Friday, October 19, 2012

Everest Trek, back again

Our trip down was much like our trip up, but shorter since it was more down hill. Though it was a little surprising how much climbing we ended up doing while going "downhill". We had a lot of time to spare since the weather cooperated on the way up. So, we spent an extra day in Pheriche when we woke up to clouds and light snow and spent an extra day around Namche too. Even with the extra days we still made it back to Lukla three days early. Lucky for us, the previous week's bad weather meant most flights were going back to Kathmandu empty and we were able to change our flight without any problems.

Lee, and some yaks that didn't much care much about our picture plans. Fortunately they are photogenic. 
Ama Dablam.
The valley heading down to Pheriche.
Termination dust on the hills after the storm.
Marion in front of Lhotse.
A yak in Tengboche. 
Leaving Namche on the way down to Lukla.
The runway in Lukla is kind of like a ramp.

Tomorrow I am planning to head out to trek the Annapurna circuit. I don't expect to make many posts while I am hiking this time either.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Everest Trek, Kala Patthar and base camp

Since we arrived in Gorak Shep before noon I decided to climb Kala Patthar after lunch to watch the sun set. Turns out I was a little over ambitious and climbed past the peak and up the ridge to 18,500 feet according to the GPS. I made good time going up and had several hours to watch the clouds roll by before sunset.

Everest and Nuptse
Mt. Everest
That's the highest i've ever climbed... 
Looking down the valley across the clouds.
For my NM friends. Thanks for the pin Vince.
Thanks everyone at RIEtech. I've gotten a lot of milage out of you gift card. 
The start of sunset. 

The setting sun really shows just how much taller everest is. 
The last rays.
It was a bit of in international party on top for sunset with an Irish couple and a new friend from Norway on top with me. We all made our way back down in the dark. I was late for supper and it was cold, but it tasted fine anyway after the hike and it was totally worth a cold supper to see the sun setting on Everest.

The next morning I hike up to Everest Base Camp with Lee and Marion. It was another one of those short hikes that takes a while in the the thin air. But we had plenty of time at base camo since we decided to spend two nights in Gorak Shep instead of one.

Helpful sign here...
Heading up the valley.
The tents of base camp are on the left edge of the glacier.
The sell "everest water" in bottles, but it's just not the same as drinking it straight from the glacier... 
Everest ice.
The glacier was surprisingly easy to climb here. 
Marion took a nap while Lee and I were climbing around on the glacier. 
Base camp panoramic. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Everest Trek, Tengboche to Gorak Shep.

I travelled to Pokhara with Lee and Marion yesterday. We took the local mini bus rather than the tourist bus and made it here in 6 or 7 hours. The air seems a bit cleaner this morning which is helping with the sore throat I developed in Kathmandu. I think it was the dust and exhaust that caused the problem there. So, today I am resting and posting more pictures from our Everest trek.

Tengboche around 2am. Sometimes it's worth getting out of bed just to look at the mountains. 

Tengboche looking back toward Namche.
 As headed out of Tengboche we were disappointed by the immediate decline of the trail. We gave up more of the previous days elevation gain than I would have liked before crossing the river and starting to climb again. But we saw a lot of fall colors and we had climbed out of the trees before lunch. Fall seems to be the right time to go hiking in Nepal. However the clouds rolled in after lunch and though they were fun to watch flowing by us they didn't photograph as well.

Looking up river on the way out of Doboche. 

The fields of Pangboche. 

Fall at the end of the trees.
Pro tip 2: Stay hydrated when at high altitude.

After lunch we were lucky enough to take the wrong trail and found ourselves in Dingboche rather Pheriche. (As far as we could tell there is no reason for so many village names including "boche".) I say lucky because it turned out to have better views of the mountains and we ended up needing an acclimation and rest day there. We also found a free seminar on AMS.  Our rest day included some walking around and a good bit of Uno in the lodge. 

Lhotse from our guest house in Dingboche. The peak is just shy of 28,000 feet tall. 

Resting! (note the lack of packs)
Looking up the valley across Dingboche. 

After a day of rest we were mostly feeling better for our hike to Lobuche. Staying in Dingboche also placed us 600 feet higher at the cost of a mile of flat walking on our hardest day of climbing. That felt like a good trade.

Shortly after gaining the ridge at the start of the hike. 
Looking down valley woud have woken up in if we'd stayed in Pheriche. I'm glad we didn't have to climb out of there.  
Lee and Marion on the trail. 
A bridge over a small creek. I'm thankful I didn't have to carry those logs up there. 
After lunch in Thukla we had another calf burning climb, and were again rewarded with stunning mountain views. 
Post climb photo break and rest.
Nuptse from Lobuche.
After the climb to Lobuche we decided to stay in the nicest lodge and Lee declared feast night so we all enjoyed a steak, vegetables, fries rather than our usual budget menu. We even splurged on a bottle of french wine... It was a good evening all around.
I also repaired my pants... Note the headlamp; at 16,200 feet "nicest" doesn't mean well lit at night.  
The hike to Gorak Shep was relatively short, but slow in the thinner air. That was fine as there were mountain peaks all around.
Mini rest break.
A more serious rest break.  
A panoramic looking up the valley.
Good spot for a group photo.
Our lodge in Gorak Shep with Kala Patthar behind it. It's amazing how short 18,000+ feet looks around here.