Monday, October 15, 2012

Everest Trek, Lukla to Tengboche

I'm back in Kathmandu after trekking to the base of Everest and back. The city seems even crazier now after two weeks of life at yak speed. Cars and motorcycles honking and weaving between people make sharing a foot path with yaks seem downright safe...

Our trek to Everest began in Lukla, a short flight from Kathmandu on the 29th. It wasn't the most relaxed flight I've gotten on, but it went smoothly arriving a bit late without incident. The landing in Lukla was really impressive on a runway with a 12% slope.

The approach looking through the cockpit. 
The Lukla Airport at 9200 feet. With a cliff at one end and wall at the other, it's easy to see why they cancel flights whenever it's cloudy. There were no flights for the next five days after ours. 
We didn't really have time for breakfast before heading to the airport so we stopped for brunch in Lukla before trekking to Monjo for the the night.
The first of many suspension bridges we crossed.
Pro tip: stay up hill when passing yaks on the trail. 
Looking up the valley on the way to Monjo.  
After a day of up and down hiking that really gained us no elevation. We spent the night in Monjo at our first tea house. It turned out to be standard for a room to cost 200 NRs which is under 2.50 for the night. However, you are expected to eat at least dinner and breakfast at the lodge. The next morning we set out for Namche Bazaar which is about 2000 feet higher.

One of the higher suspended bridges shortly before the long climb to Namche Bazaar. 
First look at Namche. I really enjoyed our stay there. 
Looking out across Namche from my room in the Alpine Inn.

First light in the Himalayan "foothills". I looked up later and that peak is taller than Mt. McKinley. 
We spent a full day in Namche allowing ourselves to aclimate to the thinner air. Much of the afternoon was occupied with playing chess at local cafe and discussing hydro power the owner. Namche has 650 kW of power now and it looking to increase it to 1 mW next year to reduce the use of wood for heat.

Namche on the way out of town.
Climbing out of the Namche bowl we got our first view of Everest and Lhotse. 
The Sherpas caring amazing loads through the mountains. I felt bad passing them, but I felt worse when they passed me. We saw loads in access of 200 lbs. 
An interesting game of chicken... I was most the way across this bridge when the Yak wandered on from the other side. The Yak looks to be winning at this point but he stalled out about 10 feet from my end and eventually wandered back to far side allowing me to cross. 
Standing below the Yak chicken bridge after going back to get water. 
It was another long hard climb to Tengboche, but the view the next morning was worth it. 


  1. Up til now, I've just been reading and not commenting. But let me say, I'm really glad you're safe and sound after that "not taken flight" scare.

    After reading "Into Thin Air" I had a very different picture in my mind of these types of villages leading up to Everest. I'm pleasantly surprised at how pretty (even quaint!) they are. At least, they appear that way from your pictures.

  2. I think the villages have seen a lot of change over the last few years. There is small scale hydro power about halfway to base camp now. After that it's solar panels.

  3. What a fun airport!
    It was $2.50 a night? Not bad, how much were the meals?
    Have you tried butter tea?

  4. Most meals were between 3 and 8 dollars including a pot of tea increasing as we went higher. I haven't seen butter tea anywhere.