Day 4 Khumjung 3780m. to Tengboche 3840m.

A cold night but the we were snug enough. The clouds were low despite a sunny forecasr. Our early breakfast was in vain as we waited for the rain to stop. Khumjung cleared around 0800 so we headed off. After leaving Khumjung we walked through more lovely Rhododendron Forests.

We had lunch on the Duhd Koshi Nadi at a sunny little Guesthouse at Phungi Thanga across the river. Here we experienced our first Nepali Compost Toilet. It was built on a steep slope, had a hole in the floor and a pile of straw to throw down and cover what you’d deposited. Seemed to work and the smell wasn’t bad but a bit close to the river for my liking.

Climbing again now we spread out a bit all at our own pace.

We saw these automatic prayer wheels turned by the stream. 

The sun came out and the early afternoon was warm.

As we reached Tengboche the clouds came in again. A large open plain saddle with Gusthouses, Stupa’s, Mani Walls and the large famous Monastery.

We checked into our hotel then went down to the bakery for coffee and cake before visiting the Monastery

Impressive entrance with large prayer wheels housed either side.

The monks had just finished their prayers so we could go inside but no photography allowed. All the walls were painted with detailed pictures telling Buddhist stories. Looked very similar to many Hindu Temples we had seen.

The heaters were on in the dining room of the hotel so we hung out there for the rest of the day. Met Andrea, a NZ girl returning to Nepal after 10 years. Her last trip was cut short due to a tragedy back home. Her return was very emotional for her and Lea and Sue gave her some emotional support. 

A nice, welcome touch before dinner was a steaming hot towel to wipe face and hands. Early to bed.

Sorry the order of posts is out but Blodpad Pro keeps wipeing out my offline posts. If anyone knows of anothe program that is better please let me know. I really miss Blogsy.

Day 3 Namche Bazaar 3440m. to Khumjung 3780m.
An easy day today with a 300m gain in altitude and a 3 hour walk. The clouds were low and the town was fogged in. It was very cold and the forecast was for rain and snow. We planned a light breakfast then headed down to a German Bakery we had found yesterday. Herman’s Bakery had it all, warmth from the ovens, free wifi and charging, excellent coffee fresh cinnamon rolls even clean western toilets with paper. Our trek today was off the “Everest Highway” up to Pema’s home town of Khumjung. She was in fine form happily chatting to all the people we saw who all seemed to know her. Incredibly we ran into Pema’s older brother bringinh his zopkio (half buffalo, half cow) home.

The rain held off and we only had a damp mist. 

We were soon looking down on Khumjung a pretty town of stone houses all white and grey with green metal roofs. No trees as all the paddocks were bordered by drystone walls for potato growing.

After entering the village the first building we pass was the Sir Edmund Hillary School, still regarded as one of the best in Nepal. We stopped for tea at Pema’s sister in laws Guesthouse and enjoyed the hospitality for an hour or so. 

Then on past Pema’s house to our close by Guesthouse. We lashed out here and had a room with an attached bathroom and shower.

A lovely lunch after nice hot showers then huddled around the pot belly stove fueled by dry Yak dung. Sue dried her washing.

Later we head around to Pema’s house. Half is rented out to families who have their kids at the school. The children were waiting to greet us and were very polite but curious to see the foreigners.

Pressure cookers of all sizes were in the kitchen. It was the first house in the town to have a chimney. 

The main room was lovely inside with shelves of pots and pans and cupboards full of blankets and linen.

Relatives and friends were on hand to help with dinner. Even Dortje our porter proved very handy at rolling out the pastry.

Family photos lined the walls.  We were treated as Guests of honour which meant we were shooed out of the kitchen. Pema found a bottle of rice wine she had made 6 months before. It was very good. It was a fabulous meal and very special as we would not have this experience on a regular trek. Were were politely sent home after dinner led back by 2 of the children as guides. Then the others were free to enjoy their meal and relax. Would have been nice to share the meal all together but that was not the way they do things here.

Day 9 Gorak Shep 5180m., Kala Patthar 5550m. to Labuche 4910m.

0430 start in the hope of getting to the summit of Kala Patthar in time to see the sun rise over the summit of Everest. It was bright outside already and we only needed our head torches to navigate our way out of the guest house area and down onto the flat. This used to be a shallow lake but is dry now. Kala Patthar is a boring, brown stone heap of stone and short dead grass, however, it affords great views of the Everest Himalaya Range. We didnt quite make it to the top before in time but did stop to watch and photograph the first burst of sunlight. 
Mt Everest is back centre.

Ama Dablam back down the valley.

Pumo Ri at 7165m. dwarfs us from behind. At 5550m. I hit the wall. Had felt the beginnings of a cold coming on last night but had been feeling fine. However, the climb this morning I found very tiring. 40m. altitude from the top I decided to stop and have a good rest while Lea and Nima went on to the top.

I had a drink, something to eat and another half Diamox. By the time Lea and Nima came back down I was feeling much better, enjoying the views and the warmth of the sun.

Back at the hotel we tucked into a big breakfast. Unfortunately Lea’s soft boiled eggs were more like warm raw eggs. No apology or offer to replace them. AS there was no running water for us to filter we had to buy water at $4.50USD per litre. The others had started to climb Kala Pitthar 2 hours after us so after a bask in the warm sun we heade back down to Labuche on our own. The weather stayed clear but a cold wind blew up the valley. We had a great lunch back at the EBC Guesthouse and as the manager had a family connection with Pema we were upgraded to a room with attached ensuite at no extra charge. We had to wait a couple of hours for our luggage to arrive and were hanging out for a hot shower.

When the luggage finally arrived Lea was organised in a flash for a shower only to be told we had to wait another hour because we had just come down from altitude. The hot water can cause peripheral blood vessel dilation leading to collapse in the shower. We remebered we had talked to someone up at Gorak Shep whose daughter had experienced that problem.
At last in the luxury of a hot ($6.00USD) shower Lea lingered and washed her hair and clothes.
Fresh Chicken had just been flown in by helicopter so a roast chicken dinner was fabulous. We caught up with Micheal, a guy we had bumped into a few times. His plans to climb Island Peak at 6000m. were dashed as his son, Jordon, had bombed out with severe Altitude Sickness at Dingboche and had returned to Namche Bazaar. Micheal was keen to at least reach EBC.

Day 8 Labouche 4910 to Gorak Shep 5180 and Everest Base Camp 5364m.

A very cold night and people were up and about from 0500. We got going early and had finished breakfast and were on our way by 0730. Jon was left to catch us up most days now. Everything costs up here. Even the honey for the french toast was an extra 50RPH.
The sun was out and the mountains clearing and getting clearer by the minute. Lea walked behind with Pema and Sue getting a run down on which mountains were which. Have to say I didn’t really care, I was just happy to walking amongst them. Every which way you looked was just stunning.

We climbed up and over Laborche Pass then dropped down again to Gorak Shep.

We got to Gorak Shep which literally means dead bird or dead crow by 1000 and ordered some soup to keep us going. This is a very desolate outpost without any foliage whatsover. It was also in drought and all water had to be carried in from nearby springs by bucket. Pema said the valley used to be full of native pheasants but the local dogs have decimated them.

We were back on the trail by 1100. It was longer than we expected and we had to climb high along the moraine ridge of the Khumbu Glacier. Again the views were stunning.

Our first glimpse of EBC in the distance.

While some parties were still climbing many were packing up for the season and transporting all their gear back down the valley.

Finally we were right above EBC. which sits on the corner of the glacier.

We took the path down from the moraine ridge to the official finishing point. We made it! 
Trekkers aren’t allowed to enter the camping area which is fair enough.

If you look closely at the picture below you can just make out a lone climber at the top of the Khumbu Ice Fall the first big obstacle for an ascent of Everest. The scale is hard to comprehend.

Ice pinnacles were another phenomena we had never seen before.

We got glimpses of the Mt Everest Summit but it wasn’t a stand out.

The walk back  was long and tiring and our guesthouse was a welcome sight. 

Day 7 Dingboche 4410m. to Labuche 4910m.

Out before 0800 with clouds over the mountains but sunshine over the village as we walked through.

To begin we followed the path we took yesterday then out onto the plain.

Old dry stone corrals and huts dotted the area. Plenty of other trekkers heading the same way.

Ama Dablam loomed high behind us. 

Down into the valley and across the base of the Khumbu Glacier.

On the edge of the glacier the little Guesthouse Settlement of Thokla 4620m. provided a stop in the sunshine for an early lunch.

Then it was a big climb up above the Khumbu Glacier to Thokla Pass at 4820m.

At the top of the pass we had a rest and wandered around the memorial Stupas for climbers lost in the mountains. There were also memorials to earthquake victims. Interesting and very rugged lateral moraine of the Glacier.

We stopped at the new EBC Guesthouse at Labuche. Very comfortable with double glazed windows, hot shower ($6.00USD). The dining room was nice and warm and off it was a sunroom even more cosy. 

Day 6 Dingboche 4410m.

An acclimatisation day today. This the highest we have ever been so far. We are all feeling good. Jon and I are on half a Diamox morning and night to help with the very slight headache if we don’t.  We woke up to clouds coming and going. By mid morning it was clear so we set off for a walk up 300m. then back down again.
Looking down on Dingboche we wondered why we weren’t staying at Hotel summit. Looked much nicer than where we were staying.

Lots of people were doing the same walk for the same reasons. We noticed a lot of helicopter activity whenever there was a break in the clouds. We found out later a Sherpa had fallen to his death in an avalanche on Mt Everest.

We spent the whole afternoon in the local bakery and cafe. Nice lunch then a game of cribbage before they lit the heaters and then showed the movie “Everest” on a big screen TV. We had the best seats in the house and enjoyed the dramatic but very sad film re creating the ill fated 1996 Everest Climbing Season culminating in the deaths of Rob Hall and Scott Fischer. It was a full house. 

Day 2 Phakding 2625m. to Namche Bazaar 3440m.

We were up early after a warm cosy night despite gaps in the thin walls. At least the doonas were good. Not bad value at $2.00USD for double room per night. 

Lots of up and down during the morning passing new and old buildings in various states or repair and construction. There are many new buildings  happening. 

Even the Mani Walls had been damaged by the earthquake.

Crossing this suspension bridge the girls got caught by a mule train half way across.  A little bit squishy but the mules were unfazed by the drop below them.

We had a break at the NP Entrance checkpoint while Nima purchased our trekking Permits. He had had no time in Kathmandu to do this prior.

We had an early bowl of soup before the big climb up to Namche Bazaar started. Then it was up down and up some more along the river. The school kids didn’t seemed phased at all with their long walk to school.

Pema let us off walking to the left of this Mani Wall. She was in her home territory now so was wearing her traditional clothing.

The high double suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi marked the beginning of the steep ascent.

Then it was a slow steady climb through more rhododendron forests, magnolia and blossoming apple trees.

The rain stayed away as we walked up into the clouds and we arrived at NB at 1500. Again evidence of much new construction. Sue and Jon couldn’t believe it was the same place they last visited 8 years ago. Narrow streets with lined with trekking shops, coffee shops and convenience stores. Hard to believe nearly everything is walked in.

Settled into Sona Lodge and tried my first Yak Steak. Had to be tender because it had been beaten to almost a pulp but it tasted ok.