high country. Not much grows up here except potatoes, cabbage, peas, and a few assorted veggies, and everything else has to be carried in. The main others being rice, oats, noodles, pasta and eggs. What we have here is a diet high in carbs and starch, low in fresh veg and protein, and dominated by the humble spud! If you so choose you can have fried spuds for breakfast, spud & veg for lunch, and “finger chips” for tea. Alternatively, how about potato with eggs, mixed fried noodles and fried momo’s? Fried macaroni with cheese, anyone? Mixed fried rice? Veg spring roll, or veg cheese pizza? Tibetan bread (you guessed it, fried) and jam…delicious! For dessert lets give the arteries a solid workout with a snickers or mars roll. That would be a ‘deep fried’ roll! Haven’t tried these yet, may risk …

DAY 5 Khumjung to Dole

We woke this morning to low cloud after rain overnight, before the cloud slowly lifted to reveal a taste of the Himalayas, one peak after another rising out of the mist, giving everyone a glimpse of what was to come. As it was our last morning together we gathered outside for a team photo before heading off at 8.30 for the long trek to Dole (4200mt). The views on the way to lunch were breathtaking, soaring peaks descending to the valley floor on both sides with us zigzagging our way both up and down along a thin ridge, forest of rhododendron and pine splitting the pathway, shear drops to the raging river below. We had morning tea at the Everest View tea house (3950mt), falsely advertised sadly as she was covered in mist, before cruelly descending back to 3600mt for our farewell lunch to the EBC crew, who we will see again briefly as our paths will cross in about a week. The highlight of the day for Rachael was being able to get enough …

DAY 4 Namche to Khumjung

After a good nights sleep, we woke at 6 to the most magnificent view of Mt. Kongde from our window, absolutely striking, and fleeting as the clouds rolled in 20 minutes later. Breakfast of porridge and Tibetan bread, then off for a leisurely stroll of about 4 hours to Khumjung (3790mt). Well, the first half was pretty relaxed, a beautiful walk thru pine and rhododendron forest with breathtaking views over the valley floor with soaring mountain peaks opposite. Unfortunately, to ascend you have to climb, and the second half was back to steep steps up, until a final descent to the wonderful village of Khumjung which is the largest Sherpa village in the Khumba region. After a long anticipated lunch we went for a walk around town, thankfully without our backpacks for the first time. We checked out the Khumjung Gompa (monastery) famous for housing a rare Yeti Skull, a legend around these parts. I must confess, it was a little underwhelming, a hairy dome stuck in a tiny glass and wooden box. After many …